On February 15, Gowri Ramachandran, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, testified before the Oregon Legislative Assembly’s House Committee on Rules about threats to election officials and the risk they pose to our democracy.
In the months since we published our report, journalists at Reuters have documented violent threats and harassment against election officials across the country, even identifying nine of the harassers, none of whom had been held accountable, and few of whom showed any remorse for their actions. The U.S. Department of Justice has announced a task force to combat the problem and has brought charges against two individuals thus far.
It is important to supplement after-the-fact criminal accountability with steps that can help election workers feel safe and secure now, as they prepare to administer primary and general elections in 2022. H.B. 4144 does just that, as it allows election workers to keep their address confidential by virtue of their status as election workers, without waiting for bad actors to engage in threats, harassment, or other disturbing behavior.