Linda So, Joseph Tanfani and Jason Szep at Reuters:
Businessman Robert Beadles claimed he had found evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Then he went on the attack, targeting a 48-year-old woman who runs elections in Nevada’s Washoe County. “Now, let’s talk about treason. That’s right, treason,” Beadles told a Feb. 22 county commissioners’ meeting in Washoe, the second-largest county in this election battleground state. The Republican activist falsely accused the registrar of voters, Deanna Spikula, of counting fraudulent votes and told commissioners to “either fire her or lock her up.”
Last year, as documented by Reuters, U.S. election officials endured an onslaught of intimidation by Trump’s supporters after the 2020 election. This year, they’re facing well-funded campaigns such as the one in Washoe. Officials who resist baseless stolen-election claims have faced accusations of treason or other crimes. Reuters identified 44 counties in 15 states where local officials have faced efforts to change rules on voting since the 2020 election. All of them were led by Trump loyalists or Republican Party activists driven by false voter-fraud theories. The campaigns are having impact. In Washoe, Beadles’ attacks helped drive out Spikula. Ten of Nevada’s 17 counties, including Washoe, have seen their top election official resign, retire or decline to seek re-election since the 2020 vote, which the state government calls a drastic exodus. Four of the officials told Reuters that harassment or sustained efforts to challenge the 2020 election results were among their reasons for leaving.