1 in 5 Election Officials Say They’ll Likely Leave Their Jobs in a New Survey

The data indicates that Donald Trump’s attacks on the election system are taking their toll.

Brynn Anderson/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

As Donald Trump and his associates scrambled to overturn the 2020 election, they accused ordinary election workers throughout the United States of engaging in an unprecedented conspiracy to hand the presidency to Joe Biden. For many election administrators, workers, and officials, life became nightmarish. Pro-Trump media outlets (and in some cases Trump lawyers) doxxed them for doing their jobs, leading Trump supporters to inundate them and their family members with death and rape threats. Conspiracy theorists online called for their execution. One Georgia election worker told NPR that two strangers had attempted to force their way into her grandmother’s house—where she used to live—and make a “citizen’s arrest.

A new survey released by the Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal-leaning nonprofit that supports voting rights, suggests that the toxic environment has persisted past Biden’s inauguration and that it’s taking a toll.

One in five election workers reported that they’re “very” or “somewhat” unlikely to stay in their positions before 2024, citing politicians’ attacks on the election administration system as one of the key reasons why. In addition, the number of local election officials worried about interference by political leaders has increased threefold since before the 2020 election. 

The survey, which included data from 596 interviews with election workers throughout the country and across the political spectrum, indicated that more than half of the threats to election workers weren’t reported to law enforcement. One in six workers said that they had personally experienced threats, and nearly 8 in 10 of them said that threats against them were on the rise. However, few of the perpetrators have faced any consequences for their actions. 

Last year, the Department of Justice formed a new task force to investigate threats against election workers. The task force made its first arrest in January 2022 after a man posted on Craigslist calling for “Georgia Patriots” to assassinate several election officials. 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate