Election officials feel less safe than ever as the 2024 election approaches

  • As the 2024 presidential election approaches, polled election officials said the threats are piling up.

  • Seven in ten local election officials said they think the dangers have increased since 2020.

  • It's led to many officials reportedly leaving the job entirely as a result.

With about six months until the presidential elections in November, more than a third of polled election officials said they've experienced "threats, harassment, or abuse" while on the job, a new report revealed.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law published its yearly "Local Election Officials Survey" on Wednesday. The survey, which was filled out by 928 election officials between late February and March, revealed an increase in reported threats on the job.

Four in 10 respondents reported their offices had bolstered their physical security since 2020, with 41% noting they had "participated in or led security trainings." However, that didn't stop on-the-job dangers from continuing to stack up: 38% of officials still reported having been threatened, harassed, or abused because of their jobs.

Officials also believe things are getting worse, with 70% of those polled saying they think the threats have increased since 2020 election.

Among election officials who said they'd been threatened on the job, roughly 60% said the threat occurred in person, while 61% reported threats over the phone. Some also reported being concerned about the risk of their personal information being posted online in a threatening manner.

Twelve percent more respondents in 2024 said they know someone who left their job over safety concerns compared to 2023.

Threats against election officials and poll workers have been well-documented in recent years. The most high-profile example is that of Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, who received hundreds of threats after then-President Donald Trump's campaign spread lies that they had manipulated ballots.

Both testified before the House's January 6 Committee and later won $148 million from Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, though he's struggled to come up with the money.

Correction: May 1, 2024 — An earlier version of this story misstated the number of respondents in the poll, stating there were 11,678. The number "11,678" is the total number of election officials contacted for the survey — only 928 actually responded.

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