Issue One is pleased to welcome Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to Faces of Democracy, a growing bipartisan campaign made up of election officials and poll workers from across the country united in the movement to protect and strengthen U.S. elections.
Also joining the initiative are Champaign, Illinois County Clerk & Recorder Aaron Ammons, Falls Church, Virginia Director of Elections Dave Bjerke, former Utah County Clerk/Auditor Josh Daniels, former Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Maricopa County, Arizona Recorder Stephen Richer, Rhode Island’s Deputy Secretary of State and President of the National Association of State Election Directors Rob Rock, and King County, Washington Director of Elections Julie Wise.
“We must protect the people who protect democracy,” said Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “This means ensuring voters know the truth about the security, integrity and accuracy of our elections and seeking consequences for those who would spread lies to fuel threats and harassment toward election officials. It also means providing reliable and steady resources to support our elections and building a national, nonpartisan pro-democracy coalition so that we emerge from this moment with a stronger, healthier, and more robust democracy than ever before.”
Faces of Democracy is powered by the personal stories and experiences of election officials and poll workers who keep our elections free and fair, 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 when inaugural members descended on the nation’s capital to meet with Members of Congress and the White House to advocate for improved election policy. In advance of the 2022 midterms, Issue One published the digital guide, “Faces of Democracy: How Our Elections Work and the Challenges Ahead,” to give the American public an in-depth look at how U.S. elections work and how lawmakers should strengthen them. The guide was informed by extensive original interviews with election officials and poll workers from across the country.
“We all believe that fair elections form the bedrock of a free and representative society,” said Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “But in recent years, we’ve seen our democratic guardrails attacked by politicians who refuse to accept the results of legitimate elections. It’s important for voters to know that our elections are safe, and that we can trust election officials and poll workers to administer our free and fair elections in a rigorous and bipartisan manner. Election workers are public servants who swore an oath to uphold American democracy and count every eligible vote – they’re also our neighbors, friends, members of our churches, and PTAs. They must be able to do their jobs without facing harassment, and we must continue to work together to protect the freedoms and liberties that make us who we are.”
“It’s crucial that every election official, worker, and volunteer has the resources and support they need to do their job effectively,” said Rhode Island Deputy Secretary of State Rob Rock. “Despite efforts in recent years to intimidate and challenge these individuals who make democracy possible, our elections remain safe, secure, and accurate. It is an honor to join with my colleagues across the country to work to ensure the continued strength of our elections.”
Today’s announcement brings the total number of participants to 34 spanning across 19 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
“We are proud to welcome these democracy defenders to our growing and successful movement to bolster our nation’s critical electoral processes,” said Dokhi Fassihian, deputy chief of strategy and program at Issue One. “As we continue to educate Americans about how our elections work and what we need to do to strengthen them, so too must we lift up the public servants who ensure that every vote gets counted fairly and accurately. Our efforts are only just beginning, and we are excited to be working with so many brave leaders who are passionate about our democracy.”
At the end of last year, Congress passed the Electoral Count Reform Act, a bipartisan update to the outdated 1887 law, to reaffirm that voters decide elections, not politicians. This was a significant and historic victory, and a strong example for future bipartisan work to strengthen future elections during the 118th Congress and beyond. Ahead of 2024, the campaign will work to educate elected leaders about the real and increasing costs of election administration and advocate for regular federal funding to strengthen our election infrastructure.
Issue: Election Administration