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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Turnover in MA election officials as presidential election nears

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Thursday, April 18, 2024   

Heightened scrutiny and harassment are helping fuel an increasing turnover rate of election officials in Massachusetts and beyond, according to a new report.

More than a third of all Massachusetts municipalities have had a change in their chief election official or town clerk since 2020.

Rachel Orey, senior associate director of the elections project at the Bipartisan Policy Institute, said the job has grown more complex.

"Today," said Orey, "election officials must manage everything from cybersecurity risks posed by foreign adversaries, to public communications of people who are doubting the outcome of elections, to information technology, to legal disputes."

While Massachusetts has experienced lower turnover rates than other states, Orey said rates are highest in larger, urban jurisdictions, which have been the focus of unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

The Justice Department says it has opened more than a hundred investigations involving threats to election workers, since the creation of a special task force in 2021.

Many threats stem from the belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Orey said the stresses of the job are impacting long-time workers dedicated to free and fair elections.

"That's where state and federal legislators can really step in," said Orey, "to provide adequate resources, competitive compensation levels, and safety protections for election officials."

Still, Orey said despite increasing turnover rates, the people filling these roles bring an average of eight years experience to the job.

They noted the resilience and dedication of election officials who stick with the job, despite the increasing pressures they face.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.






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