Another Texas Election Official Quits After Threats From Trump Supporters

Heider Garcia, the top election official in deep-red Tarrant County, had previously testified about being harassed by the former president’s right-wing supporters.

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Another Texas Election Official Quits After Threats From Trump Supporters |

Heider Garcia demonstrating how to use a voting machine in 2020. Mr. Garcia detailed a series of threats in written testimony last year to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Heider Garcia, the head of elections in Tarrant County, Texas, announced this week that he would resign after facing death threats, joining other beleaguered election officials across the nation who have quit under similar circumstances.

Mr. Garcia oversees elections in a county where, in 2020, Donald J. Trump became only the second Republican presidential candidate to lose in more than 50 years. Right-wing skepticism of the election results fueled threats against him, even though the county received acclaim from state auditors for its handling of the 2020 voting.

With Mr. Trump persistently repeating the lie that he won the 2020 election, many of his supporters and those in right-wing media have latched on to conspiracy theories and joined him in spreading disinformation about election security. Those tasked with running elections, even in deeply Republican areas that did vote for Mr. Trump in 2020, have borne the brunt of vitriol and threats from people persuaded by baseless claims of fraud.

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Mr. Garcia detailed a series of threats as part of his written testimony last year to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he urged to pass better protections for election officials.

  • One of the threats made online that he cited: “hang him when convicted from fraud and let his lifeless body hang in public until maggots drip out his mouth.”

  • He testified that he had repeatedly been the target of a doxxing campaign, including the posting of his home address on Twitter after Sidney Powell, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, falsely accused him on television and social media of manipulating election results.

  • Mr. Garcia also testified that he received direct messages on Facebook with death threats calling him a “traitor,” and one election denier used Twitter to urge others to “hunt him down.”

Mr. Garcia, whose political affiliation is not listed on public voting records, has overseen elections in Tarrant County since 2018. Before that, he had a similar role outside Sacramento in Placer County, Calif.

He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Election deniers have fixated on Mr. Garcia’s previous employment with Smartmatic, an election technology company that faced baseless accusations of rigging the 2020 election and filed a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News that is similar to one brought by the voting machine company Dominion, which was settled on Tuesday. He had several roles with Smartmatic over more than a dozen years, ending in 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. His work for the company in Venezuela, a favorite foil of the right wing because of its troubled socialist government, has been a focus of conspiracy theorists.

“I could not sleep that night, I just sat in the living room, until around 3:00 a.m., just waiting to see if anyone had read this and decided to act on it.”

— From Mr. Garcia’s written testimony last year, describing the toll that the posting of his address online, along with other threats, had taken on him and his family.

  • All three election officials resigned last year in another Texas county, Gillespie — at least one of whom cited repeated death threats and stalking.

  • A rural Virginia county about 70 miles west of Richmond lost its entire elections staff this year after an onslaught of baseless voter fraud claims, NBC News reported.

Election officials have resorted to an array of heightened security measures as threats against them have intensified, including hiring private security, fireproofing and erecting fencing around a vote tabulation center.

The threats have led to several arrests by a Justice Department task force that was created in 2021 to focus on attempts to intimidate election officials.


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