Election offices in at least nine states have reported a slew of departures and early resignations due to an increasing level of misinformation about voter fraud and threats against poll workers. The resignations are causing concerns ahead of the midterm elections in November as officials fear a major loss of institutional knowledge and necessary experience to administer elections.
“Election administration has grown increasingly complex over the past few decades, and election officials are perpetually trying to balance technology with accuracy and reliability and have an accurate voter registration list and make it as easy as possible for eligible voters to cast a ballot that’s accurately counted,” Elizabeth Howard, a senior counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told ABC News.
Polling places have reported a gradual exodus of election workers after former President Donald Trump promoted claims of extensive voter fraud as the reason he lost to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. However, election offices nationwide have seen a new wave of resignations during the most recent midterm cycle.
Election offices in Texas have seen a 30% turnover rate among county officials over the last two years due to threats of violence, according to the outlet. Other states, such as Colorado and Florida, have reported similar numbers.
A former election worker in Georgia appeared before the Jan. 6 committee hearing earlier this summer to testify about threats she received after the 2020 election that ultimately led to her resignation.
“There were horrible threats wishing death upon me, telling me I’ll be in jail with my mother and to be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920,” said Wandrea Moss, who is black. “A lot of them were racist. A lot of them were hateful.”
One in 6 election officials has reported experiencing threats because of the job, and 77% say those threats have increased in recent years, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. As of March, 20% said they planned to leave their position before the 2024 presidential election, with roughly one-third noting their decision was because of political leaders who have attacked the system.