Getting spit on.
Threatening phone calls.
Those aren’t the expectations election workers have when they show up to work the polls on Election Day, but they have become a regular occurrence amid continued fallout from the 2020 election.
Most of these measures deal with concealing identifying information of election workers and creating new criminal penalties for harassing them.
For example, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee in late March signed a bill into law that makes it a felony to harass election workers online. The new law also allows election workers and their families to hide their address if they are targets of threats.
Those who support the laws also argue that the new protections would help strengthen the democratic process.
Maine state Rep. Bruce White, a sponsor of the legislation in the Pine Tree State who also volunteers as a poll worker, told Kelly that the atmosphere at polling places in recent years “does seem a little tense and uncomfortable at times.” White hopes his legislation, which awaits Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ signature, will bring an added sense of relief to election workers.
“Some people say a law isn’t going to prevent somebody from doing this. I don’t agree with that. I think when people know that there’s penalties, they will take a step back and say, you know, the consequences are different than if you’re just getting a small fine,” White said.
Many of the laws will be in effect by the November general election, when many people will be voting in person with control of Congress on the line.
Banning guns at polling places
It’s not just election workers who state lawmakers are looking to protect. They also want to keep polling locations safe.
“I never thought it would come to this. I thought my days wearing body armor were over when I left the Marine Corps. The strangest part and the hardest thing is not only not knowing if I’ll come home to my family at night but when I give my kids a hug and a kiss and they ask why I’m wearing it,” Zygielbaum said.
You should read
- A look at how election deniers who continue to push falsehoods about the 2020 election have created a toxic political environment for local government in Green Bay, Wisconsin, from Politico.
- This piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that spotlights how redistricting and new voting laws have scrambled preparations for the upcoming primary elections in one large Atlanta-area county.
- This CNN exclusive story about Donald Trump Jr. texting then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows ideas for overturning the 2020 election before it was called.