Our Voices

Election Workers’ Dignity

By Jeffrey Siminoff. Read the original letter in the New York Times here.

To the Editor:

Re “Violent Threats Continue Against Election Workers Despite Federal Efforts” (news article, June 30):

Election workers are a backbone of our democracy. From county to county, they are our neighbors, ensuring that the voices of this country are heard. But as detailed in your article, local and state election officials increasingly work under threats of violence and endure harassment and abuse. The apparent goal, even well before the fall midterms, is to get them to throw in the towel on their jobs or bow to pressure in other ways.

None of this is good for our democracy. It’s also harmful to the dignity of these workers, who provide a civic function for little or no compensation. These are now unsafe jobs.

Task forces, like the federal Election Threats Task Force, are salutary, but their work needs to be highly visible and transparent to ensure that reporting mechanisms are known, deterrence is advanced and consequences are demonstrated.

State and local governments need to work in tandem with such efforts and better support these civic-minded champions more broadly. Local media need to prioritize reporting these stories. And neighbors need to treat neighbors in ways that honor the dignity — the inherent value and worth — of each other.

Jeffrey Siminoff
San Francisco
The writer is senior vice president, workplace dignity, at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

A version of this article appears in print on July 6, 2022, Section A, Page 18 of the New York edition with the headline: A Fourth of July Parade Turned Deadly.