Misinformation, violence and a paper shortage threaten midterm elections, officials say


Members of a U.S. Senate panel and election administrators raised a bevy of concerns Thursday about the challenges elections officials will face this fall, saying problems ranging from a lack of paper to coordinated misinformation campaigns could affect confidence in U.S. democracy. 

A bipartisan panel of current and former elections officials and experts told the Senate Rules and Administration Committee that state officials face threats of physical violence, while dealing with misinformation, supply chain challenges and funding shortfalls — making the administration of this year’s midterm elections more difficult.

Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, listed those developments at the start of the hearing. She highlighted threats that have led Colorado officials to receive active shooter training and obtain bullet-proof vests, with morale among elections administrators nationwide worryingly low.

“In light of these challenges, we must support the election officials working on the front lines of our democracy,” Klobuchar said.

In addition to relatively new concerns related to holding elections in a pandemic, ranking Republican Roy Blunt of Missouri noted foreign and domestic adversaries persist in targeting election infrastructure and spreading online misinformation.

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