In a survey of almost 600 election officials, more than 75% of those who responded reported that threats against election managers and workers had escalated over the last several years. Since before the 2020 election, the number of people who say they are “extremely concerned” about political leaders intervening in future elections has almost quadrupled.
According to a national survey released on Thursday, local election officials in the United States are increasingly concerned about threats and political pressure fueled by baseless allegations of voter fraud in the most recent presidential election, and one in five say they are somewhat or very unlikely to remain in their positions through the 2024 election.
In a survey of almost 600 election officials, more than 75% of those who responded reported that threats against election managers and workers had escalated over the last several years. Since before the 2020 election, the number of people who are “very concerned” about political leaders intervening in future elections has almost quadrupled.
The poll, which was conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, also revealed that more than three-fourths of local election officials believe social media companies have not done enough to prevent the spread of false election information in their communities.
According to the results of the study, difficulties were revealed in a series of Reuters investigations on harassment and intimidation of election workers after the 2020 presidential election. More than 900 threatening and nasty communications to election officials and personnel in 17 states have been recorded by the news organization, with almost all of them making reference to former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of a stolen presidential election.
“We are at a very important moment,” said Al Schmidt, a former Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner who got death threats after refusing to support Trump’s phony allegations of massive voter fraud in the 2020 election. “We are at a very critical juncture,” added Schmidt. Because of this danger environment, more individuals are departing and being replaced by less experienced election managers or persons who wish to undermine public faith in our democratic form of governance, according to the expert.
According to the study, about one in every six election officials stated that they had been personally intimidated, with more than half of those incidents not being reported to law authorities. Nearly a third of those who answered the survey said they believed their local government could do more to assist them, and more than 75% said they believed the federal government could do more to assist them as well.
According to the survey, more than 40% of respondents were completely unaware of a task force established by the United States Department of Justice last year to investigate and prosecute threats against election officials, and the vast majority of those who were aware of it said they “didn’t know much about it.” To yet, the task team has apprehended two individuals.
More than 80 percent of the election officials who responded to the study said social media is “a great deal” to blame for the dissemination of fake election information, and almost two-thirds said the issue has made their work “somewhat” or “a great deal” more risky because of it.
A third of those who said they are “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” to remain in their positions through the next presidential election said a key factor in their decision is that “too many political leaders are attacking a system that they know is fair and honest” played a role in their decision. Other prominent factors were the stress of the work, nearing the age of retirement, and the increasingly “nasty” tone of American politics in recent decades.
Between the 31st of January and the 14th of February, the Brennan Center polled 596 local election officials throughout the country. According to the center, the poll had a margin of error of 3.95 percent.