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Massive turnover in local election officials likely before 2024, says new survey 

A new survey suggests that more than 1 in 5 local election officials will have never worked a presidential election next year.
Voters cast their vote as early voting begins on March 20, 2023, for Chicago's runoff election.
Voters cast their ballots as early voting begins March 20 in Chicago's runoff election.Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune via Getty Images file

A new survey from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law predicts huge turnover in local election officials before the 2024 election.

According to the survey, 12% of local officials began working in their roles after the 2020 election and 11% said they were very or somewhat likely to quit before next year’s election. A small number fell into both categories: new employees who suggested they will leave.

Such turnover — about 1 in 5 of all election workers — is significant, the Brennan Center said, and equivalent to one to two election officials’ leaving office every day since the 2020 election.

Harassment and threats may be driving some of the departures.

Thirty percent of respondents said they’d been personally harassed, abused or threatened, while 22% said they personally knew of election officials who had left their jobs “at least in part because of fear for their safety, increased threats, or intimidation.” (Just 4% of respondents said they knew “many” election officials who were quitting for that reason; the rest said they knew “one or two.”)

A whopping 73% of respondents said they felt threats against election workers had increased in recent years.

NBC News has reported on the threats and harassment election workers faced in the wake of the 2020 election and continue to receive. Baseless voter fraud claims drove four people in Buckingham County, Virginia, to quit their jobs this year, and experts warned that losing expertise and election workers may hurt the management of future elections.

Benenson Strategy Group conducted the online survey from March 2 to April 3, interviewing 852 from a list of more than 10,000 local election officials provided by the Brennan Center. The margin of error for the dataset was reported as plus or minus 3.22 percentage points.