Skip to content

May 03, 2023

King Cosponsors Legislation to Protect Election Workers From Threats

Based on feedback from Maine’s Shenna Bellows, and other Secretaries of State, the Election Worker Protection Act would provide more resources to keep election workers safe

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King is cosponsoring legislation to address the rise in threats targeting election workers. The Election Worker Protection Act would provide states with the resources to recruit, train, and protect election workers, while also instituting federal safeguards to shield election workers from intimidation and threats. The bill includes provisions that were developed with input from election officials across the nation – including Maine’s Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.

“As threats rise against election officials, we have a responsibility to protect these patriotic, hardworking Americans as they work to maintain the foundation of our democracy,” said Senator King. “Along with funding for additional training and recruitment, the Election Worker Protection Act will give election workers peace of mind with federal safeguards to shield them from intimidation or threats. It is sad and deeply frustrating that this bill even needs to be discussed, but with the continuing prevalence of anti-democracy conspiracy theories, I fear it has become a necessity.”

A group of 15 Secretaries of State, including Maine’s Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, joined a letter supporting the Election Worker Protection Act and calling on Congress to take action to protect election workers.

“As Secretaries of State and Chief Election Officials, we are aware of the ongoing and unprecedented threats directed at election workers across the country, and have seen their terrible impact on our colleagues. These threats are often violent and have been aimed at us, and at individuals simply going about their jobs. As a result of this rise in threats and other challenges, we have seen shortages of election workers in our states and across the country,” wrote the Secretaries.The Election Worker Protection Act makes clear that these attacks on election workers will not be tolerated, by making it a federal crime to threaten, interfere with, or dox an election worker.”

The Election Worker Protection Act would: 

  • Establish grants to states and certain local governments for poll worker recruitment, training, and retention, as well as grants for election worker safety.
  • Direct the Department of Justice to provide training resources regarding the identification and investigation of threats to election workers.
  • Establish threatening, intimidating, or coercing election workers as a federal crime.
  • Expand the prohibition on voter intimidation in current law to apply to the counting of ballots, canvassing, and certification of elections.
  • Protect the authority of election officials to remove poll observers who are interfering with or attempting to disrupt the administration of an election.

Senator King has been a vocal leader for efforts to strengthen our democracy. After releasing a discussion draft of proposed Electoral Count Act reforms last year, he contributed to the passage of the bipartisan Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act which clarifies ambiguities in the outdated 1887 Electoral Count Act (ECA). He’s also worked on legislation to require that all political contributions of $1,000 or more be filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 48 hours and identify the dark money political donors that seek to anonymously shape and influence political debate.


Next Article » « Previous Article