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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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New data illustrates turnover trends among local election administrators

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024   

Local offices around the country that help administer elections have seen higher rates of turnover in the past two decades. Newly compiled data show steady growth in the number of those in charge moving on from their roles. Officials with the Bipartisan Policy Center say higher turnover among election administrators has been felt by all regions in the U.S. with bigger spikes between 2018 and 2022. Minnesota saw its rate increase from 23% in 2004 to a high of 47% two years ago.

Rachel Orey, senior associate director of elections project, Bipartisan Policy Center, said these officials have increasingly complex jobs alongside the day-to-day logistics, likely driving turnover.

"Today, election officials must manage everything 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," she said.

Orey added recent increases have occurred in larger jurisdictions, which have received the brunt of scrutiny in the wake of the 2020 election. The report says an aging workforce might be another contributing factor. While Minnesota did see its level spike in 2022, the turnover rate has eased going into the 2024 vote.

Orey said increasing workloads 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 to provide adequate resources, competitive compensation levels and safety protections for election officials," she continued.

Last year, the Minnesota Legislature did approve certain bills designed to provide more relief and safeguards for local offices.

Meanwhile, 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. Rather, we see more often that it is folks with lots of experience in elections who are stepping into these chief roles," she explained.


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