“Election officials go on offense to prevent disruptions of 2024 vote”

Yvonne Wingett Sanchez for WaPo:

In training poll workers for this year’s presidential election, Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes is preparing them for a series of worst-case scenarios, including combat.

His office is coordinating active-shooter drills for election workers and has sent kits to county election offices that include tourniquets to stem bleeding, devices to barricade doors and hammers to break glass windows.

Fontes, a Democrat and Marine Corps veteran, doesn’t think he is overreacting.

“We recognize the real and present danger that’s presented by the conspiracy theories and the lies,” Fontes said. “An ounce of prevention is really all we can afford right now, and so that’s what we’re going to do.”

Around the nation, those who run voting operations — more than a dozen of whom were interviewed by The Washington Post — say theyare preparing for the types of disruptions that historically had been more associated with political unrest abroad than American elections.

In a year when Republicans appear on track to nominate for president Donald Trump, who continues to deny the results of the last election and is already casting doubt on the integrity of this one, election officials are going on offense more than ever to try to keep election workers safe, educate voters on how the voting and counting processes work, debunk misinformation and hold accountable those who try to disrupt the democratic process.

They are amping upadvertising budgets, increasing training for election workers, learning how best to quickly correct false information and bolstering coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement to better respond to threats and harassment.

The scale of the undertaking reflects the magnitude of the challenge. After years of Trump’s relentless attacks on the election system, fewer than a third of Republicans see Biden’s 2020 victory as legitimate. Many voters who believe that the vote was rigged cite as evidence a series of claims that have been repeatedly debunked. New conspiracy theories sprout almost daily, some tracing their origins to authentic-looking AI-generated videos. All the while, election workers face harassment and threats.

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