“Stewards of Democracy: Pursuing diversity and representation among LEOs”

Paul Gronke, Paul Manson, Jay Lee, and Heather Creek at Electionline:

Who are the professionals doing the day-to-day work of running American elections? As we touched on in a preceding post, local election officials are not a population that mirrors the American public. The average local election official is far more likely to be white, a woman, and over age 50 than the general public, or even the voting-eligible public, which skews whiter and older.

The 2020 Democracy Fund/Reed College Survey of Local Election Officials found that almost 75 percent of these officials are over age 50, 80 percent are women, and over 90 percent are white (and non-Hispanic). Almost half had a college degree or even further education, and 44 percent identified as Republican — compared to 33 percent who identified as Democrat and 22 percent who described themselves as Independent (among the 72 percent of respondents who shared any party identification). Only 45 percent make more than $50,000 a year, and 60 percent are elected to their positions.

Before diving into this post’s exploration of gender and race/ethnicity diversity in particular, it’s helpful to understand the demographic stability among local election officials over the past 15 years, as well as a few areas where we see changes.

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