In the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and the spread of rumors that the election was stolen, Americans’ confidence in the integrity of the country’s electoral system is at an all-time low. A recent ABC News/Ipsos Poll found that 41% of Americans are not so confident, or not at all confident, in the integrity of the U.S. electoral system.
The once-obscure topic of election administration has made its way into news headlines across the country. Local election officials – those charged with running the country’s election contests – have faced harassment and even death threats.
Have these officials, as some charge now, used their authority to interfere with America’s democratic process? Do local election officials abuse their power?
The short answer, according to research I conducted with my UCLA colleagues, political scientists Igor Geyn and Daniel Thompson, is that they haven’t so far. Both Democratic and Republican election officials oversee elections with similar partisan outcomes, turnout rates and administrative policies.