“When Your Job Is to Make Sure Nov. 3 Isn’t a Disaster”


President Trump’s proclamations at Tuesday’s debate that there was no way the presidential election could be conducted without fraud, as well as frequent tweets along those lines, aren’t helping.

“I have never been so upset about a sitting president attempting to undermine our elections in this way,” said Denise Merrill, the Connecticut secretary of state and a Democrat, who spent Wednesday morning replaying Mr. Trump’s remarks from the debate stage out of disbelief. “What he’s really doing is impugning the work of thousands of elections officials across the country — all those people in the towns and counties busy trying to maintain faith in the elections process.”

In search of solidarity, some secretaries of state, across party lines, have joined a group text where they share tips to help one another overcome election kinks.

“There are a lot of OMGs,” Ms. Merrill said.

None of the officials want to be known as the 2020 version of Katherine Harris, who as Florida’s Republican secretary of state unexpectedly gained the attention of an anxious nation awaiting a winner in the 2000 election and became the butt of “Saturday Night Live” jokes.

In the current climate, many officials are reaching for Boy Scout-like earnestness.


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