Just before the November 2022 Election Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas said about the Trump Won Meme, “The whole thing was always a lie. And it was a lie meant to rile people up.” It did rile people up. In 2020 and 2022 Election workers across America were threatened and harassed by right-wing zealots.
During last year’s campaign, multiple reliable sources told me about the ongoing harassment of Coos County Elections staff. Election deniers “camped out” in the hallway outside the Election Office and sometimes yelled at Election workers. Some workers were followed home. One worker was confronted by a gun-wearing woman who screamed,” You fucking traitor.” Election workers were filmed and recorded. Coos County Clerk Julie Brecke, the County Elections Officer recently told National Public Radio, “My biggest worry is that people aren’t going to want to do this job anymore.”
The stolen election lie has clogged Federal and State Courts with never proven allegations of election fraud. In election litigation, local election deniers Pam Lewis and Diane Rich are now two-time losers. This spring a State Judge dismissed their baseless lawsuit against Coos County. On June 29 a Federal Judge dismissed election litigation filed by multiple plaintiffs including Lewis and Rich. The defendants in the suit are the Oregon Secretary of State and 12 Oregon Counties including Coos. The Plaintiffs asked the Court to end by-mail voting and electronic vote tabulation in Oregon.
The Chief Plaintiff in the suit is Marc Thielman, an unsuccessful candidate for Governor in last year’s Republican primary. According to the Oregonian Mr. Thielman was the Alsea School District Superintendent, “until he resigned after allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and creating a hostile work environment.”
Mr. Thielman was recently a finalist for North Bend School superintendent. Despite enthusiastic support from right wind radio personality Rob Taylor, he didn’t get the job.
After the dismissal of the Thielman lawsuit, the plaintiff’s attorney appealed. He said, if he loses in the Court of Appeals, he will appeal to the US Supreme Court. Win or lose Election lawsuits create work for lawyers.
Despite Trump supporters losing over 60 court cases, most rank-and-file Republicans still think the 2020 election was stolen. It is now fashionable among the GOP to claim any election they don’t win was stolen.
Congressman Dan Crenshaw R-Texas said most politicians in his party know Donald Trump lost in 2020. One Republican who doesn’t know is Coos County Commissioner Rod Taylor. He has repeatedly said Trump won in 2020 and that the January 6 riot was “peaceable”.
This spring NPR Reporter Chris Arnold interviewed Commissioner Taylor. He had a “Trump won” sign in his office. He wore a gun on his hip as he usually does during Commissioner meetings. When asked if he knew County Election workers feel threatened and harassed Commissioner Taylor said, “Yeah, of course I’m aware of that” but added, “I don’t feel responsible for that”.
In his NPR story, Mr. Arnold described an incident during the 2022 Election when a Coos Election worker was escorted past election deniers in the Courthouse hallway. She said, “As the Sheriff was leading us outside, people were recording and laughing like, that’s so funny that we’re so scared that we had to have the Sheriff walk us out.” Election workers are heroes for working under these conditions.
The 2024 election will be wild. Election deniers will be out in force and Democracy will again be on the ballot.
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