Skip to main content

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks at the Election Threats Task Force Meeting


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as Delivered

Good afternoon.

Thank you all for being here – all of you.

In a few minutes, we will begin our meeting of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force.

We are meeting today for the same reason I launched this Task Force three years ago: we have seen a dangerous increase in violent threats against public servants, the ones who administer our elections. Those threats endanger our democracy itself.

That is why, over the past three years, we have accelerated our efforts to combat the increase in threats against election workers, officials, and volunteers that followed the 2020 election.

Our Election Threats Task Force has secured the guilty plea of a man who threatened an election worker in Michigan. The defendant made vile threats, saying that the election worker deserved a “throat to the knife.”

We secured a 3 ½-year prison sentence for a man in Texas, who threatened the lives of Arizona election officials and their children and advocated for a mass shooting of poll workers and election workers in precincts he believed had “suspect results.”

We secured a 3 ½-year prison sentence for a Massachusetts man for sending a bomb threat to an elections official in the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

We secured a two-year prison sentence for a man in Texas who threatened Georgia officials in the wake of the 2020 election, including threatening to “put a bullet … behind the ears” of an election worker.

And we secured 2 ½-year sentence in prison for an Iowa man who threatened to lynch an election official in Arizona.

Each of these cases should serve as a warning: If you threaten to harm or kill an election worker, volunteer, or official, the Justice Department will find you. And we will hold you accountable.

The public servants who administer our elections must be able to do their jobs without fearing for their safety or that of their families.

We will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who threaten election workers.

Protecting the right to vote was a founding purpose of the Justice Department.

Today, fulfilling that charge means confronting the full range of threats to our elections.

That includes continuing our work — through this Task Force, our U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and our FBI offices across the country — to investigate, disrupt, and combat unlawful threats against those who administer our elections.

It includes the Civil Rights Division’s essential work to enforce federal voting rights laws and to challenge discriminatory restrictions on access to the ballot.

It includes the work of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and our U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to investigate and prosecute election crimes.

And it includes our National Security Division’s and the FBI’s work to protect our elections from national security threats, including malign foreign influence and cyber-enabled campaigns.

The Justice Department recognizes the urgency of these threats. And we are prepared to confront them.

We will continue to protect peoples’ safety. And we will continue to protect our democracy.

I want to close by expressing gratitude to the election workers across the country who ensure that the promise of our democracy is made real. I recognize that your work has become more difficult and dangerous these past few years.

I also want to express my gratitude to the members of this Task Force and to its leader, John Keller, for your devotion to this critical mission. And I am grateful as always to the brave men and women of the FBI for their work.

And thank you also to the Postal Inspection Service and the Department of Homeland Security, our partners in our effort to protect elections and election workers.

Together, we promise the Justice Department will be relentless in defending the right to vote — and in defending the safety of the public servants who make voting possible.

I’d now like to ask the Deputy Attorney General to say a few words.

Civil Rights
National Security
Voting and Elections
Updated May 13, 2024