Election integrity is alive and well, despite what Republican politicians, pundits, media personalities, and strategists may tell you. Legal challenge after legal challenge since the 2020 election have clearly shown that American elections are secure, regardless of the method of voting. Nevertheless, the right wing persists in their claims of election fraud.
In Arizona, so-called poll watchers are assembling around ballot drop boxes, heavily armed and often wearing masks and/or tactical gear. An Arizona state senate candidate called for these folks to protect the ballot boxes, even calling them what they are, vigilantes. These “brave patriots” defending ballot drop boxes take note of who deposits ballots, photographing and filming them as well as their cars and license plates. In some cases, they have challenged voters. These vigilante tail-gate parties are stationed 75 feet from the drop boxes, within the Arizona regulations. So, is what they are doing legal? Maybe, maybe not. Is it ethical and moral? No. It’s a clear attempt at voter intimidation, though there is no evidence of fraud at drop boxes, no matter how many times one watches 2,000 Mules.
Across the country, election officials are struggling to find people willing to be poll workers. The harassment and intimidation associated with elections is just too much for many civically-minded people. After the 2020 general election Georgia poll worker Shaye Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman were called out on Twitter by Donald Trump and other right-wingers, falsely accused of tampering with ballots. The result was online and in-person harassment and threats to their safety, including death and rape threats. Georgia poll workers now have an emergency text system. Even with all of these threats, there are people, Republicans and Democrats alike, who show up to work the polls because they consider it to be a sacred duty. Not only are election officials struggling to find poll workers, they are struggling under the pressure of their jobs. The Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, received a voicemail with the threat “We’re going to hang you.” A Kentucky county clerk received a similar threat. Across the country, including in Kentucky, county clerks have been inundated with open records requests in the run up to the 2022 election, making a difficult job even more taxing. In Kentucky, 9 county clerks retired before the end of their terms in 2022 and 13 didn’t seek reelection. Still, nearly 100 county clerks, the majority of them Republicans, have chosen to stay in their jobs, despite the threats, intimidation, and additional stresses of the position. A safe and secure system of voting in which all citizens can participate is the bedrock of the American ideal of democracy and we have our chance to exercise that right over the next week.
Voting hours are as follows: Thursday the 3rd from 10 am to 6 pm and Friday the 4th from 6 am to 2 pm at the Drive-thru at the County Maintenance Building (1500 Maintenance Drive) and the basement of the Anthony D. Stratton Building (1021 County Park Road, which houses the extension office). Saturday voting is from 8 am to 4 pm at the Drive-thru, the Stratton Building, and at the mobile voting trailer in the Walmart Parking Lot. Finally, Tuesday November 8th, Election Day, voting is from 6 am to 6 pm, at the Drive-thru, Stratton building and the Middle School (front entrance). All voters can cast ballots at any of the locations, regardless of precinct. Do your part to vote, be civil, and even thank the poll workers that you encounter. American depends on it.