What it comes down to is making voting accessible to those who are eligible to vote. That's why we keep showing up day after day. — Maribeth Witzel-Behl
What it comes down to is making voting accessible to those who are eligible to vote. That's why we keep showing up day after day. — Maribeth Witzel-Behl
Personal threats, election lies and punishing new laws rattle election officials, raising fears of a mass exodus
"Everything I've heard from state officials and from locals is how unbelievably stressful it is, that they just can't take it anymore," said Paul Gronke, who teaches political science at Reed and founded the voting information center.

"We're in danger of losing a generation's worth of professional election expertise," added David Becker, who runs the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation and Research that works with election administrators. "That would be bad enough if it weren't also combined with the fact that they might be replaced with partisan hackery."


In several key presidential battlegrounds, Republicans who share some of former President Donald Trump's views about election fraud now are running to oversee elections in their states. They include Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, who was one of 147 congressional Republicans who voted against certifying President Joe Biden's win even after a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol. He's hoping to oust Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the Republican primary.

Raffensperger resisted Trump's efforts to "find votes" to overturn Biden's victory in Georgia.

Election officials still reeling from the threats and attempts at intimidation during the 2020 election also face new penalties and curbs on their authority under laws advanced by Republican-controlled state legislatures this year.

... Other new laws ban private donations for election management.


... The ugliness also took a personal toll on Seth Bluestein, chief deputy commissioner to Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt. Bluestein helped supervise the counting of mail ballots in Philadelphia last November.

In that role, he had become a target of threats and anti-Semitic messages, following disputes over how close partisan poll watchers could get to the city's election workers to observe the ballot-counting.

"You will be hung in a court of law. You will not escape this treason," one female caller said in a voicemail message at the time that Bluestein recently shared with CNN. On Facebook, another person warned that "everyone with a gun is going to be at your house."

He ended up with a security detail outside his home for just over a week during the height of the vote-counting. His 3-year-old daughter seemed to pick up on the extra stress and began to have nightmares, he said.

"You never expect to deal with the kinds of things we dealt with in 2020," said Bluestein, 32. "My biggest concern now is the damage this is doing to our institutions and our democratic system."

"The easiest thing anyone could do to restore confidence in our elections," he said, "is to simply stop lying about the election being stolen because it's not true."

... "What it comes down to is making voting accessible to those who are eligible to vote. That's why we keep showing up day after day."
Read the full article: https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/21/politics/election-officials-exodus/index.html