An unidentified caller has left at least three threatening and vulgar messages for members of Secretary of State Jim Condos' staff in recent weeks, according to Condos. One of the messages, directed toward a top Vermont elections administrator on Tuesday, accused the office of unspecified cheating and suggested that its members face a firing squad.
"If people want to take potshots at me, I get it. I'm elected," Condos said Wednesday. "But they shouldn't take pot shots at my staff or staff of elections officials across the state."
Condos' office first disclosed the threats on Twitter late Tuesday in a message amplifying remarks made earlier that day by Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling. At a press conference that quickly went viral, Sterling described the threats he and his colleagues had faced over their administration of the 2020 election and called on President Donald Trump and members of the U.S. Senate to tamp down their divisive rhetoric.
This has to stop. The wild, unfounded accusations amplified by @realDonaldTrump need to stop. In a voice message today, our elections team was threatened with execution by firing squad. Silence is complicity. https://t.co/PfJkcQSwaC
"It has to stop," Sterling said, adding, "Someone's going to get killed."
Condos echoed those remarks Wednesday. "It really has to stop," he said, accusing Trump of spreading conspiracy theories related to the election and encouraging dangerous rhetoric. "It starts at the top."
Condos said his office had turned over the voicemail messages to the Vermont State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, both of whom he said were investigating. Adam Silverman, a spokesperson for the state police, said his agency had received a complaint and was reviewing the messages. Sarah Ruane, a spokesperson for the FBI's Albany office, declined to comment, citing Department of Justice policy.
According to Condos, the caller left messages Tuesday for the elections administrator and another senior member of his office. The same caller, whose phone number includes Vermont's area code, left a message with a receptionist on November 22, he said.
Condos declined to provide Seven Days copies of the messages. He said the caller used multiple expletives and accused the office of being "crooked" and "cheating" but did not specifically mention the election. The caller referred to firing squads, poison gas and lethal injections in a manner that Condos and his staff interpreted as threatening.
The secretary of state said his employees had previously received complaints about the election but had not received threats. He said the office had not yet taken additional safety measures.
According to Condos, staff members had been rattled by the voicemails. "I'm a big guy and can handle myself," he said. "But my staff should not be attacked for doing their jobs."