This New York Times article explores the growing conflict between election officials and county sheriffs. In recent years, conservative activists have encouraged sheriffs to investigate voter fraud claims. Two law enforcement groups, Protect America Now and the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, have endorsed this mission. Their foray into an area traditionally handled by state agencies is sparking protracted political fights over the future of elections.
The Times identifies at least three instances of sheriffs launching investigations into local election issues. Some have attempted to charge statewide election officials with felonies for alleged electoral mismanagement:
“‘The idea that the solution for an election whose results you didn’t like is, after the fact, to threaten criminal charges for that public work of a government official is shocking,’ said Ann Jacobs, the Democratic chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, who faced a criminal referral. ‘It is chilling. It is the antithesis of how democracy works.’”