Some candidates nationwide have indicated they will not necessarily accept the results of the 2022 midterm races, and election officials are dealing with harassment. Between 1000-1500 threats have been reported to the Department of Justice in the last year.
“All of this has been a political manipulation,” says Mindy Romero, founder and director of the Center for Inclusive Democracy at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. “It started in 2016 in earnest … we saw the president of the United States at the time, and many others since, who’ve really used this for political gain.”
Romero also points to increased political polarization as a cause — seeing people of the other political party as “really just absolutely counter to who we are, and potentially evil.”
There are also changes to how we cast ballots, such as voting by mail more regularly, and using electronic voting machines. Change is hard, says Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation. But when it comes to election equipment, California has the strongest certification requirements of any state, she notes.
“The equipment has to go through extensive hardware tests, software tests … red team tests to check for any kind of malicious software in the code,” says Alexander. “And we don’t allow any voting equipment to be connected to the internet.”
Alexander adds that California requires paper ballots, which also provide greater security.
And some jurisdictions have allowed greater access to the process by allowing in-person viewing of election workers or live video streams.
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On Election Day, there are reasons to be hopeful, though. Alexander points to a recent poll from NPR/Marist that shows three-quarters of Americans have confidence in their local and state governments to conduct fair elections.
“There are people who are making outrageous claims that are not appearing to suffer any punishment for it, which is disappointing because it's irresponsible,” Alexander says. “But a lot of people aren't buying it and they are trusting the people who they know who run their elections. These are your neighbors, the people you see at the supermarket. … There is still strong public support for election administration.” (Full Story)