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Report: CA Election Officials Quit in Droves After 2020 Contest

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Monday, June 14, 2021   

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California has lost about 15% of its election officials since the 2020 presidential contest, at least in part due to unprecedented levels of harassment and threats against them, according to a new report.

The study from the California Voter Foundation found many election officials endured death threats, other threats of violence and abusive comments.

Grace Gordon, the report's author and a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley Master of Development Practice program, said a lot of the vitriol is linked to false allegations of election fraud.

"Social media companies need to work with election officials to identify mis- and disinformation and then, take this false information off of their platforms immediately," Gordon argued.

The election in 2020 marked the first time an American president refused to accept defeat and has repeatedly targeted election officials with unfounded allegations of fraud.

Matthew Masterson with the Stanford Internet Observatory, agreed the last election produced unheard-of levels of hatred and harassment.

"The scope, scale and vile nature of the threats, of the comments in this election is unlike anything we've seen," Masterson contended.

About 75% of election officials are women, and the report found many of the insults have been misogynistic in nature.

Kim Alexander, founder and president of the California Voter Foundation, urged states to step in.

"We are at risk of losing an entire generation of institutional knowledge if we don't act quickly," Alexander cautioned. "To show the support and give the resources that election officials need to feel protected and do their jobs well."

The report warned a mass exodus of election officials will harm the nation's ability to hold free and fair elections, and undermine democracy. It advised states to fully fund local election boards, foster better communication between election officials and local journalists, and fund voter-education programs.


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