“Election officials say democracy is still at risk in 2024: ‘The gun is still loaded'”

Jane Timm for NBC News:

The November midterms gave election officials and pro-democracy advocates their first sigh of relief in years: The election system they’d spent years defending and shoring up operated almost seamlessly, and most of the election deniers who threatened to disrupt it were defeated.

The respite, however, appears to have been brief, with the new year marked by violent, moneyed and high-profile election denialism:

  • A failed Republican candidate claiming fraud orchestrated shootings into local Democrats’ homes in New Mexico, police allege.
  • Former President Donald Trump hit the trail for the first time in his third presidential bid and once again advanced the conspiracy theory that he won in 2020.
  • In Pennsylvania, mostly rural Lycoming County spent three days doing a hand recount of the 2020 election ballots last month after having been being dogged by false fraud claims for years. The recount affirmed the results, growing Trump’s margin of victory by just eight votes. The recount is a part of what election officials say is growing distrust of election machinery, even though hand recounts are typically slower, more expensive and less accurate.
  • In Arizona, Republican Kari Lake continues to challenge her November loss in court and on television, hosting rallies and raking in more than $2.5 million since Election Day, according to an analysis of her campaign finance disclosures after Election Day by the Arizona Mirror.
  • Elsewhere in Arizona, an election official in Cochise County — who was personally sued as she was trying to fend off local officials’ efforts to block certification of election results there — resigned. She is one of a growing number of election officials resigning because of harassment and election denialism.
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