March 27, 2024 | The Hill

Katherine Keneally on threats to officials, “deja vu” election denialism in Arizona

ISD’s Director of Threat Analysis and Prevention, Katherine Keneally, spoke to The Hill about the disproportionate amount of election denialism narratives fueling threats to officials in the swing state of Arizona in the lead up to the 2024 presidential election. The interview comes in response to statements by US Attorney Gary Restaino, Arizona’s top federal prosecutor, who stated that threats against election officials in Arizona make up one-third of all federal cases tied to federal election threats nationwide. 

“Of all of the swing states … Arizona, in particular, has sustained this sort of attention since 2020,” Katherine said to The Hill. “I find it really unsurprising that many of these threats that the DOJ has been prosecuting are of individuals (election workers and public officials) who are in Arizona — by individuals who aren’t even in the state.”

Katherine noted that 2020 narratives such as election denialism have become more entrenched in Arizona since the election between Trump and Biden, and then following Republican Kari Lake’s narrow loss where she argued that she was the victim of a stolen election.

With Trump and Biden likely facing each other once more and Lake running for the Senate in 2024, “these narratives just could never disappear,” Katherine said.

“In many ways, we say that this is deja vu — we have the same two candidates running; much of this feels very similar,” she said. “But the difference this time is we have now had four years for these election denialist networks online to gain influence — to spread these beliefs.”

In addition to these known narratives, foreign malign influence and the various global conflicts will play a role as we inch closer to the presidential race.

“It’s creating a really volatile threat environment that I am not quite sure we are truly prepared for,” Katherine added.