DENVER ( Associated Press) – A Nebraska man has pleaded guilty to making death threats against a Colorado top election official, officials say, in what he says is the first plea that has been filed by a federal government dedicated to protecting election workers across the United States. The task force, which has been under increasing threat since the 2020 presidential election.
Travis Ford, 42, pleaded guilty in Denver federal court to sending threats to Secretary of State Jenna Griswold on social media. Griswold is a national advocate for election security who has received thousands of threats over his insistence that the 2020 election was secure and that former President Donald Trump’s claims that it was stolen from him are false.
Thursday’s Petition Announced by the US Attorney’s Office in Colorado and was first reported by The Denver Gazette. Ford, a resident of Lincoln, Nebraska, faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced on October 6.
The office said it was the first guilty plea received by the US Justice Department’s Electoral Threats Task Force, which was launched last year to investigate threats of violence against election workers. FBI agents in Colorado and Nebraska investigated the case.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement, “Threats of violence against election officials are dangerous to the safety of the people and dangerous to our democracy, and we are determined to disrupt those threats and investigate and hold criminals accountable.” Will use every resource.”
Per the announcement, Ford sent Griswold a series of threatening messages on Instagram in August. “Do you feel safe? You shouldn’t,” read one. Another read: “Your security details are too thin and inefficient to protect you.”
The US Department of Homeland Security this month renewed a threat advisory warning of potential violence, particularly by individuals or small groups aimed at election officials, activists and other targets fueled by conspiracy theories and “false and misleading narratives.”
Democrat Griswold told Colorado lawmakers earlier this year that he and other election officials had received thousands of threats Which has inspired many local clerks to leave or take safety training so that they feel secure in their public service work.
The legislature passed bills to increase security for Griswold and other statewide office holders and to add protections for all election workers. The government Jared Polis has signed them into law.