There are many public threats to U.S. democracy. From the Jan. 6 insurrection; voter purges; closure of polling places in low-income, diverse communities; to state legislatures determining they can overrule election results — there’s a lot to be concerned about.

Less well publicized are the countless threats to the safety and even lives of election officials — and their children — by extremists. One in six local election officials have experienced threats. In Washington state, our elections director was threatened.

These essential workers are confronting a huge brain drain, with 20% of local election administrators saying they are likely to leave their jobs before the 2024 presidential election, according to a survey released in March by the Brennan Center for Justice. Unsurprisingly, nearly two-thirds believe that false information is making their job more dangerous.

Election workers are the backbone of our democracy! Please join the League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County in thanking these heroes, especially King County Elections Director Julie Wise and her staff, for their professionalism and bravery.

Heather Kelly, Seattle, president, League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County