Election Workers Deserve to Feel Safe. Nevada is Taking Action

A woman bends over a table with boxes of ballots
Election workers check mail ballots in Reno, Nevada on June 14, 2022. Photo by SOPA Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo

Following an exodus of election workers after an increase in threats, harassment, doxxing and stalking, Nevada has become the latest state to sign into law a bill that protects the everyday Americans who help keep our democracy safe and secure. 

Notably, this legislation garnered unanimous support in both chambers, a monumental feat in a state with divided political control. This bill plainly proves that protecting those who administer our elections is not, and should not, be a partisan issue. 

Legislation keeping election officials safe is truly important, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum. Nevada has provided a superb example of what it means to come together across the aisle for political good, and other states shouldn’t wait to follow in their footsteps.

Under Nevada’s new bipartisan bill, election workers will finally be protected from harassment, intimidation or use of force. In addition, the law makes it a felony to “doxx” election workers, which involves publishing personal identifying information about someone online without their consent or knowledge, typically with malicious intent . 

Election workers across the country have received an onslaught of threats that has escalated into an undeniable crisis. A nationwide survey in 2022 revealed that one out of every six local election officials had personally experienced threats due to their jobs, with 77% of them reporting that threats and violence had increased in recent years.

Nevada, unfortunately, is no exception: despite hailing from across the political spectrum, election officials in the Silver State have come under fire for simply carrying out their duties to the letter of the law. Ten of Nevada's 17 counties have lost their clerk or registrar of voters since 2020, with many of their resignations coming in response to threats or harassment.

While new for Nevada, legislation aimed at protecting election workers isn’t a new concept nationally. At least six other states have laws prohibiting violence, threats and harassment toward election officials, including Colorado, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Pennsylvania. More states must join this growing list to protect and defend those who administer our elections.

Our democracy works best when everyone can participate freely and safely. Numerous states, including Nevada, have passed important laws to protect the freedom to vote in a safe environment, free from intimidation.

But we have largely failed to extend the same protection to election administrators and poll workers on the receiving end of harassing messages and conduct that interferes with their ability to carry out their duties. 

Election workers’ hours are typically long and their responsibilities demanding, and their work has become increasingly dangerous. Election officials deserve a safe and secure working environment that is free from threats of violence and harassment, and voters deserve an election system free from the influence of unlawful intimidation. 

Laws like the one just passed in Nevada help to accomplish these goals.

Lata Nott is a Senior Legal Counsel, Voting Rights at CLC.
Kelsey is a Senior Manager, State Advocacy at CLC.