Philadelphia Election Staffers Counting Votes Get Death Threats

Philadelphia Election Workers Counting Ballots
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City Commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican and one of three commissioners who run elections in Philadelphia, told CBS “60 Minutes” that he and his staff have faced baseless accusations that they trying to cheat or manipulate the vote.

Election workers responsible for counting votes in the city of Philadelphia have been receiving death threats since the vote count started last week, officials said.

City Commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican and one of three commissioners who run elections in Philadelphia, told “60 Minutes” that he and his staff have faced baseless accusations that they're trying to cheat or manipulate the vote. Schmidt said their offices have received calls from people saying things like "This is what the Second Amendment is for, people like us." 

Schmidt said the threats have come from individuals who have been "coming up with all sorts of crazy stuff" about the integrity of the city's election systems and casting doubt on the impartiality of vote counters, the Hill reported

President Donald Trump has filed at least 10 lawsuits alleging election fraud and has made unfounded allegations of voter fraud in Pennsylvania and other states, as he continues to refuse to concede to President-elect Joe Biden, reported the New York Post

On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York and personal attorney to Trump, told host Maria Bartiromo on her Fox News show, “Sunday Morning Futures,” "that at this point, it would be wrong for him to concede.” 

“There are upwards of 50 witnesses, and this will be the subject of a lawsuit that we file tomorrow [Monday] for violating civil rights, for conducting an unfair election, for violating the law of the state, for treating Pittsburgh and Philadelphia different than the rest of the state,” Giuliani told the Fox News host. “This is something that just has to be addressed.”

In the meantime, Trump supporters have been fired up chanting “Stop the cheat! Joe got beat,” even as Biden was projected on Saturday to have won the 2020 election. They continued to protest outside the city’s Convention Center, where ballots are being counted and processed, reported the news program.

On Thursday, two heavily armed men - Joshua Macias, 42 and Antonio LaMotta, 61, were arrested after they traveled from Virginia to the Pennsylvania Convention Center as mail-in ballots were being counted inside of the center. Prosecutors say police confiscated two loaded semi-automatic Beretta pistols, an AR-style rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, CBS reported

At the arraignment hearing, the District Attorney’s Office asked for no bail for both LaMotta and Macias but a judge disagreed and set it at $750,000 cash — 10% of which will need to be posted if either man wants to get out of jail, the news station reported. 

Both men have not posted bail and are being held at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. 

Their next court date is Nov. 23 at 9 a.m.

It was also reported that the Hummer the two men were driving in featured stickers promoting the far-right conspiracy theory group, QAnon.

"From the inside looking out, it all feels very deranged," Schmidt said. ”At the end of the day, we are counting eligible votes cast by voters. The controversy surrounding it is something I don't understand.”

Schmidt said the remaining provisional ballots would take at least another week to tally, the Post reported.

Pennsylvania does not allow mail-in-ballots to be counted before Election Day. Additional states that may still deliver votes to Biden include, Arizona and Georgia.. 

Biden assured voters that every vote would be counted and pledged to unite America at a time of political uncertainty. 

"The real damage is not who wins or who gets elected; it is how we all react to this process," said Schmidt. "So at the end of the day we all have confidence that all the voices are heard and win or lose, these are the people that we the people have elected to represent us.

"Counting votes on or before Election Day by eligible voters is not corruption. It is not cheating,” Schmidt continued. “It is democracy."