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What you need to know about the 2020 elections across the greater Tampa Bay region.

With Every Allegation Of Fraud, Our ‘Democracy Sinks Deeper,’ Says Pasco County Elections Supervisor

Three panelists, including Brian Corley, appear on "The State We're In," a Facebook Live show in Oct 2020.
Three panelists, including Brian Corley (lower left), appear on "The State We're In," a Facebook Live show in Oct 2020.

"The enduring truth is that the election is over," said Brian Corley, lamenting conspiracy theories and threats of violence following the 2020 presidential election.

Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Pasco County elections supervisor Brian Corley spoke out Wednesday against allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, describing them as unfounded and destructive to democracy.

“In the days since the election, I have stood by as political pundits and some government officials have politicized the electoral process with baseless claims and misinformation, intent upon undermining the election results,” Corley said in a statement.

“I realized yesterday I could no longer stay silent. 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,” he added.

“In just this past week, we listened to campaign attorney Joe DiGenova suggest that Chris Krebs, formerly with Homeland Security, should be ‘taken out at dawn and shot’,” Corley said, noting that so far 26 lawsuits over the election have been tossed out.

“It's time to stop the destructive rhetoric and to stop prioritizing politics at the expense of our country's founding principles,” he said.

“With every deep state conspiracy and illegitimate claim of fraud our democracy sinks deeper and deeper into divisiveness.”

Making no mention of Pasco County specifically, Corley said that “most ‘anomalies’ or ‘irregularities’ are the result of clerical errors by elections' staff who are taxed by extremely long hours in high stress environments, and the fact that elections administration is highly dependent on temporary staff with steep learning curves in short timeframes.”

Corley described claims of a rigged election as “unfounded.”

“Through social media and cable news networks which give unchallenged air to patently false and fabricated conspiracy theories, we legitimize the idea that our electoral process is vulnerable to interference - the desired outcome of Russian meddling in 2016 as documented by both Volume 1 of the Mueller report and the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chaired by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida,” he wrote.

“In an ironic twist of fate, even the current administration's Department of Homeland Security has declared this to be the most secure and transparent election in history, and yet contempt for the process lives on without reality, facts or evidence of widespread fraud.”

Corley, who as elections supervisor has a constituency of some 400,000 people in Pasco County, said his goal was to affirm the integrity of the election, and noted his “apolitical” role.

“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,” Corley said.

“ I believe that history will not be kind to those who are cognizant of the truth and yet choose silence for political expediency.”

I cover health and K-12 education – two topics that have overlapped a lot since the pandemic began.