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At least 15 dead as severe weather sweeps across central US; on Memorial Day, IA labor leaders honor fallen workers; Medical center installs microgrid to safeguard clinic power supply; 'Second look' laws gain traction, but MS sticks to elderly parole; Will summer heat melt New Mexicans' cravings for ice cream?

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One congressman cites ways Biden could get more support from communities of color. A new Louisiana law reclassifies two abortion medications as controlled substances. And Ohio advocates work to boost youth voter turnout.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Steady increase in election staff changes over past two decades, report finds

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Monday, April 15, 2024   

A new report dives into election official turnover during more than two decades. It says rates have increased steadily nationwide since 2000, with the highest level in 2022.

Idaho has seen lower rates of turnover than many states, increasing from 25% in 2004 to a high of 39% in 2018, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Rachel Orey - senior associate director of the elections project with the center - said elections have increasingly complex jobs alongside the day-to-day logistics, likely driving turnover.

"Today, election officials must manage everything," said Orey, "from cybersecurity risks posed by foreign adversaries, to public communications of people who are doubting the outcome of elections, to information technology, legal disputes, political pressures, human resources. The list goes on."

While Idaho has seen lower turnover rates than other states, the West is projected to have the highest turnover of any region in 2024 - with a rate of nearly 42%.

Orey said recent increases have occurred in larger jurisdictions, which have received the brunt of scrutiny in the wake of the 2020 election.

They said increasing workloads for election officials have coincided with widespread reports of threats and harassment that are making election administration untenable work.

"That's where state and federal legislators can really step in," said Orey, "to provide adequate resources, competitive compensation levels and safety protections for election officials."

However, turnover doesn't necessarily mean the people taking over are inexperienced. Orey said new officials have an average of eight years of experience in top-level positions.

"So, when we see a turnover in a chief election official, it isn't always the case that someone new is coming in who doesn't know what they're doing," said Orey. "Rather, we see more often that it is folks with lots of experience in elections who are stepping into these chief roles."

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




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