Florida election officials call on GOP to stop stolen election claims after being threatened

A group of election officials from Florida led by a Republican pleaded with GOP candidates and lawmakers to “tone down” their rhetoric surrounding unproven claims of voter fraud after threats had been made toward its members.

Former President Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly claimed the 2020 presidential election was stolen, despite a lack of evidence to back up allegations of fraud.

In a statement from Wednesday, the Florida Supervisors of Elections, headed by Republican Wesley Wilcox, warned that unproven claims of election fraud have “systemically undermined” trust in elections.

“During and after the 2020 Presidential Election, the integrity of our democracy has been challenged by misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation that sows discord and undermines trust in America’s electoral process,” according to the statement. “Many of us have been threatened by our fellow citizens who have been led astray by these deceptions.”

The election officials asked lawmakers and political candidates to “tone down the rhetoric and stand up for our democracy.” They said they are committed to ensuring no voter fraud takes place during elections and that “every eligible voter’s ballot is counted accurately.”

“But false claims of fraud do not strengthen our elections. Instead, they degrade confidence in the institutions, and discourage citizen participation in our democracy,” the statement read.

Audits have upheld the results of the election. In Michigan, 250 random audits across the state confirmed the accuracy and integrity of the election, according to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Still, Trump wrote earlier in October that there was fraud “beyond what anyone can believe” in the state he narrowly lost.

A GOP-backed election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, a traditionally conservative state won by President Joe Biden, also upheld his victory in the state. The audit found that Biden won by a slightly larger margin. Trump went on to falsely claim the audit found he won the county.

Some Republicans have even pushed for an audit in Florida, a swing state Trump won. Trump won 51.2 percent of the vote, compared to Biden’s 47.9 percent. GOP state Representative Anthony Sabatini, a Trump ally, filed a bill seeking to have the state legislature review the election.

A group of election officials from Florida pleaded with the GOP to “tone down” their rhetoric surrounding election fraud. Here, a poll site is seen in August 2020.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Supervisors of Elections wrote in an August statement that Florida has conducted the audits they typically would and that they are “confident in the security and integrity” of the results.

“Florida’s election in 2020 was accurate, transparent, and conducted in compliance with Florida law,” the statement said.

More than 100 people have threatened election workers and officials over the allegations of election fraud. A September Reuters report described the threats as part of “an unprecedented campaign of intimidation.”

Newsweek reached out to the Florida Supervisors of Elections and the state’s Republican Party for comment Saturday but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.

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