"When a majority of my party believes that the election was stolen, believes that when we lose it's because the election was rigged, it's really left to just one party right now to uphold the democratic process," Al Schmidt said.
September 14, 2021

John Berman brought on Al Schmidt, the Republican Philadelphia election commissioner who oversaw the 2020 election, in a discussion of Republicans claiming election fraud.

"Al, always great to speak with you, Commissioner. Look, we spoke a few times, but as the votes were still being counted in Pennsylvania. And in Philadelphia, where you were, and you at the time said you saw no evidence of mass fraud there. What was the impact of that comment from you? What did people then say to you after you refused to say that this election was stolen?" Berman asked.

"Immediately after that interview, the president tweeted at me by name, referring to me as a RINO, saying that I was being used and refusing to look at voter fraud in Philadelphia," Schmidt said.

"Of course, there was no widespread voter fraud in Philadelphia. But that's really what led to a series of death threats and, you know, efforts to coerce."

Berman asked if the threats were also directed at his family.

"Right. I mean, this rhetoric, these threats that we're all too familiar with, and unfortunately, as you know, and your report shows and the Brennan Center report shows, I'm not unique at all. It's going on across the country. But the rhetoric is an empty rhetoric, it has a purpose, and that purpose is resulting in good, professional fair-minded election officials across the country not running for reelection or being defeated by people who have partisan political intentions to disrupt or discredit legitimate election results."

"What happens if the civic minded people get pushed out?" Berman asked.

"The big danger is that if people who intentionally want to discredit fair and free elections are successful, when a majority of my party believes that the election was stolen, believes that when we lose it's because the election was rigged, it's really left to just one party right now to uphold the democratic process. If that falls and it goes from a majority of a party to a majority of Americans, then I think that's an even greater danger. I'm afraid we're facing that right now," Schmidt said.

Berman asked about PA Republicans trying to launch a 2020 election audit.

"As a former senior auditor for the federal government, the GAO, I have very strong feelings about it in really that what has been discussed isn't an audit at all, it's a partisan political enterprise and as an election administrator, that concerns me greatly as well because it's really not about finding answers. It's really about trying to discredit the fair election results, and I would add that since we have been discussing threats, you know, those threats really spiked around election time leading up to certification, they go away, but whenever this talk of audits and bringing to other states what has happened in Arizona occurs, the threats resume, as they have here in Philadelphia with my fellow commissioners and I."

"I have to say, being an election official is not a job that you require hazard pay, but at this point, it might. We appreciate what you do," Berman concluded.

"Thank you, sir."

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