Iowa flap raises fears of politicized local election offices – Washington, District of Columbia

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Des Moines, Iowa (AP) — Eight years have passed since Republican candidates have made progress to challenge the Democratic Party …

Des Moines, Iowa (AP) — Eight years have passed since Republican candidates even challenged Democrat Roxana Moritz as the top electoral official in Scott County, Iowa.

Performed without opposition in 2016 and 2020, Moritz was the highest-ever voter in this swing-voting county along the state’s third-populated Mississippi River for four terms as an auditor. became.

Moritz suddenly resigned last month after months of tension had exacerbated the threat of personal attacks and violence. Her retirement and partisan movements since then show that the long-considered nonpartisan office is now a fair game in the political struggle for confidence in national elections.

In an interview, Moritz talked about angry and sometimes threatening calls from the general public accusing him of modifying the 2020 elections: “It was all partisan threats.”

Republicans, who control the Scott County Oversight Board, said politics was not involved in their criticism of Mr Moritz’s handling of the county’s financial problems last year, and voters called for her resignation.

She was accused of falsifying pollsters’ working hours and justifying them to pay more before the June 2020 primary, when the coronavirus pandemic made it difficult to seek help. I am. State auditor Rob Sand of the Democratic Party is conducting the investigation.

But the problem is exacerbated by many Republican voters in Scott County, despite Republican Donald Trump defeating Democrat Joe Biden in his second run to beat Iowa. , Was upset by the results of the national presidential election.

According to Moritz, she and her team were harassed by phone, email, and social media in a series of words, from name calls to physical threats, before and after last year’s elections.

“Someone came down and said we would burn our building,” she said. “Three weeks before the election. And we took it seriously.”

Election administration has long been regarded as quiet and independent, but is now controversial given Trump’s persistent and false allegations that the epidemic of fraud has hurt his reelection. ..

Mr. Trump and his allies have failed to challenge his defeat and have filed multiple proceedings to delay the formal voting process. Mr. Trump praised two Republicans at the Election Commission in the Detroit district for temporarily blocking the election results for the county where Mr. Biden won by a two-to-one gap.

Republican state lawmakers are pushing for legislation that will impose fines or criminal penalties on election managers for violating the rules as part of a national effort to reduce access to ballots. In Iowa, as part of a new law, authorities are now fined up to $ 10,000 for “technical violations” of election rules.

Its current reality has either left or retired electoral workers, or made this line of work uncomfortable.

Republicans of the Michigan Election Commission were not reappointed by the party after voting to prove Biden’s victory. A Pennsylvania County Commission spokesman said about three minutes of the state’s county election manager. One said he had left his job in the last year and a half. Reasons for this include threats, heavy workloads, and misinformation.

Robert Brandon, president and CEO of the Washington-based Fair Election Center, said it was important for these positions to remain as nonpartisan as possible in order to maintain confidence in the elections. ..

“If there really were people who were purely motivated by the partisan politics that run the elections, they would be worried about the legitimacy of individual elections,” he said. “The most of our democratic process. Weakening the key parts is a terrifying change for the country. ”

In Scott County, a Republican-controlled committee has nominated a former Davenport old lady, a Republican, as a new county auditor. The board opposed the special elections, fearing cost and efficiency, said chairman Ken Beck.

“There was nothing political about this. Appointments are permitted by law,” he said. “I didn’t think it was worth the money to vote for a small percentage of voters. Is it a fair election?”

The party’s decision elicited a swift reaction from Iowa Democrats. With the help of Iowa Democratic officials and national groups, the party seeks to collect more than 10,000 signatures to enable special elections. Yes.

County Democratic Chairman Elesha Gayman spoke of outreach to organized workers, the NAACP, voters advocates, and other groups interested in who was the auditor at the time. ..

Appointed Keri Tompkins said her mission was not to uphold voting law. “This is a role I haven’t set a policy for,” she told the Quad City Times last week. My job is to obey the law. “

The political drama is the latest to hit this small metro county in the heart of the post-2020 election storm.

Former Republican chairman and former state legislator Dave Mirage resigned in January after criticizing Mr. Trump’s actions in connection with an attack by then-presidential supporters on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. I was forced to do it.

Closely supported by Biden, the county is also part of the Second Parliamentary District, where Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks beat Democrat Rita Hart by six votes, the most in almost 40 years. It was a near US House of Representatives race.

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Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, NY.

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The Associated Press coverage of voting rights is partially supported by Carnegie Corporation in New York. AP is solely responsible for this content.

Copyright © 2021 Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written, or redistributed.

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