The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol may be in the rearview mirror and hundreds of participants charged with crimes — but for many election officials, the nightmare is far from over, NPR reported on Tuesday.
"The conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from former President Donald Trump has upended almost all aspects of election administration: Local officials who a decade ago would have gone about their bureaucratic business in relative anonymity are facing threats and intense pressure, and a large chunk of American voters have no confidence the system is fair," reported NPR's Miles Parks.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the situation was a "very unfortunate new normal."
One recent poll suggests that one third of Americans still believe former President Donald Trump's "Big Lie" that the presidential election was stolen from him — and a number of them are angry enough to still be targeting election officials.
"Elections are run in the U.S. at the state and local levels, so the top voting officials across the country are usually secretaries of state. They met this weekend in Des Moines for their first in-person gathering since January 2020," said the report. "At this weekend's conference the issue came to the fore almost immediately, when word spread among the secretaries Friday that someone from a far-right conspiracy outlet was said to be in attendance at the conference, according to a state official who spoke to NPR on background about the issue."
This comes as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a top election conspiracy theorist who is being sued by a voting equipment company, hosted a multi-day "cyber symposium" purporting to reveal his evidence of fraud, even though it does no such thing.
According to Kim Wyman, the Republican secretary of state of Washington, one of the real dangers is that the threats and conspiracy theories will demoralize some election workers out of the profession altogether: "We haven't decompressed from 2020, we're still every day living it. It takes a toll. It's exhausting... Emotionally, physically, mentally exhausting."
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