Election officials in key battleground states say they’re prepared for threats to poll workers ahead of 2024 elections

May 26, 2024
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A bipartisan panel of four secretaries of state from key battleground states on Thursday told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that they’re prepared to execute a safe and secure presidential election, despite previous threats to election workers.

“Should any of that ugliness that we all experienced in 2020 return,” Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt said, a new election threat task force is prepared to respond quickly.

Asked whether enough people have volunteered to be election workers in Georgia, where two 2020 poll workers were harassed and threatened for months after conspiracy theorists accused them of tampering with ballots, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told moderator Kristen Welker, “We’re actually in pretty good shape. The counties have done a great job of recruitment.”

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson added that she’s more focused this year on how to protect election workers, telling Welker: “We have to also protect the people who protect democracy. And that’s a lot of what we’re working to do to prepare for this year.”

Asked if they’ve personally been threatened since the 2020 presidential election, each secretary of state said they had been.

“It impacted all of us,” Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said, adding: “One of the ways that I have been looking at this and addressing this is telling the really hard truth. And that is this: Threats against elections officials in the United States of America is domestic terrorism.”

Schmidt agreed, telling Welker, “The point of these threats is really to terrorize and is to intimidate and to try to keep any of us and our election officials at the county level and at the precinct level from doing or not doing something that is their responsibility, which is such a core foundation of our system of government.”

The secretaries, each of whom serves in a state where the Trump campaign took legal action to challenge the election results in 2020, also said they’re prepared to tackle any misinformation that spreads during voting.

“This is the problem that is bigger than any other problem, the mis-, dis- and malinformation,” Fontes said.

“There are checks and balances all the way through the system to the end,” he added.

In Georgia, Raffensperger said, election officials are now allowed to prescan and preprocess mail-in ballots, which will allow the results from those ballots to be released to the public more quickly than in 2020.

“The results are going to be a lot quicker,” he told Welker.

But with all of these changes, Schmidt said, it’s important to inform voters about the new processes that might affect how they vote, when they can vote, and how quickly ballots are counted.

Elections have “changed a lot,” Schmidt said, adding: “It’s no wonder people have questions. And it’s all of our responsibility to answer those — those questions, provided those people are asking questions that they actually want to know the truth about elections. When you know more about elections, you have more confidence in them.”

Benson echoed Schmidt, emphasizing the importance of transparency.

“We welcome people to ask us questions. We welcome people to serve as election workers themselves so they can see up close just how secure our elections are and how many layers of security we have to ensure that only valid citizens are voting and that we count every valid and only count valid votes,” she said.



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