It’s been more than nine months since Election Day 2020, but as the nation’s top election officials met in Iowa over the weekend, it was clear the shadow of that race will stretch far into the future of American democracy.
The conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from former President Donald Trump has upended almost all aspects of election administration: Local officials who a decade ago would have gone about their bureaucratic business in relative anonymity are facing threats and intense pressure, and a large chunk of American voters have no confidence the system is fair.
“This is the very unfortunate new normal,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, who had dozens of armed protesters visit her home in December after last year’s election.
Elections are run in the U.S. at the state and local levels, so the top voting officials across the country are usually secretaries of state. They met this weekend in Des Moines for their first in-person gathering since January 2020.