January 26, 2022 – Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today convened a virtual discussion with a bipartisan group of election officials to provide an update on the work of the Election Threats Task Force.
Notably, the updates included the Task Force’s first charge for interstate threats to kill government officials, information on the work to review the over 850 reports of threats to election officials, and updated guidance to grant recipients that grant funding can be used to deter, detect and protect against threats of violence against election workers, administrators, officials and others associated with the electoral process.
The Attorney General reiterated that the Justice Department has no tolerance for – and will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute – illegal threats or acts of violence that target those who administer our elections. These threats endanger election officials, and they endanger our democracy.
During her remarks, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco committed to continued dialogue with the election officials and workers community, and affirmed that the Task Force will continue to work diligently to investigate threats of violence to the individuals administering free and fair elections throughout the nation.
During the meeting, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta announced that the Bureau of Justice Assistance has provided guidance to states that Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program funds can be used to deter, detect and protect against threats of violence against election officials.
The Byrne JAG program is a leading source of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, helping to fill gaps in state, local, and tribal criminal justice systems. The broad criminal justice purposes supported by the JAG Program permit JAG funds to be used to deter, detect and protect against threats of violence against election workers, administrators, officials and others associated with the electoral process. Associate Attorney General Gupta also encouraged those that are interested in using JAG funds for these purposes to start conversations with their respective State Administering Agency about purpose and process.
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division also participated in the meeting.
The Attorney General and department leadership first met with the bipartisan group of election officials in August 2021 following the formation of the Task Force.
To report suspected threats or violent acts, contact your local FBI office and request to speak with the Election Crimes Coordinator. Contact information for every FBI field office may be found at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/. You may also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an online complaint at tips.fbi.gov. Complaints submitted will be reviewed by the task force and referred for investigation or response accordingly. If someone is in imminent danger or risk of harm, contact 911 or your local police immediately.