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Press Release

Man Sentenced for Sending Death Threat to Michigan Election Worker

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

An Indiana man was sentenced today to 14 months in prison for sending a communication that included death threats to an election worker in Michigan shortly after the November 2020 election. 

“The Justice Department has no tolerance for violent threats against election workers, officials, and volunteers, and as this case demonstrates, we will aggressively investigate and prosecute such threats to the fullest extent of the law,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “We will continue to defend the right to vote and to defend the safety of the public servants who make voting possible.”

“The defendant repeatedly threatened the life of a Michigan election worker because she publicly defended the integrity of the 2020 election that she helped administer,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Our democracy depends on the willingness of election workers to do their jobs without having to live in fear. Today’s sentence should serve as yet another reminder that the Justice Department will not hesitate to prosecute those who threaten violence to influence how our public servants administer elections.”

According to court documents, on or about Nov. 10, 2020, Andrew Nickels, 38, of Carmel, called the clerk of a local municipality and left a voicemail threatening to kill the local official. As part of the message, Nickels said, in part, “We’re watching your…mouth talk about how you think that there’s no irregularities … [Y]ou frauded out America of a real election.” Nickels then told the clerk that “you’re gonna pay for it,” and described how “ten million plus patriots will surround you when you least expect it.” He continued, in relevant part: “[W]e’ll [expletive] kill you…[Y]ou will [expletive] pay for your [expletive] lying ass remarks … We will [expletive] take you out. [Expletive] your family, [expletive] your life, and you deserve a [expletive] throat to the knife … Watch your [expletive] back … watch your [expletive] back.”

“Threats such as the ones that Nickels made undermine our democracy by making elections workers fearful for their lives and for the safety of their families—just for doing their jobs,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan. “This sentence should send a clear message that those who seeks to jeopardize the fair and free administration of our elections with threats of violence will be vigorously prosecuted and held accountable.”

“The FBI and its partners will not tolerate threats against our election workers,” said Executive Assistant Director Michael Nordwall of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. “Today’s sentencing shows our commitment to ensuring that public servants can do their jobs without fear of retribution.”

Nickels pleaded guilty on Feb. 27 to one count of making a threatening interstate communication.

The FBI Detroit Field Office investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Tanya Senanayake of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Frances Lee Carlson for the Eastern District of Michigan prosecuted the case.

This case is part of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco in June 2021, the task force has led the department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers—whether elected, appointed, or volunteer—are able to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation. The task force engages with the election community and state and local law enforcement to assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers, and has investigated and prosecuted these matters where appropriate, in partnership with FBI Field Offices and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. The task force is continuing this work and supporting the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI Field Offices nationwide as they carry on the critical work that the task force has begun.

The task force is led by the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and includes several other entities within the Justice Department, including the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Civil Rights Division, National Security Division, and FBI, as well as key interagency partners, such as the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. For more information regarding the Justice Department’s efforts to combat threats against election workers, read the Deputy Attorney General’s memo.

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 You may also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an online complaint at 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.

Updated July 9, 2024

Voting and Elections
Press Release Number: 24-856