The US Department of Justice announced on Friday the arrest of a man accused of making death threats against election officials in Georgia, one of the states where Donald Trump challenged Joe Biden's 2020 presidential victory.
It is the first arrest made by a group of investigators set up in June 2021 to combat threats of violence against elected, appointed and volunteer election officials, the department said in a statement.
Chad Stark, who lives near Austin, Texas, has been charged with making death threats against election officials. He faces up to five years in prison.
On January 5, on the eve of the attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters, Mr Stark posted an advertisement on the classifieds website Craigslist offering a $10,000 reward to “Georgia patriots” who “put a bullet” in an election official whom he described as a “Chinese agent".
“It's our duty as American patriots to put an end to the lives of these traitors,” he wrote, referring to a second election official in the “local and federal corrupt judges".
He said they also needed to visit a third election official and “put a bullet behind the ears".
The officials are only identified as “Official A”, “B” and “C” in the statement.
Georgia, a traditionally conservative state, went to Mr Biden in the November 2020 election thanks to the mobilisation of African-American voters.
Mr Trump unsuccessfully challenged the results, falsely accusing the state's election officials of organising a rigged election.
“The Justice Department has a responsibility not only to protect the right to vote, but also to protect those who administer our voting systems from violence and illegal threats of violence,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the department statement.