New Group Aims to Bolster Safety for Election Officials, Voters

A group of 32 current and former election and law enforcement officials are part of a new initiative to provide expert training and guidance to prevent and respond to intimidation, threats, and violence against election officials and voters.

The Committee for Safe and Secure Elections is a group of cross-partisan experts in election administration and law enforcement who aim to protect elections, election administrators, and voters by building stronger relationships between election officials and law enforcement. The Committee also shares resources and best practices and develops solutions to curb intimidation and violence threats.

According to a Committee release:

“In recent years, election officials and their families have been the targets of a surge in threats and violence. I know firsthand what a surreal and scary experience it is to wake up one day and have local law enforcement contact you because people are angry that you did your job and simply counted votes,” said Neal Kelley, chair of the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections and the former registrar of voters in Orange County, Calif., who also served as a police officer in ​​the city of San Bernardino, Calif. “

As a country, we must protect election officials to keep our elections secure and fair. Particularly with the midterms approaching, law enforcement and election officials must work together to keep this new threat from interfering in our elections.”

Maryland law protects local elected officials who perform their duties – making it a crime for residents to threaten, intimidate, or otherwise impede their public responsibilities. However, unlike some states, Maryland does not extend these protections to other non-elected officials who perform administrative or oversight roles but may suffer the same potentially dangerous feedback from angry residents.

During the 2022 legislative session, a MACo Legislative Initiative sought to criminalize threats and harassment impeding the work of certain public officials, including election administrators and health officers. The Maryland Senate passed an amended version of the bill (which did not include election administrators), but the legislation ultimately failed to pass the Maryland House of Delegates.

Visit the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections website for more information.

Useful Links

Conduit Street: Voting in the 2022 Primary Election? Here’s What You Need to Know

Conduit Street: 2022 End of Session Wrap-Up: Liability and Courts

Conduit Street: MACo Initiative to Protect Public Officials Presses Forward