Reuters was today awarded a prestigious George Polk Award in the Political Reporting category, for its agenda-setting investigations chronicling the campaign of intimidation carried out by supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump against election workers. “Campaign of Fear, ” by Linda So, Jason Szep and Reuters staff, revealed that the people who administer U.S. elections – from poll workers and ballot counters to county clerks and secretaries of state – have endured a continuing onslaught of death threats and other harassment from supporters of former President Trump, inspired by his false assertions of widespread fraud in the 2020 vote.
The Polk Awards, presented by Long Island University in the United States, honor special achievement in journalism, with particular focus on investigative reporting in the public interest.
“I’m incredibly proud of Linda, Jason and team for their relentless and courageous investigation that shone a light on a disturbing – and continuing – threat to the foundation of American democracy,” said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni. “Their work exposing this largely hidden threat is spurring tangible action that promises to protect U.S. election workers across the country.”
Following the Reuters investigation, the Justice Department created a task force to address the threats. The DOJ has since issued charges against two people who threatened officials whose ordeals were spotlighted in the Reuters reports, and is investigating additional cases.
Democratic members of the House and Senate introduced legislation, the Preventing Election Subversion Act, which would make it a federal crime to intimidate, threaten, coerce or harass an election worker. Lawmakers in at least nine states — Vermont, Maine, Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, California, New Mexico and Illinois – are pursuing similar bills to protect election workers from threats.