PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As Election Day nears, law enforcement is keeping security concerns and threats to election workers on their radar in the Pacific Northwest and around the nation.
A recent national survey from the Elections and Voting Information Center at Reed College found concerns about personal safety. The survey of nearly 1,000 election workers across the US found almost two-thirds of local election offices in large cities were threatened with violence after the 2020 election.
According to the survey, concerns about health and personal safety are pushing more election workers to retire or leave.
Leading up to Election Day on Nov. 8, law enforcement is meeting with election officials on a regular basis to monitor and make plans for any election-related violence and threats.
KOIN 6 News talked with Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, who is in charge of state elections, about security measures in the state.
“We have a whole team from FBI to local law enforcement that we work very closely with monitoring any threats. At this point, we’re not aware of any active threats, but we don’t wait until they become active, we’re having our law enforcement and law partners constantly monitor because of what’s happening across the country.
Fagan also mentioned the Election Worker Protection bill passed by the legislature earlier in 2022. The legislation allows election workers to keep their home addresses private and raised the penalties for harassing election workers.
Aside from scrutiny of election workers by some disgruntled voters, there’s also an unprecedented number of public records requests.
“It’s worrying,” said Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey. “Almost two years of criticism, skepticism, personal attacks by citizens on election workers, it takes a toll on those people.”
Kimsey says voters are being nicer now when they call, but personal security — not just ballot security — is a focus in the final days before the election.