ABC News: Threats, pressures faced by poll workers pose ‘existential threat to our democracy,’ experts warn
ABC News: Threats, pressures faced by poll workers pose 'existential threat to our democracy,' experts warn
A steady clip of threatening messages has inundated the Milwaukee Election Commission in recent months, forcing the once-sleepy office to divert attention from its official mandate — administering free and fair elections — to a more pressing concern: ensuring the safety of its employees. …
State and local election offices across the country are facing similar challenges, in many cases prompting mass resignations up and down their ranks — and stoking fear among some experts that their replacements will put partisan loyalties above a commitment to democracy.
In the eight months since the 2020 presidential election, the plight of election workers — propelled by misinformation surrounding the results of the election and a wave of Republican-led state-level voting reform efforts — is posing an “existential threat to our democracy,” warns Larry Norden, an elections expert at the Brennan Center for Justice, a bipartisan public policy institute. …
Part of the toll on election workers has come from a series of legal challenges filed by then-President Donald Trump’s allies that sought to target the objectivity of election workers in key swing states. Though the vast majority of cases were dismissed, many of the false or exaggerated claims in these lawsuits contributed to the misinformation that ultimately provoked throngs of Trump supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“These election workers are feeling the brunt of former President Trump and various Republican allies lying about the election,” said Sylvia Albert, voting and elections director for the government watchdog group Common Cause. “All of a sudden, these election workers are part of some vast conspiracy.” …
Albert says that what Woodall-Vogg and other election officials have described represents “a level of threat and intimidation against election officials that you just don’t see in a democracy.”
“We’re seeing election officials receive death threats, they’ve been doxed, they’re in hiding,” Albert said.
The prospect of experienced election workers resigning from these already “thankless jobs,” as Albert described them, raises an even more troubling question: Who will replace them?