Philadelphia vote counting staff getting death threats, official says

November 8, 2020 | 11:59pm

Election workers responsible for tallying ballots in Philadelphia have received death threats since the vote count started last week, a local official said Sunday.

City Commissioner Al Schmidt told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he and his staff have faced baseless accusations that they’re trying to cheat or manipulate the vote and “calls to our offices reminding us that ‘This is what the Second Amendment is for, people like us.’”

Asked by CBS reporter Bill Whitaker whether that was “a not so veiled death threat,” Schmidt responded: “Yes, for counting votes in a democracy.”

President Trump has filed lawsuits and made unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud in Pennsylvania and other states, as he continues to refuse to concede to president-elect Joe Biden.

Trump-supporting protesters continued to gather outside the city’s Convention Center — where ballots are being processed and counted — chanting “Stop the cheat! Joe got beat” as recently as Saturday, even after the state, and presidency, was called for Biden.

Two gun-toting Virginia men were arrested on Friday after they allegedly traveled to the center to “straighten out the vote.”

“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 he expected that the remaining provisional ballots would take at least another week to tally.

At the end of the day, Schmidt said, “the real damage is not who wins or who gets elected.”

“The real damage is how we all react to this process. So that 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.”

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