Election officials brace for 2024 challenge: Juggling reelection and the presidential vote
There is expected to be a more intentional recruiting effort from national organizations focused on election clerks and other similar positions this cycle, in an effort to counter a potential wave of MAGA-like candidates running for those under-the-radar positions.
Run for Something, a liberal organization founded after Trump’s election focused on lining up candidates to run for office across the ballot, launched “Clerk Work” last year to recruit candidates for local positions in the election process. It covers everything from county clerks to boards of supervisors.
The group had a hand in recruiting more than 220 candidates in the midterms for voting-related positions, Run for Something co-founder Ross Morales Rocketto said in an interview. That included 32 top-tier candidates, with a focus on county clerk positions in states like Colorado and California and county commissioners in Nevada. The group said 20 of them won their contests, including 10 of the 13 who were running against candidates Run for Something identified as an “election denier.”
“The thing that keeps me up at night isn’t whether we can beat most of these folks — I think we can beat them in most places — it’s actually whether we get people on the ballot to run against them,” Morales Rocketto said. “And that to me is actually the harder challenge in all of this.”
Over the next two years, the group is focusing in on a handful of states — including Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas and Michigan — as top priorities to recruit election officials.
Keep Country First Policy Action, a group founded by allies of former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), also launched an effort last year to recruit “pro-freedom, pro-democracy” candidates for office, with a focus on local election positions.
In interviews, local officials who will be on the ballot in 2024 said they expected it to be a challenging election, with the added attention on both the official side of the job, as they prepare their offices for a busy presidential election year, and on their own individual campaigns.