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Hickenlooper, Bennet Introduce Legislation to Address Rising Threats Against Election Workers

Sep 28, 2022

Bill is endorsed by Colorado’s Secretary of State, and current and former election officials from both parties

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined their colleagues to introduce comprehensive legislation to address the rising threats against election workers. The Election Worker Protection Act would provide states with the resources to recruit and train election workers and ensure their safety, while also instituting federal safeguards to shield election workers from intimidation and threats. The bill includes provisions developed with close input from state and local election officials.

“Election workers upheld our democracy, despite intimidation and threats. They are often all that stands between free elections and attempts to subvert them. They must be protected,” said Hickenlooper.

“Election workers deserve our respect for everything they do for our democracy. But in the past two years, they’ve faced an unprecedented rise in threats,” said Bennet. “This legislation expands resources for states to protect election workers, and, for the first time, makes efforts to threaten or intimidate election workers a federal crime.”

The Election Worker Protection Act has received the support of a bipartisan group of current and former election officials, including former Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, who testified before the Rules Committee last year about the threats he and his family received.

A group of 15 Secretaries of State, including Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, joined a letter supporting the Election Worker Protection Act and calling on Congress to take action to protect election workers.

Additional action is needed at the federal level to ensure that all election workers have the necessary support and protection to do their jobs. The Election Worker Protection Act makes clear that these attacks on election workers will not be tolerated,” wrote the Griswold and Secretaries. “We know what tools are needed to protect election workers, and we look forward to working with Congress to advance this legislation.”

The Election Worker Protection Act would:

  • Establish grants to states and certain local government for poll worker recruitment, training, and retention, as well as grants for election worker safety;
  • Direct the Department of Justice to provide training resources regarding the identification and investigation of threats to election workers;
  • Provide grants to states to support programs protecting election workers’ personally identifiable information;
  • Establish threatening, intimidating, or coercing election workers as a federal crime;
  • Expand the prohibition on voter intimidation in current law to apply to the counting of ballots, canvassing, and certification of elections;
  • Extend the federal prohibition on doxxing to include election workers; and
  • Protect the authority of election officials to remove poll observers who are interfering with or attempting to disrupt the administration of an election.

Along with Hickenlooper and Bennet, the Election Worker Protection Act is cosponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Angus King (I-Maine), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-V.t.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).

The legislation is endorsed by Protect Democracy, End Citizens United & Let America Vote Action Fund, Democracy21, Issue One, Voices for Progress, Transparency International U.S., NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, and 20/20 Vision DC.


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