A new survey reveals that local election officials are increasingly concerned over threats and political pressure fueled by allegations of voter fraud. Respondents said that because of the uptick in threats one in five election officials is unlikely to stay in their jobs through the 2024 contest.
According to the survey conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, more than three-fourths of local election officials say social media companies have not done enough to stop the spread of false election information.
The survey underscores problems identified in a series of Reuters reports on harassment and intimidation of election workers after the 2020 elections. The news organization has documented more than 900 threatening and hostile messages to election administrators and staff in 17 states, almost all alluding to former President Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen election.
“We are at a really critical juncture,” said Al Schmidt, former Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner, who received death threats after refusing to back Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 vote. “The consequence of this threat environment is that you have more people leaving and they’re replaced by less experienced election administrators or people who want to undermine confidence in our system of government.”
About one in six election officials reported in the poll that they have been threatened personally, and more than half those cases were not reported to law enforcement. Nearly a third of the respondents said they feel their local government could do more to support them; more than 75% said the federal government should do more to support them.
More than 80% of the surveyed election officials said social media bears “a lot” of responsibility for spreading false election information, and nearly two-thirds said that problem had made their jobs “somewhat” or “a lot” more dangerous.