TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A supervisor of elections from the Tampa Bay area spoke up this week to address what he calls “baseless claims and misinformation” aimed at undermining the results of the 2020 election.
Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley released a statement Wednesday saying while he stood by in the days since the election, he realized he could “no longer stay silent” this week on what’s happening.
“As I watched Georgia’s Gabriel Sterling make an impassioned statement against actions which have resulted in threats against elections’ officials, his words ‘it has to stop’ compelled me to speak out
not only in a professional capacity, but also as an American citizen,” Corley said.
Corley is in charge of supervising the votes of 400,000 people in Pasco County and has been an elections official for 14 years. He says he’s had enough of the illegitimate claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“I felt obligated to just speak out on my professional capacity,” he told 8 On Your Side. “We are experts who do this year in and year out when we have elections.”
Sterling, a Republican, took time during a news conference on Tuesday to angrily admonish President Donald Trump and the two Republican U.S. senators who are in runoff races and have called on the secretary of state to resign over the election. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is also a Republican.
According to the Associated Press, Sterling said people have been driving in caravans past Raffensperger’s home, have come onto his property and have sent sexualized threats to his wife’s cellphone. the AP reports both Raffensperger and Sterling have police stationed outside their homes.
“Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions,” Sterling said Tuesday. “This has to stop. We need you to step up, and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.”
The Pasco County supervisor of elections said in his statement he recognizes the apolitical responsibility of his elected position but can’t stand by as the work he and other election administrators do “becomes the scapegoat of those seeking political gain.”
“In the words of John Adams, ‘facts are stubborn things,’ and while I believe allegations of voter fraud should always be investigated, I have learned through research and speaking to my colleagues that true voter fraud is isolated and infrequent,” Corley said.
Corley tells 8 On Your Side that he could no longer stand on the sidelines after hearing Sterling.
“It makes me part angry, part sad to be honest with you,” he said, “These men and women are my sisters and brothers in election administration. We have no political agenda.”
Corley noted that U.S. Attorney General William Barr confirmed Tuesday that the Justice Department has not uncovered any evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 election.
“We’re better than this. I’m actually a bit embarrassed for us, I say that respectfully,” he said. “To think of my colleagues getting death threats, having to have security, law enforcement around their house, that is deplorable.”
Corley says the rhetoric in this presidential election is creating even more division in America.
“With every deep state conspiracy and illegitimate claim of fraud, our democracy sinks deeper and deeper into divisiveness,” Corley said. “As the world looks on, the greatest democracy in the world dares to risk the peaceful and orderly transition of power in favor of propagating unfounded claims of ‘rigged elections.'”
In his statement, Corley referenced 26 failed lawsuits that have challenged the election results as well as comments allegedly made by a campaign attorney about the fired head of the DHS election security agency that called the 2020 election the most secure in American history.
“I believe that history will not be kind to those who are cognizant of the truth and yet choose silence for political expediency,” Corley said.
The elections supervisor ended his statement by saying “the people have spoken,” the election is over and it’s “clear” that President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
“After delivering the most secure, transparent election in history with record turnout and during a pandemic, dedicated public servants deserve recognition, respect and thanks – not vilification,” he said. “Although our gender, race and political affiliation are as unique as the regions we represent, the quality that unifies us as professionals is our dedication. We and our staffs take pride in our work as the politically agnostic keepers of the bedrock of our democracy. It’s time to stop the destructive rhetoric and to stop prioritizing politics at the expense of our country’s founding principles.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
LATEST NEWS FROM WFLA.COM:
- Police: ‘Grease’ actor arrested after throwing plates, food at deputies in Maryland restaurant
- Beware of carnivorous hammerhead worms wreaking havoc on lawns
- TRACKING THE TROPICS: Tropical Depression 16 forms in the Atlantic
- North Port community holds candlelight vigil for Gabby Petito
- ‘I wanted to support her’: Barber shaves own head to comfort woman battling breast cancer