Former President Donald Trump has spent the last year-plus leaning on election officials in swing states across the country to change votes and publicly castigating them when they refuse.
It’s having an impact. A big one.
This, from CNN’s Fredreka Schouten, gets to that point: “About 1 in 5 local election officials included in a new survey say they are likely to leave their jobs before the 2024 presidential election, with a third of that group citing false political attacks on the election system as the top reason for their departure.”
And there’s this from a memo on the survey results: “Nearly three times as many local election officials are very worried about interference by political leaders in how they and fellow local election officials do their jobs going forward as they say they were before 2020.”
And this: “1 in 6 local election officials have experienced threats, and more than half of these cases have not been reported to law enforcement.”
(Worth noting: The poll of election officials was conducted by the Democratic-aligned Benenson Strategy Group for the liberal-leaning Brennan Center.)
That’s stunning stuff. And it speaks to the climate of fear and intimidation that Trump and his minions have created among the people whose are tasked with ensuring free and fair elections.
It’s also proof that Trump has not only poisoned the minds of many Americans about the last election, but that he’s also played a major role in making the next presidential election less safe and secure.
Consider what the poll is telling us. If 1 in 5 local election officials leave their jobs before the next presidential election, who will replace them? In some cases, no one — which is bad. In other cases, it could be people aligned with Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election — looking to “right” a “wrong” in 2024.
We’ve already seen Trump endorse a slew of candidates for posts like secretary of state. That includes Georgia, where he made a phone call in early 2021 pressuring current Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the election results. The former President is backing Rep. Jody Hice, who is challenging Raffensperger in the GOP primary.
The Point: Targets like Raffensperger may well be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact Trump is having on how the 2024 election will be conducted. A mass exodus of local election officials could badly hamper the quest for a free and fair contest.