'Someone's Going To Get Killed': Ga. Official Blasts GOP Silence On Election Threats : Biden Transition Updates In a fiery Tuesday news conference, Gabriel Sterling had scathing words for top Republican leaders who have been attacking Georgia's election system.

'Someone's Going To Get Killed': Ga. Official Blasts GOP Silence On Election Threats

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The president's false claims about the election have had real-world effects on election officials. Some have faced death threats and harassment. One official in Georgia spoke out against the president and also against the Republican senators who indulge and enable his falsehoods. Here's Georgia Public Broadcasting's Stephen Fowler.

STEPHEN FOWLER, BYLINE: Twice a day for the last several weeks, an unflappable gray-haired voting system implementation manager opened up his laptop and stepped up to the mic. Gabriel Sterling's mundane briefings on Georgia's wonky post-election counting processes became a ritual of stability. But yesterday, his address was one of righteous anger.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GABRIEL STERLING: It had all gone too far - all of it.

FOWLER: In recent days, an attorney for the Trump campaign called for a former cybersecurity official to be drawn and quartered. Trump supporters drove caravans of honking pickup trucks past the secretary of state's house, and someone sent sexually explicit threats to his wife. But the straw that broke Gabe Sterling's back came when social media users outed the information of a 20-something technician in Gwinnett County, who they allege was manipulating vote totals as part of a grand conspiracy. In reality, he was checking numbers as part of a recount requested by the Trump campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STERLING: I've got police protection outside my house. Fine. You know, I took a higher profile job. I get it. The secretary ran for office, his wife knew that, too. This kid took a job. He just took a job. And it's just wrong.

FOWLER: The forceful push from an election office led by Republicans comes as other prominent GOP leaders have largely stayed silent about the more threatening and extreme responses to Trump's election loss. Complicating matters is a dual Senate runoff that will decide control of the upper chamber. Both incumbents, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, have called on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign, claiming without evidence there were widespread problems. Those kinds of calls have led to this harassment, Sterling said.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STERLING: You have to be responsible. You have to be responsible in your rhetoric. You have to be responsible in your statements. You have to be responsible in your deeds. That shouldn't be too much to ask for people who asked for us to give them responsibility.

FOWLER: Very few Republicans have supported Raffensperger or made attempts to swat down conspiracy theories about Georgia's voting machine vendor and other elections processes. In his speech, Sterling said they're guilty, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STERLING: This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy. And all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this.

FOWLER: In response, both Perdue and Loeffler said they condemn any sort of violence but won't apologize for their harsh questioning of Georgia's election administration. The Trump campaign said in a statement that they were focused on, quote, "ensuring that all legal votes are counted and that no one should engage in threats or violence." Ultimately, as the state finishes up a third count of its votes since Election Day, Sterling said it's incumbent on the president to move on, accept defeat and tone down the rhetoric.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STERLING: Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone going to get killed. And it's not right. It's not right.

FOWLER: Meanwhile, Republicans are also trying to convince their supporters the system works enough for them to vote in the January 5 runoff. For NPR News, I'm Stephen Fowler in Atlanta.

(SOUNDBITE OF MINTHAZE AND MASTAH WILLIAM'S "ASTROWORLD")

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