Thursday, January 27, 2022

Survey: 1 in 3 US election workers feel insecure

Long after a controversial U.S. presidential election sparked a shower of partisan threats against voters and others, many U.S. election officials remain unsafe because of their jobs, according to a recent poll.

The recording, commissioned by the left-wing Brennan Center for Justice, found that one in three officials felt unsafe, while one in six people received work-related threats.

In a speech on suffrage, Attorney General Merrick Garland last week highlighted the growing threat to election administrators and workers and promised that the Department of Justice would prosecute any violations of federal law.

“We have not yet been blind to the dramatic increase in threatening and violent threats against all state and local election workers, ranging from top administrators to volunteer voters,” he said. “Such threats undermine our electoral process and violate a multitude of federal laws.”

Many of the polling officials blamed false information spread on social media for their problems – many making unfounded allegations of widespread vote-rigging. According to the study, 78% of officials said that social media “makes their work” more difficult “, while 54% believe that social media makes their work” more dangerous “.

GOVERNANCE – Dan President Donald Trump is watching the end of his speech during a rally to challenge the certification of the US presidential election results in 2020 by the US Congress in Washington, January 6, 2021.

Trump blames

Many officials have blamed former president Donald Trump for the inspiration for the threats by falsely claiming that the November election was directed against him in favor of his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.

However, analysts at the Brennan Center said the problem was “much deeper than one man”. They cite the recent efforts of dozens of government officials and lawmakers across the country to undermine election officials and workers by adopting new legislation and taking other steps to mitigate their influence.

Between January 1 and mid-May alone, at least 14 states enacted 22 new laws that would restrict access to the ballot and weaken the hand of state and local election officials and polls to protect the integrity of the polls, according to the Brennan Center. .

“This is no coincidence in 2021, as American democracy comes under attack, these officials are a major target,” the Brennan Center said in its report. “If we are going to protect American democracy, we must protect them. It is no exaggeration to say that the survival of our democracy depends on it. ”

Many Republicans said they passed legislation to bolster Americans’ confidence in the voting process and the accuracy of polls. They said they were also trying to strengthen the authority of partisan voters to ensure that ballot papers are handled properly.

L FER - In this file photo of 6 May 2021, the ballot papers of the province of Maricopa in the general election in 2020 are examined and told by ...
GOVERNANCE – Maricopa County ballot papers released during the 2020 general election are being investigated and told by contractors working for Florida-based company Cyber ​​Ninjas at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, May 6, 2021.

Narration of Arizona

Arizona Senate Republicans have ordered an unofficial audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County in search of evidence of fraud, prompting Republican officials in other states to pursue the process in the future .

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior lawyer at the Conservative Heritage Foundation, said the new laws that angered Democrats were actually meant to “correct the vulnerabilities that exist in our electoral system.”

‘They are not discriminatory, and unlike [Garland’s] misrepresentations, protect the fairness and integrity of the electoral process for all voters, “Spakovsky said in an email.

The Brennan Center survey is based on interviews with 233 election officials across the country. This was done from 1 to 7 April and has an error margin of plus or minus 6.4%.

The election in November had an unprecedented level of threats against election workers and officials. The threats became so serious that several officials were forced to move out of their homes for their own safety. Among them were top officials in Georgia, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who opposed Trump’s demand to hand over his state to the former president.

According to some experts, such threats are unlikely to go away any time soon. In May, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Arizona, a Democrat, reported that a man called her office and said she deserved to die and asked what she was wearing ‘so she’s easy to get along with. gain.’

“This was one of at least three such threats today,” Hobbs tweeted on May 6. “Then a man I had never seen before chased me and my staff outside our office.” The governor then instructed state troops to provide Hobbs with protection 24 hours a day.

FILE – Secretary of State Katie Hobbs talks about voter registration at Phoenix College on National Voter Registration Day in Phoenix, September 24, 2019.

Condemnation of threats, violence

The onslaught of threats has caused much concern in politics and government. In February, the National Association of Secretary of State (NASS) passed a resolution condemning ‘violence and threats of violence against election workers’ and calling on all leaders to expose these dangerous events. ‘

At the request of comments on the Brennan Center report, NASS VOA refers to the resolution.

The Brennan Center has called on the Department of Justice to set up a task force to prioritize the identification, investigation and prosecution of the impending election workers. The center also called on countries to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the threat of election officials.

“Because states across the country are passing laws that would restrict access to votes in the name of unfounded ‘concerns about electoral integrity’, they have ignored one of the most damaging threats to our democracy for decades: the harassment and intimidation of electoral workers,” the report.

A Justice Department spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the Brennan Center report and his proposal for an election threat team.

Sylvia Albert, director of elections and vote for Common Cause, a group of watchdogs in Washington, said the ongoing threats will make it harder to fill the slots before the 2022 midterm elections.

“And it is the American people who will suffer if elections cannot take place in a safe, free and fair manner with adequate staff,” Albert said.

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