Joelle Gross, Samuel Baltz, and Charles Stewart III have posted this draft on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
False information about the legitimacy of recent American elections has prompted a barrage of harsh rhetoric against the officials who administer them. This spike in negativity, largely occurring through social media, is driving people out of these essential jobs. This article measures the extent of this negativity, how it has trended over time, which state administrations are targeted by it most, and what sorts of accounts are sending it. By collecting every reply to any Twitter account managed by the agency or person officially responsible for administering a state’s elections, we show that the usage of keywords related to election fraud has spiked in recent years, while the sentiments of the replies have grown almost universally harsher. While left-leaning repliers are usually negative towards Republican officials, and vice versa, some officials have begun to receive negative replies from both the left and right, with sustained pile-ons led almost entirely by right-leaning repliers.