Threats to Election Workers

by Jan Frazier

Philadelphia (Washington Insider Magazine) – There is fear for the state and local election offices that there will be a wave of retirements as well as resignations after “confronting the dual burdens of a pandemic and a rise in conspiracy-fueled threats.”

There was a new survey displayed of over 200 election officials. These officials are the people who are “responsible for running polling places, maintaining voter rolls and counting and certifying the results of elections.” This survey found that as many as one-third of these officials had a concern of “being harassed on the job” or “feeling unsafe” at the polls during the 2020 election.

A survey was taken by Brennan Center for Justice and Bipartisan Policy Center. It reported that 4-in-10 people who worked the election of 2020 and who responded to the survey said that they had “the same level of concern about facing pressure to certify election results.”

As we know, there was immense pressure from the former President Trump about the 2020 election results. This sort of “brain drain” that was caused by Trump and his allies could most probably “pose a threat to the administration of future elections.” Even more of a problem would be faced if the people who have been used to working the polls would be replaced by inexperienced workers. A real problem would be created if the election workers believed in the conspiracy theory.

Al Schmidt, one of the three members of Philadelphia’s city board of elections, said “What is normally a fairly obscure administrative job is now one where lunatics are threatening to murder your children.”

Schmidt, who is a Republican, has said that he will not seek re-election in 2023. He claimed, “This is not something anyone anticipates or signs up for.”

There has been no agency that has been keeping track of the retirement of election workers. However, conversations with some of the long-time workers has pointed to the fact that many are “headed for the doors.”

It is normal for election administrators to retire after a presidential election. However, the 2020 election was a whole different ball game. Even now, the election workers are still facing threats.

Even though Schmidt had decided before the 2020 election not to run for commissioner, he said – in light of all of the problems since the election – that it “certainly confirms for me that it was the right decision.”


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