Kathryn Carley, Producer
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Lawmakers in New Hampshire are considering legislation to better protect election workers from harassment and intimidation.
The Justice Department reports a significant increase in the threat of violence against these workers after former President Donald Trump and his allies began spreading false claims about voter fraud.
Rep. Ellen Read, D-Rockingham, said the bill aims to clarify laws for election workers already on the books.
“We want them to know that we have their backs – that they feel safe and supported in those roles as they go about very important official duties,” Read said.
Read added the bill would make it illegal to post election workers’ personal information online with the intent to threaten them. Current law only considers these threats to election workers when they are at their polling location.
Election workers do it all, and this year’s primary could be even more challenging because of the number of write-in votes expected for President Joe Biden as well as a new voter I.D. law for first-time voters. In addition, some towns will be using new ballot tabulation machines and others will be relying on election workers with little previous experience.
Read argued the state should do all it can to boost election staffing.
“The more we fund it, the more transparent and assured of correct results we are. It’s expensive and worth every penny,” she continued.
At least 15 states have passed legislation to better protect election officials since January 2022, usually with bipartisan backing. Read said her bill is also nonpartisan and would help ensure New Hampshire elections continue to be free and fair.