Texas man who suggested ‘mass shooting of poll workers’ sentenced to 3-1/2 years

Election worker processes mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day in Houston, Texas

Election worker processes mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day in Houston, Texas, U.S., November 2, 2020. REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – A Texas man who suggested a “mass shooting of poll workers” in 2022 elections and threatened two Maricopa County, Arizona, officials and their children was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in federal prison, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.

Frederick Francis Goltz, 52, pleaded guilty in April to interstate threatening communications and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix, who also ordered three years of supervised release following the prison term.

Goltz threatened several individuals – including a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office lawyer and a Maricopa County elections official – on the far-right social media platforms Patriots.win and Gab.com, the Justice Department said. Phoenix, the Arizona state capital, is in Maricopa County.

An FBI investigation into Goltz’ social media activity revealed a long history of threatening statements against targets including government officials and law enforcement officers, prosecutors said.

In November 2022, he advocated for “a mass shooting of poll workers and election officials” in precincts he believed had “suspect” results, prosecutors said in mid-term elections.

A few weeks later, he said he was “willing to take lives” to counter a “tyrannical government,” according to prosecutors.

Goltz repeatedly emphasized “children are not off limits,” prosecutors said.

Some Republican candidates and activists promoted false theories of voter fraud during the 2022 midterm elections.

Kari Lake, a high-profile Republican candidate who lost her bid to become Arizona governor in November, and former President Donald Trump pointed to temporary Election Day problems with electronic vote-counting machines in Maricopa County as evidence that Republican votes were being suppressed.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Kanishka Singh is a breaking news reporter for Reuters in Washington DC, who primarily covers US politics and national affairs in his current role. His past breaking news coverage has spanned across a range of topics like the Black Lives Matter movement; the US elections; the 2021 Capitol riots and their follow up probes; the Brexit deal; US-China trade tensions; the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan; the COVID-19 pandemic; and a 2019 Supreme Court verdict on a religious dispute site in his native India.

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