LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Wednesday that she planned to prosecute anyone who made credible threats to election officials in the state.
"I want this to be very clear. We intend to keep our election officials safe. We intend to protect them. We intend to prosecute anyone who illegally threatens them," she said in a news conference Dec. 16, 2020.
She continued, “Threats against election officials are threats against our democracy."
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said she was with her 4-year-old son decorating her house for Christmas on Dec. 6, when "dozens of armed individuals stood outside my home shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns."
On Dec. 16, Nessel called those threats unacceptable.
Threats continued while Michigan's Electoral College voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be the next president and vice president of the United States on Dec. 14.
State officials said credible threats of violence ahead of Monday's electoral vote prompted Michigan to shut down its state Capitol building in Lansing, along with the House and Senate legislative offices.
"The outcome of the election is now crystal clear," Nessel said. She said alt-right groups could not accept the 2020 election results, resulting in the threats.
Peter J. Koutoujian, president of the Major County Sheriffs of America, said law enforcement would not stand for the attacks.
"Let me be crystal clear, there is no constitutional protection for these threats of violence and intimidation," he said Dec. 16.
Nessel said her office had received an overwhelming amount of phone calls, typically blocked numbers or those from out of state, claiming election fraud.
She said the volume of calls was affecting the day-to-day duties of the state attorney general office.