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Veterans targeted by election groups for 2024

Voting tags at St. Augustine College are on display as Chicago voters hit the polls on April 2, 2019. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune/TNS)
August 23, 2023

America’s military veterans are being encouraged to volunteer as poll workers in the 2024 presidential election due to a major shortage of election workers since the 2020 election.

In the aftermath of the contentious 2020 presidential election, thousands of U.S. poll workers received threats, leading to a mass exodus of poll workers.

Tina Barton, senior expert for The Elections Group and the former city clerk of Rochester Hills, Michigan, received a voicemail following the 2020 election, which threatened, “Ten million plus patriots will surround you when you least expect it… and we’ll f-cking kill you.”

“I had my life threatened… they threatened me, my family, said they were going to kill me in public,” Barton said, according to Military Times. “I’m one of thousands of elections officials who turned in threats.”

Barton’s case is one of many overseen by the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force, which was formed in 2021 in response to the surge in threats to election workers.

Remarkably, in its first year, the task force evaluated 1,000 such threats, with 11% rising to the level of federal criminal investigations. The high volume of threats against U.S. poll workers resulted in thousands of resignations in the aftermath of the controversial 2020 election.

During a recent press conference, Barton, who now works as a senior expert for The Elections Group, expressed the gravity of the situation, highlighting the mass resignation of election officials after the 2020 election.

As National Poll Worker Recruitment Day approaches, Barton is championing a fresh solution by calling upon military veterans to fill poll worker roles.

“I see a huge benefit in having veterans working at polling locations,” Barton said. “They’re… vigilant. They’re looking at all times for any problems that might occur. To me, having them as part of that adds another layer of security in the precincts.”

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Barton’s advocacy for military workers engaging in poll worker roles extends beyond words. The Elections Group has allied with the nonprofit We the Veterans, which made impressive strides in recruiting 63,500 veterans and their families to operate the polls during the 2022 midterms.

With eyes set on 2024, Ellen Gustafson, co-founder of We the Veterans, envisions veterans’ involvement in elections becoming commonplace.

“Our goal is not necessarily numerical, it’s to make it a new norm,” Gustafson remarked.

Addressing controversial concerns, Gustafson clarified that We the Veterans is recruiting poll workers and not “poll watchers.”

We the Veterans is attempting to mold veterans and military families into genuine poll workers, who, being paid by local jurisdictions, will manage voting apparatus, assist voters, and maintain ballot security, according to Military Times.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.