In June, former Georgia election worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss testified to the January 6th Select Committee about how her and her family were the target of violent threats after former President Trump falsely claimed she committed election fraud.
After receiving threats, Moss had to go into hiding and change her appearance, eventually deciding to leave her job as an election worker. Unfortunately, Moss is not alone.
After polls closed in New Mexico’s primary in June, a worker returning election materials and ballots to the clerk’s office in Santa Fe was followed closely by a partisan election worker. Sante Fe County Clerk Katherine Clark said that this poll worker was so horrified by this event that she is unlikely to return to work for the November election.
Threats to Election Workers Have Become Common and Dangerous
This is becoming a common problem in our country. Over the past year, the Justice Department has reviewed over 1,000 hostile threats against election workers. Nobody deserves to be threatened for helping Americans vote.
Election workers have no political agenda. They are members of our communities striving to give a voice to all through voting. The Bible tells us that we must treat members of our community with kindness and empathy.
Despite this, many election workers and high profile election officials have received threats. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger experienced death threats against him and his family for upholding Georgia’s 2020 presidential election outcome.
In a recent hearing for the Senate Judiciary Committee, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver testified that many people do not want to be election workers anymore and that she fears some states will not have enough people needed to work the polls for fair and free elections in the near future.
Fear of Threats Have Prompted Election Workers to Resign
Election workers nationwide have received death threats and constant harassment, simply for helping democracy run smoothly. Election workers across the country have left their jobs due to threats, making recruiting poll workers extremely difficult.
“I’m a Republican recorder living in a Republican county where the candidate that they wanted to win won by 2-to-1 in this county and still getting grief, and so is my staff,” said Leslie Hoffman, the top election official in Yavapai County, Arizona.
Hoffman resigned from her job as an election official, saying that she was motivated by “the nastiness that we have dealt with.”
The Brennan Center for Justice as NYU’s School of Law conducted a survey earlier this year finding that one in three election officials knew someone who had resigned due to threats and intimidation. One in six election workers had personally experienced threats.
Our faith tells us to treat our fellow Americans with compassion and respect. As Christians, we have a duty to support our neighbors who choose to be election workers and uphold our democracy.