Press releases

Election officials from across the country call on Congress and the Administration to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy on threats and take urgent action to fund elections ahead of 2024

Media Contact

Cory Combs

Director of Media Relations

This week, two dozen current and former election officials from Issue One’s Faces of Democracy program came to Washington, DC, to urge lawmakers and the Biden Administration to work in a bipartisan way to secure our country’s critical election infrastructure and protect election workers in advance of the 2024 election cycle and beyond.

Officials at all levels of election administration met with the White House, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and nearly sixty Republican and Democratic members of Congress to share the challenges they continue to face in carrying out their jobs. They asked members of Congress for regular congressional appropriations for elections to meet the country’s security needs, privacy protections for election officials, and stronger enforcement of laws against perpetrators of threats against election workers.

“Congress has a duty to ensure that federal elections are secure, and that includes adequate funding so that local and state officials have the right tools and resources in place before voters head to the polls next year,” said Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows. “The roles and responsibilities of election officials have expanded dramatically in recent years. Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, making it vitally important that Congress meets the moment and delivers much-needed funds to election offices across the country as we head into 2024 and beyond.”

Regular and consistent funding at the federal level is one of the most important steps lawmakers can take right now to protect and strengthen U.S. elections. During each of the last two fiscal years, Congress appropriated just $75 million to help fund federal elections, a fraction of what election officials and outside experts have called for. For the FY24 federal budget, election officials are calling for the appropriation of at least $400 million in election funding, a request that was reflected in a letter shared with members of Congress earlier this year. A recent national poll commissioned by Issue One also found that Americans across party lines overwhelmingly agree that the federal government should be more responsible for election funding.

“Voters can trust that their voices will be heard next year when they cast their ballots for crucial state, local, and federal races, but there are steps that the federal government can and must take to provide officials with the resources they need to administer a smooth and safe election next year,” said Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates. “When it comes to our elections – the bedrock of American democracy – it is vital that we put politics to the side and work together to preserve and bolster our sacred system of self-government.”

The election officials also called on Congress to pass anti-doxxing legislation to protect election officials similar to a law passed last year granting judges the right to protect their sensitive personal information from public disclosure.

A recent national poll commissioned by Issue One found overwhelming public support across the political spectrum for such protections, including 76% of Republicans and 77% of Democrats and independents.

“We must adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ policy when it comes to harassment and threats against election officials. No one should have to risk their personal safety while administering free and fair elections,” said Georgia State Election Board member and former State Rep. Edward Lindsey, Jr. “These brave individuals are dedicated public servants who keep our democracy running, and Congress should act to protect their wellbeing.”

Faces of Democracy members who participated in this week’s meetings include:

  • Cisco Aguilar, Secretary of State, Nevada
  • Shenna Bellows, Secretary of State, Maine
  • Jim Condos, Former Secretary of State, Vermont
  • Denise Merrill, Former Secretary of State, Connecticut
  • Natalie Adona, Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters, Nevada County, CA
  • Dave Bjerke, Director of Elections & General Registrar of Voters, Falls Church, VA
  • Barb Byrum, County Clerk, Ingham County, MI
  • Nedra Cooper, Poll Worker Trainer, Clark County, NV
  • Maggie Salas Crespo, Deputy Secretary of State, Nevada
  • Nick Custodio, Deputy City Commissioner, Philadelphia, PA
  • Dustin Czarny, Election Commissioner, Onondaga County, NY
  • Lisa Deeley, Chairwoman of the Philadelphia City Commissioners
  • Bill Gates, Board of Supervisors, Maricopa County, AZ
  • Ken Hamm, Poll Worker, Clark County, NV
  • Neal Kelley, Former Registrar of Voters, Orange County, CA
  • Brianna Lennon, County Clerk, Boone County, MO
  • Edward Lindsey, Georgia State Election Board
  • Amber McReynolds, Former Director of Elections, Denver, CO
  • Spenser Mestel, Poll Worker, Brooklyn, NY
  • Omar Sabir, City Commissioner, Philadelphia, PA
  • Tonya Wichman, Board of Elections, Defiance County, OH
  • Wesley Wilcox, Supervisor of Elections, Marion County, FL
  • Julie Wise, Director of Elections, King County, WA

Issue One’s Faces of Democracy is powered by the personal stories and experiences of election officials and poll workers who keep our elections free and accessible, with the mission of winning regular, predictable, and sufficient funding for state and local election administration, protections for election workers and facilities, and increased trust in our electoral processes. The campaign launched in June 2022 and now includes more than three dozen members across 21 states.

Learn more about Faces of Democracy.