Threats to Arkansas election officials aren't common, but they happen
What's happening: "We’ve not had any reports in Arkansas regarding election-related threats, intimidation, subversion, ulterior motives or anything of the kind," a spokesperson for Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston told Axios.
- Election officials in six counties said much the same.
Yes, but: In east Arkansas' Lee County, commission officials have received death threats, chair Lindsey Palmer tells Axios.
- Palmer declined to say who received them but said the threats were made in person and were recent.
- "They believe that … we messed up the election. That's just part of our job," she said of the threats.
Why it matters: Efforts to intimidate voters and spread misinformation can erode the public's trust in the democratic process, and safety concerns could make it difficult to recruit election workers.
- The FBI alert singled out states that experienced public disputes, recounts and audits in 2020, including Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Arkansas was not listed.
Zoom in: Officials in Benton, Washington, Madison and Union counties reported no issues and said that early voting has been higher than normal.
- They attributed the turnout to interest in the ballot issues, concerns about the economy and — in Union County — highly contested mayoral and city council races.
- A citizen-proposed ballot in Craighead County seeks to cut library funding in half in apparent retribution to a 2021 Pride display.
- "We've got a pretty good community," Craighead County election coordinator Jennifer Clack, said. "Even if you disagree, people don't get … violent. Protests have been peaceful."
- Amanda Dickens, election coordinator in Pulaski county told us, "I feel really good about the system we have set up here."
What we're watching: The Natural State may not have visible voter intimidation like in Arizona, but it doesn't mean there won't be post-election challenges. In September, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that election officials were inundated with Freedom of Information Act requests for records from the 2020 election.
- It remains to be seen what the requesters intend to do with the information.
- Yes, and: More than 100 lawsuits have already been filed, largely by Republicans, to challenge aspects of the 2022 process, including states' handling of absentee ballots, AP reports.
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