State Election Chiefs Should Be Umpires, Not Players

Governing: Election specialists and national security experts have been gaming out scenarios for this November, assessing how candidates, supporters and media will respond if voting results are delayed or disputed. The 40 secretaries of state who are chief election officials also play important roles in these scenarios. Local-level officials handle ballot-counting and other key phases of an election, but secretaries of states' decisions make a difference in tight races, and their words and actions significantly impact voter confidence.

Disturbingly, a Cooperative Congressional Election Study survey found that only 38 percent of voters thought a close and disputed state election would be handled fairly, and that study was conducted back in 2010. Thirty-seven percent said, effectively, that such a dispute would end in a win for the party of the official in charge.

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