Before President Trump falsely accused her of rigging the 2020 election, Wandrea "Shaye" Moss had loved her job working in the elections office in Fulton County, Ga. Moss found joy in helping older voters, answering questions about absentee ballots and taking part in a process that was once denied to her Black ancestors. She appreciated working alongside her mother, Ruby Freeman, who helped out in the office on a temporary basis during the 2020 election season. "I've always been told by my grandmother how important it is to vote," Moss testified to the Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday.
But Moss and Freeman's lives changed when Trump and his legal advisor Rudolph W. Giuliani baselessly claimed the two women were part of a conspiracy to steal the election. Strangers harassed them via phone, text and email, some with racial slurs. Moss put on weight, rarely leaves her home and quit her job at the Fulton County elections office, she told the committee.
"It's turned my life upside-down," Moss said. "I won't even introduce myself by my name anymore. I get nervous when I bump into someone I know in the grocery store who says my name. I am worried about who is listening."
Even Moss' grandmother received threatening phone calls and text messages, Moss testified. Unsolicited pizza orders were delivered to her grandmother's home in the middle of the night. Late one evening, Moss said, her grandmother called her saying that a group of people had stormed into her home, claiming they were there to make a citizen's arrest of Moss and Freeman.
"It has affected my life in a major way," Moss said. "All because of lies; for me doing my job."
Giuliani, who had called for Moss and Freeman's homes to be searched and compared them to drug dealers, also claimed that a video shows Moss and Freeman passing around USBs that contained fraudulent votes. In reality, Freeman had handed Moss a ginger mint candy, Moss told the committee.
Freeman was told by the FBI that she would have to leave her home until after the inauguration for her own protection, she told the committee in videotaped testimony.
"There is nowhere I feel safe," Freeman said. "Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target one. But he targeted me, Lady Ruby. A small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who stood up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic."
Following both women's testimony, House select committee members surrounded an emotional Moss, shaking her hands and thanking her for her words. She smiled softly as she walked out of the hearing room.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.