Election officials are growing concerned about a new danger in November: that groups looking to undermine election results will try to install their supporters as poll workers.
The frontline election workers do everything from checking people in at voting locations to helping process mail ballots — in other words, they are the face of American elections for most voters. And now, some prominent incidents involving poll workers have worried election officials that a bigger wave of trouble could be on the horizon.
Michigan, in particular, has been a hotspot: a far-right candidate for governor, who lost the GOP primary, encouraged poll workers to unplug election equipment if they believed something was wrong. A Michigan county GOP organization encouraged poll workers to ignore rules barring cell phones in polling places and vote-counting centers.
And just last week, the clerk of Kent County, Mich., announced that a witness allegedly saw a poll worker inserting a USB drive into an electronic poll book — the list of registered voters that shows who has cast ballots — during the August primary, leading to a pair of felony charges. The Kent County Clerk’s office declined to comment beyond a statement issued by Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons last week, stressing that the “incident had no impact on the election,” and that that specific poll book would no longer be used in future elections. [Continue reading…]