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Public Citizen Releases Protecting Elections Bill Tracker

More Than Half of U.S. Statehouses Have Moved to Protect Officials and Election Workers Since 2022

Washington, D.C. – Today, Public Citizen published a new tracker to monitor the progress of election protection legislation at the state level. The tracker reveals that more than half of U.S. states have introduced (15 states) or passed (15 states) legislation to protect officials and election workers since January 2022 — many with bipartisan backing. And even more states plan to introduce legislation on the topic in 2024. The tracker also shows states that already have laws on the books to protect election officials.

“Since the 2020 election, law-abiding election workers have been under siege. They are the essential workers of our democracy. And they deserve our utmost respect and support,” said Aquene Freechild, Co-Director of Public Citizen’s Democracy Campaign. “It’s good news that statehouses are passing reforms to protect them as another presidential election looms, but we need more states to act.”

“State legislatures are moving to penalize the intimidation, harassment, and other forms of election interference that have been a direct result of the words and actions of Trump and his allies. Their false claims denying election results have created an urgency to protect our elections,” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Co-Director of Public Citizen’s Democracy Campaign. “We expect to see many more states take action as the 2024 election approaches, and encourage everyday Americans to speak out and get involved in the effort to pass this legislation.”

The bills tracked include a range of protections, from criminalizing the intimidation, harassment, and doxxing of election officials to enhancing the security of voting systems.

One in three election officials surveyed in 2022 knew someone who left their job running elections because they didn’t feel safe, and one in five election officials plan to leave their jobs before 2024, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Ongoing attacks against local election officials have hindered already underfunded election offices and jeopardized their ability to administer future elections.

Election officials across the country have been leaving their positions in alarming numbers: In Arizona, 12 of the state’s 15 county election chiefs have departed, and in Pennsylvania, nearly 70 county election directors or assistant directors in at least 40 of the state’s 67 counties have left their jobs.

While battleground states have seen intense threats and harassment resulting in the exodus of election officials, the problem is nationwide. More than half of counties in “red” Utah and “blue” New Mexico lost their chief election officials after 2020, according to an Issue One report.

Visit the Protecting Election Officials State Legislative tracker here.