Election officials and poll workers are our neighbors and our friends – and they make our democracy work. Amidst a pandemic that added significant new challenges, they ensured we had “the most secure election in history” in 2020 with record turnout.
But despite running an election that was fair, safe, and secure, there has been a massive election disinformation campaign led by former President Trump and his allies to sow mistrust in our elections. This environment has given rise to unprecedented incidents of harassment and intimidation of election officials.
More than 75% of election officials say that threats against election administrators and staff have increased in recent years. Reuters has documented more than 850 such cases already, and workers continue to face intense political pressure and intimidation.The percentage saying they are “very worried” about political leaders interfering in future elections has nearly tripled since before 2020. Now one in five election officials plan to leave their jobs before the 2024 election.
“No election official should face political pressure, threats, or intimidation for doing their jobs and protecting the integrity of our elections. If we want to maintain a functioning democracy, we must keep our elections free, fair, and safe. Anyone who violently threatens an election worker or their family must be held fully accountable under our rule of law.” – Former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt
Issue One’s Faces of Democracy campaign is lifting up the voices of election workers to fight for necessary improvements including significant, predictable, and regular funding for state and local election administration by Congress and protections for election workers and facilities.
Watch our new video, “Portraits,” featuring Faces of Democracy election workers from around the country
Election workers know firsthand what it will take to ensure our elections in 2022 and 2024 meet the standards for fairness, safety and security, and to address the country’s evolving needs and challenges, including disinformation. The campaign is informed by the experiences of election officials and workers across the country — faces of democracy from both red states and blue, rural communities and urban, and from every level, including secretaries of state, city commissioners, county clerks and registrars, poll workers and election judges. It is guided by the following principles:
- Election officials and poll workers should not face political pressure, threats, or intimidation for doing their jobs and protecting the integrity of our elections
- Elections are essential infrastructure for our democracy and Congress should provide states and localities with regular, predictable, and sufficient funding
“Supporting our election infrastructure through regular and predictable funding is critical to ensuring secure and credible elections. During the global pandemic, states and localities across the country faced significant funding shortfalls. Private philanthropy stepped up at the last moment to help close the funding gap, but future elections shouldn’t need to rely on private donors. The federal government must deliver the resources election officials need to safely and fairly administer our elections.” – Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman
In order to address these threats, ensure the integrity of our elections, and protect the people who run them, Congress should:
- Authorize significant and regular investment in America’s election infrastructure to ensure our elections are adequately funded;
- Provide new funding streams — through the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, or the Election Assistance Commission — that election administrators and their staffs can utilize specifically for threat monitoring, safety and doxxing training, privacy services and home security;
- Enhance information sharing and coordination about threats against election officials between federal, state and local law enforcement entities;
- Clarify and expand existing federal protections against threats and intimidation to include authorized election agents, contractors, vendors, and volunteers;
- Increase privacy protections for election workers and their families to protect against doxxing and harassment; and
- Pass a full and complete update to the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to ensure the will of the people is upheld.
“At one point I had such a credible threat that I had police officers with me. These people were trying to get my home address and my social security number… I was at a viewing once and I heard people whispering about who I was, and I actually left. I had to leave church one Sunday.” – Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley
“I’ve testified before Congress on cyber security and the need for more election resources from the federal government to the states. We don’t need a large sum of money every 10 years or every five years. What we need is consistent, dedicated funding so that we can plan ahead and do the things that we need to do. Administering our elections securely is not cheap.” – Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos
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