‘You Will Be Beaten’: Pro-Trump Extremists Are Posting Violent Threats Against Voters

“Better tell your gramma to drop off her own vote cause no games are being played this time.”
A supporter of Former President Donald Trump raises their hat in the air during a Save America rally on October 1, 2022 in Warren, Michigan. (Emily Elconin/Getty Images)

Days before the U.S. government issued a chilling memo about the threat domestic extremists pose to next week’s elections, a member of the far-right message board known as The Donald threatened voters in Arizona with a message that eerily echoed much of the government’s warning.

“We will post up at every single drop box,” the user wrote. “If you try to drop off more than one ballot, you will be beaten without question. Better tell your gramma to drop off her own vote cause no games are being played this time. You will see violence if caught stuffing ballots in a drop box.”


The post was written by a user called Hogstooth01, who in the past has posted violent threats against President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, as well as the FBI and Dr. Anthony Fauci. He has also boasted about having access to multiple high-powered weapons. On the message board in June, he wrote: “Man I fucking love my AR-12.” 

The Donald is a rabidly pro-Trump message board where members have posted threats of violence against FBI agents and the judge who authorized in the Mar-a-Lago search. It was also a central hub for coordinating the attack on the Capitol.

Like most users of the site, the person posting threats against voters in Arizona hid behind an anonymous username. But using publicly available information, VICE News was able to identify the user as a 41-year-old blacksmith from Texas.

The user  confirmed his identity in a post on The Donald on Tuesday, when he referenced a message sent to him by VICE News seeking to confirm his identity. “I find it disturbing that he would use my real name in the message,” he wrote in the post. 

The user’s post threatening to harm voters came in response to one about lawsuits filed in Arizona aiming to ban groups that have been conducting drop box monitoring campaigns. The Secretary of State has referred at least six cases of alleged voter intimidation to the Department of Justice. In one instance, armed and masked vigilantes staked out a drop box in a Phoenix suburb.


Last week, a number of the groups conducting the monitoring campaigns stood down after a flurry of legal filings sought to ban their monitoring efforts. Judge Michael T. Liburdi, a Trump appointee initially ruled that the activists’ actions were protected by the First Amendment and their right to assemble in public spaces.

But this week, after the DOJ weighed in to support the lawsuits, writing that “while the First Amendment protects expressive conduct and peaceable assembly generally, it affords no protection for threats of harm directed at voters.” Liburdi changed course and told the groups they can no longer take photos or videos of voters, openly carry firearms near ballot boxes, or post information about voters online.

The joint memo issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, Capitol Police, and the National Counterterrorism Center last week put the threat from homegrown actors in stark terms.

“Domestic violent extremists across the ideological spectrum pose a heightened threat to the 2022 midterm elections,” the memo warns, adding that primary targets include locations like drop boxes, and that easy access to such locations made them “vulnerable to simple, easy-to-use weapons, like firearms, vehicles, edged weapons, and incendiary devices, which domestic violent extremists have used in the past.”


The memo, reviewed by VICE News, was published on the same day a man broke into the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacked her husband with a hammer.

Within hours of the attack, wild conspiracies about it were spreading on fringe platforms, and were soon embraced by mainstream right-wing pundits, Republican lawmakers, and even by Trump himself.

The user known as Hogstooth01 this week has also been sharing conspiracy theories about the attack, and in a post on Sunday, they decried figures like Nancy Pelosi and Hunter Biden, and urged former President Donald Trump to return to the White House.

“I hope when you get back in office you do what you should and fill the ground with all these fucking traitors,” they wrote.

All their posts remain live on the forum at the time of publication.

The DHS memo also points out that the greatest threat is not posed by organized groups such as the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers, but from individuals who have been radicalized into believing the 2020 election was stolen.

“The most plausible domestic violent extremist threat is posed by lone offenders who leverage election-related issues to justify violence,” the memo states, adding that “enduring perceptions of election fraud related to the 2020 general election… likely would increase their sensitivity to any new claims perceived as reaffirming their belief that US elections are corrupt.”

And some GOP candidates are already saying they won’t accept the results of the 2022 election if they lose.

“Days before the 2022 midterms, we’re seeing multiple users on extremist forums promoting election-related violence, or using threatening and violent language,” Daniel J. Jones, president of Advance Democracy, an independent nonprofit that tracks extremist activity online, told VICE News. “While it is unclear how many users online overall are making threats against voters or election officials, several of the users claim to have access to weapons and have consistently made threats against specific political figures.”

“Concerns over domestic conspiracy theorists committing acts of violence around the 2022 midterm elections remains high,” Jones added. “And what we’re seeing online certainly supports that assessment.”

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