Threats, intimidation, and attempts to sow chaos are driving nonpartisan election administrators from their jobs in droves, weakening the front lines of democracy at a time when election deniers inspired by Donald Trump's lies are imperiling Americans' most basic right: free and fair elections.
Experts worry that the rapid loss of top county election officials drains the system of experience and institutional knowledge at the very moment election deniers are looking to seize on any mistake, small as it might be, to erode the public’s faith in elections.
Georgia arguably has been the eye of the political storm in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. Nowhere is there a greater need for experienced local election officials, but that corps has been severely depleted in a state that may prove to be pivotal again in November’s midterm elections.
The 2020 presidential contest ushered in a new elections crisis, fueled by supporters of former president Donald Trump who spread conspiracy theories about the integrity of voting systems and bogus claims of fraud. What's received less attention is the strain now being heaped on a decentralized system that already was stretched thin.
Turnover among top county election workers has jumped dramatically in key battleground states, according to a Boston Globe analysis of election official turnover data. The Globe collected data from those states and others as well as analyzed a database of election workers maintained by the nonprofit US Vote Foundation.
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