MADISON, Wisc. – Exactly one week after Wisconsin’s Spring Elections, the volunteer-led Protect Wisconsin Elections group held eight events Tuesday in different cities and towns publicly thanking local election clerks for their service to democracy. The day of appreciation was part of a nationwide effort called Thank Election Heroes Day.
The demonstration of support comes as Wisconsin’s elections face urgent threats. Election officials are being harassed to the point where one in five said in a recent survey they’d be likely to quit before the 2024 general election. Additionally, extremists in the Wisconsin Legislature want to disband the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, opening the possibility that partisans could oversee the state’s elections.
“Election workers are the unsung heroes of our democracy. It’s important that we as a community show that we have their back – especially at a time when they’re facing a barrage of attacks,” said Protect Wisconsin Elections State Director Amanda Pustz. “Our volunteers will continue to bring Wisconsinites together to protect democracy.”
On Tuesday, Protect Wisconsin Elections thanked election workers in Burlington, Germantown, Glendale, Fort Atkinson, Fox Point, Koshkonong, Mequon and New Berlin. Attendees were able to meet their city clerk and staff outside of their offices, volunteers said a few words of appreciation to the election workers, gave them a big thank-you card, and took group photos.
“We are gathered here as residents of Koshkonong and the great state of Wisconsin to recognize you for all you do,” Protect Wisconsin Elections Volunteer Kathleen Townsend said in Koshkonong, thanking Town Clerk Bridget Woods. “We really appreciate your hard work, your dedication to make the election go smoothly. We feel that you are the backbone of our democracy. Due to that, we consider you an election hero.”
Protect Wisconsin Elections volunteers are forming “Election Protection Teams” to safeguard free and fair elections. The teams will activate Wisconsinites across political ideologies, build public awareness about the importance of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, and give support to existing election officials so they don’t resign and open the door for authoritarians to take their place.
Over the coming weeks and months, the Teams will continue to hold events to educate the public about election administration and the threats Wisconsin’s elections are facing.
Protect Wisconsin Elections is a volunteer-led effort whose mission is to defeat authoritarian threats and protect free and fair elections by activating Wisconsinites across political ideologies, building public awareness about Wisconsin’s highly effective election process, and supporting election officials. PWE is a project of RepresentUs.