TIME: Backers of the ‘Big Lie’ Are Trying to Run Local Elections. Democrats Are Finally Fighting Back
TIME: Backers of the 'Big Lie' Are Trying to Run Local Elections. Democrats Are Finally
Running for local office isn’t easy. But whenever the going gets tough for Amanda Gonzalez, a Democratic candidate for Jefferson County (Colo.) Clerk and Recorder, she remembers the plot to overturn the 2020 election.
“When I’m downtrodden, when something isn’t going the way I thought it would, that is a huge part of my everyday thought,” says Gonzalez, 37. “There is a set of people who will actively try to undermine or destroy our democracy.”
As the executive director of Colorado Common Cause, Gonzalez has spent much of her career focused on state voting-rights policy. Much of that work involved crafting reforms that local election clerks would implement, including major nonpartisan election-protection efforts in 2018 and 2020. When the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder—the official in charge of elections in the county—decided not to run again, Gonzalez decided to run for the post herself. “If it’s not me, it’s bad actors,” she says.
Gonzalez is referring to the grassroots right-wing campaign to install election deniers—MAGA hardliners who trumpet former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen—in positions that oversee elections at the state and local levels. Inspired by Steve Bannon’s so-called “precinct strategy,” far-right activists have flooded local precincts, signed up en masse to be poll workers, and orchestrated harassment of existing officials. …
Gonzalez thinks most people understand the importance of voting rights broadly, but says many voters still don’t understand the importance of their local election officials. “It is a little harder to convince them that their time, talent and treasure should be focused on the clerk race,” she says. “The time to fight for our democracy is now. It can’t just be a few lawyers or a few election officials. It really has to be all of us realizing how important this is.”