State and Local Solutions Are Integral to Protect Election Officials and Democracy

This op-ed was originally published in Just Security.

Before the 2020 election, Tina Barton was largely unknown outside of her home city of Rochester Hills, Michigan, where — among other duties — she administered elections for the city in her role of city clerk. That anonymity quickly evaporated in the wake of the election. As President Donald Trump and his allies spread lies and conspiracy theories about the election – a concerted disinformation effort that continues to this day – Barton, herself a Republican, joined many other election officials around the country in defending the integrity of the election.

Almost immediately, Barton faced a torrent of threats and harassment, including death threats to her and her family. In just one message, the anonymous caller repeatedly threatened to kill her and her family.

Read the full op-ed on Just Security.

About the Authors

Ben Berwick

Head of Election Law & Litigation Team & Counsel

Ben Berwick leads Protect Democracy's Election Law & Litigation Team. In that capacity, he oversees the organization's work to ensure that American elections are free and fair.

Orion Danjuma

Counsel, Free & Fair Elections

Orion Danjuma serves as counsel at Protect Democracy, focusing on voting rights, protecting election officials, preventing voter intimidation, and ensuring free and fair elections. Previously, he was a staff attorney with the ACLU working on voting rights and racial justice issues.

Trey Grayson

Managing Director, First Brown Todd

Trey Grayson is a member of Frost Brown Todd and managing director of the firm’s government relations subsidiary, CivicPoint.

Matthew Masterson

Non-Resident Fellow, Stanford Internet Obsevatory

Matt Masterson (@mastersonmv) is a former non-resident policy fellow with the Stanford Internet Observatory. He served as Senior Cybersecurity Advisor at the Department of Homeland Security, where he focused on election security issues.

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