National: Election Security Push Ahead Of 2020 Could Be Blunted By Wave Of Retirements | Pam Fessler/NPR
Between possible foreign interference, potentially record-high turnout, new voting equipment in many parts of the country and what could be a razor-close outcome, the 2020 election was already shaping up to be one of the most challenging elections to administer in U.S. history. On top of those challenges, a number of top election officials who oversaw voting in 2016 won’t be around next year. Some are retiring after long careers, but others are feeling the strain of an increasingly demanding and politicized job. Among those who’ve left are former Virginia Election Commissioner, Edgardo Cortes, now an election security adviser with the Brennan Center for Justice. He decided to move on last year when the governor he worked for was heading out of office. Cortes also had a new baby on the way and a three hour commute, and says he needed a break from his 24/7 job. “In Virginia in particular, there are elections going on every year, multiple times a year, so it was definitely a huge time commitment,” says Cortes. Running elections can be difficult work, with long hours, low pay and an electorate that isn’t always appreciative. Most officials say they love the work and believe they’re performing a key democratic function, but several high-profile election officials have recently announced that they’re leaving, in part to give their replacements time to prepare for 2020.