The Justice Department has reviewed more than 1,000 hostile threats against election workers over the past year, leading to federal charges in five cases and one conviction, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Polite, who heads the department’s criminal division, described an increasingly rampant problem across the country, detailing for lawmakers repeated and often graphically violent threats that have targeted election officials in Nevada, Michigan, Arizona and other states. The hearing focused on the findings of a Justice Department task force that convened last summer to examine threats against election workers, which officials say increased sharply after President Donald Trump and his supporters falsely claimed that the results of the 2020 election were tainted. Polite said about 10 percent of the 1,000 or so complaints the tasks force received met the threshold for a criminal investigation. Many were referred to the task force by state law enforcement agencies. None of the threats the task force is investigating have resulted in reported violence, according to Polite. He has said he expects more charges in the near future. Officials said around a quarter of the reported threats were made through social media.
“The trauma experienced in this community,” Polite said, “is profound and unprecedented.”