A Fulton County elections worker falsely accused of ballot fraud during the 2020 elections and subjected to a year of death threats and harassment has been awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Wandrea’ ArShaye Moss, who’s worked for the Fulton County Department of Registration & Elections since 2012, will receive the prestigious award recognizing political courage in May at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Shaye Moss. Photo courtesy of JFK Library/Museum

“Despite the onslaught of random, undeserved, and malicious attacks, Moss continues to serve in the Fulton County Department of Registration & Elections doing the hard and unseen work to run our democracy,” said the JFK Library, which makes the award, in an announcement.

Moss was unwittingly thrust into the international spotlight in December 2020 after she and her mother Ruby Freeman, who worked as a temporary election worker, became targets of a smear campaign by then-President Donald Trump and supporters seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. 

Moss supervised Fulton County’s absentee ballot operation and helped process the vote count on Election Day. After a close vote tipped Georgia to Joe Biden, Trump and his supporters falsely accused her of processing fake ballots for Biden during the late-night hours of Election Day. 

Moss subsequently received so many death threats and racist taunts that she was forced to change her appearance and go into hiding. 

Even so, she carried out her duties remotely as much as possible. Although state officials repeatedly debunked the Trump camp’s lies about her, Moss continued to receive threats and harassing messages from Trump allies nearly a year after the election. 

Moss and Freeman filed defamation lawsuits in December against far-right cable news outlet One America News Network, its executives, and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Guiliani, the former New York City mayor. 

Last week, the pair reached a preliminary settlement with OAN after a one-day mediation on April 19, according to court filings reported by the AP. The preliminary settlement does not include Guiliani.  

The JFK Library also made the Profile in Courage Award to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R), Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), and Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers (R). 

“They embody what President Kennedy admired most in others—political courage,” said the JFK Library’s announcement. “There is no issue today more important than the fight for democracy. These honorees have placed their careers and lives on the line to protect democratic principles and free and fair elections.”

Douglas County’s elections director, Milton Kidd, who trained Moss early in her career, said the Profile in Courage Award honoring Moss also “recognizes the unsung heroes of the elections process.”

“I’m happy the public is finally recognizing the strain and stress individuals working in elections have experienced over the last few years–and will most likely continue to experience,” he said. “We must remain vigilant in defending the electoral process because if it fails, American democracy fails.”

Other Georgians have received the Profile in Courage Award, established by Kennedy’s family in 1989. Former Gov. Roy Barnes and former State Rep. Dan Ponder Jr. were honored in 2003, followed by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin in 2005. The late congressman and Georgia Supreme Court justice, Charles Longstreet Weltner, was honored in 1991 for his work upholding the law during the civil rights movement.

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