“Enough is enough,” an emotional George Sterling of Georgia’s Election Commission declared at a nationally televised press conference Tuesday.
“I’m going to do my best to keep it together,” he told the nation, “because it has all gone too far, all of it.”
Sterling was referring to outgoing President Donald Trump’s continued efforts to undermine democracy by demanding that election workers and lawmakers reverse the results of the 2020 election. He described death threats coming from extremist Trump supporters and said, “Someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed.”
Yesterday Trump demanded that the Jan. 5 senatorial runoff election in Georgia be canceled because, the president said, “It won’t be necessary.” Trump insisted that the entire election would be reversed and the two Republicans in the runoff would therefore be declared the winners anyway. He has condemned even Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp for not joining him in his attempt to overturn the results in that state.
At his press conference Tuesday, Sterling cited recent remarks by Joe diGenova, a top Trump lawyer who said that Chris Krebs, the former national chief of cybersecurity, should be executed for contradicting Trump by saying the 2020 election was the most secure in the nation’s history.
“Joe diGenova today asked for Chris Krebs, a patriot who ran CSA, to be shot,” Sterling said. “A 20-something tech in Gwinnett County today has death threats and a noose put out saying he should be hung for treason because he was transferring a report on batches from an EMS to a county computer so he could read it. It has to stop.”
Neither Trump himself nor the two Georgia Republican senatorial candidates, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, have condemned the death threats or the attempts to overturn the election. Loeffler and Perdue are running against Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively, in a race that will determine control of the U.S. Senate.
Addressing himself to the senators, Sterling declared, “We need you to step up, and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.”
The Georgia Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensberger has had his name and threats against him posted all over the internet by angry Trump supporters who take issue with his refusal last week to overturn the Biden-Harris victory in Georgia. That has earned him the label of “traitor” from Trump’s followers.
Right-wing extremists have organized car caravans that drive past his home and disrupt his entire neighborhood. People carrying signs and shouting obscenities come onto his property.
“Tricia, his wife of 40 years, is getting sexualized threats through her cell phone. It has to stop,” Sterling said.
“This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. It’s too much. Yes, fight for every legal vote. Go through your due process. We encourage you. Use your First Amendment. That’s fine, but death threats, physical threats, intimidation, it’s too much. It’s not right. They’ve lost the moral high ground to claim that it is.”
Sterling said the straw that broke the camel’s back for him was “what happened to the 20-year-old contractor for a voting-system company (Dominion) just trying to do his job… in fact, I talked to Dominion today, and they said he’s one of the better ones they’ve got. His family’s getting harassed now. There’s a noose out there with his name on it, and it’s just not right.”
Rudy Giuliani, the leader of Trump’s legal team, last week had claimed that the Dominion company was involved with Hugo Chavez, the long-dead former president of Venezuela, and that Dominion had a secret site in Germany where they were turning Trump votes into Biden votes and sending the doctored ballots back to the U.S. People believing those outrageous claims are now making life miserable for the young tech worker in Georgia.
“I’ve got police protection outside my house,” Sterling said. “You know, I took a higher-profile job. I get it. Secretary ran for office. His wife knew that, too. This kid took a job. He just took a job. It’s just wrong. I can’t begin to explain the level of anger I have right now over this.”
John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People’s World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union’s campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and ’80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper’s predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.