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Family farmers call for tougher CAFO regulations in Farm Bill; The Midwest and Northeast brace for record high temperature in heatwave; Financial-justice advocates criticize crypto regulation bill; Ohio advocates: New rules strengthen protections for sexual-assault victims.

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The RNC kicks off its election integrity effort, Democrats sound a warning bell about conservatives' Project 2025, and Republicans suggest funding cuts to jurisdictions with legal cases against Trump.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Report: AZ sees high levels of threats against election officials leading to turnover

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024   

A new report examines election official turnover since 2000 and found it's something that has been increasing steadily and might continue to rise.

Rachel Orey, senior associate director of the Elections Project with the Bipartisan Policy Center, is among several researchers who dove into the issue. They said their analysis draws on an original dataset of more than 18,000 local chief election officials across more than 6,000 jurisdictions in all 50 states.

Orey said local election officials around the nation have experienced intense levels of scrutiny and hostility, especially prevalent in certain states such as Arizona.

"We know that counties like Maricopa have been in the limelight, and it makes it challenging when these election officials are receiving a lot of public scrutiny. We had an official in Maricopa County last year come out publicly and say that he was experiencing PTSD," she explained.

According to the report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation received more than 1,000 tips about threats to election workers since June of 2021, 11% of which warranted the FBI opening an investigation. The agency deemed Arizona as one of the states with "an unusual level of threats to election workers."

But Orey said turnover is being seen nationwide. While the report states it "discourages" legislators from making statutory changes in an election year, they can still help ensure officials have adequate resources and funding to do their jobs.

Despite the high turnover rates, Orey said there is no cause for concern when it comes to the integrity of elections, including the likely high-stakes rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Orey said their research shows 65% of local election officials have experience administering a presidential election.

"Where there are new officials, we find that they have an average of eight years of experience in an election office. Typically that looks something like a deputy clerk position where they're supporting that chief election official. "

The report recommends investing in training and mentorship, evaluating training programs as well as calls for developing comprehensive systems for capturing institutional knowledge to not only mitigate the immediate impacts of turnover, but promote a more resilient election official workforce over time.


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