PHOENIX (AP) – Election officials told a congressional committee on Tuesday that they had received blatant threats to their security since the 2020 election and warned that pressure on election workers was a threat to democracy.
Experienced election administrators are increasingly leaving the field as they face unsubstantiated accusations of tampering with election results, a bipartisan group of state election officials told the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.
“It’s no longer worth it for these low-paying jobs, combined with the level of threat they are facing right now,” said Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat candidate for the election. governor post.
Hobbs has at times been provided with 24-hour security due to threats from supporters of former President Donald Trump who falsely claim his loss in Arizona was marred by fraud. She described threatening phone calls to her office and said critics tried to get her husband to fire from his job.
“Let’s be clear, this is domestic terrorism,” said Al Schmidt, Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia and member of the Election Council. “The aim is to terrorize, intimidate and coerce.”
The threatening phone calls ceased after President Joe Biden was sworn in, but have since increased since Trump supporters pushed the legislature to review the 2020 vote count, he said.
Cyber security and election administration experts in the Trump administration have said the 2020 election is secure and no evidence of widespread fraud has been found. But Trump and an army of his supporters have aggressively promoted the false narrative that the election was stolen from him and pushed for audits by people who share their views.
Most notably, a Republican-led post-election review of the Arizona Senate confirmed Biden’s victory in Maricopa County, but spread malpractice lies that ignored basic facts about how the election was conducted. .
Michael Adams, the Republican Secretary of State for Kentucky, said he had been verbally abused by Democrats accusing him of promoting vote suppression.
An exodus of experienced election workers would have ripple effects that would undermine the ability to effectively conduct trustworthy elections, experts said.
“This could mean longer wait times, the closure of polling stations, an increase in voter intimidation and harassment in elections and a widespread loss of confidence in the election,” said Wade Henderson, chairman. and Interim CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.