New report shows wave of election officials leaving positions in Arizona, nationwide

The report from Issue One shows that about 55% of chief election officials nationwide are new to the job since the 2020 Presidential election.
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 7:11 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A growing number of local election officials in Arizona and across the country have chosen to retire or quit their jobs because of threats, harassment and unwanted stress. A new report from the cross-partisan political reform group Issue One estimates that about 40% of the chief election officials in the Western United States have been new to the job since the 2020 presidential election. The numbers are even higher in Arizona. Eighty percent of Arizona counties have at least one new chief election official.

“These are not career politicians who are seeking the limelight,” said Michael Beckel with Issue One. “These are folks who want to help every Arizonan have a voice heard in our elections. Unfortunately, many of them have become targets.”

Some former election officials say it’s just not worth putting their families at risk. Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes is not surprised by the Issue One report, saying all the bogus allegations of election fraud, campaign lies and attacks on public servants are taking a toll on our democracy and election system.

With so many experienced election administrators walking away, less experienced people are taking their place and Fontes worries that could lead to more mistakes on Election Day. “The problem we have is we are in an environment now where a human error, which is pretty easily explained, like this happened when it did and we are good to go,” said Fontes. “Now, it turns into a great conspiracy and these foreign actors are involved. It’s all nonsense when it could be a little inexperience of an issue that we can fix easily.”

Fontes is now urging state and federal lawmakers to provide more funding for elections to better protect workers who want to serve the public and establish a stronger infrastructure for a secure election system. “I’ve been on Capitol Hill lobbying for sustained funding for federal elections,” said Fontes. “We don’t get any federal money for all these federal elections. They should be helping.” The entire Issue One report can be found here.

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