Election officials across the U.S. are confident they can overcome foreign and domestic hacking threats to run a secure election this November. They’re far less sanguine that Americans will believe them.
And they’re terrified of the backlash from those who don’t accept the results.
“I’m scared to death” about the level of voter distrust heading into 2024, said Mark Earley, the supervisor of elections in Leon County, Florida, which includes the capital of Tallahassee.
Earley’s comments were echoed by dozens of others among a crowd of nearly 100 local election workers who gathered in Crystal City, Virginia, last week for an annual confab hosted by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
The depth of anxiety aired at the conference offers a small but alarming window into the challenges facing frontline election workers less than 10 months before Americans will head to the polls to choose their next commander in chief.
The November poll is expected to be beset by intense partisan scrutiny, insider threats and a deluge of AI-powered disinformation — making it a potential test of the strength of the American democratic system itself. And local election officials will be the ones charged with making the initial calls on what information voters can trust. [Continue reading…]