‘High Election Worker Turnover’ is the Left’s Newest Ploy to Federalize Elections

There’s a crisis in American democracy, all right, and the Left created it.

Last week, Democrats fired the latest salvo in a long war to radically transform American elections by eroding state and local control, replacing ballot-counters with a centralized, D.C.-run bureaucracy.

Their leader: Arizona’s famously level-headed secretary of state, Adrian Fontes (D), who believes anyone who dares question the questionable 2020 election is a “MAGA fascist” and “authoritarian” “election denier” spewing “lies” in order to “destroy our democracy.” Whew.

The story goes like this. COVID-19 exposed inadequacies in state and local election budgets—remember, elections aren’t run by the federal government—so Congress should provide billions of dollars to shore them up. So Congress did—pouring $400 million into elections in the bipartisan 2020 CARES Act.

Not enough, cried “progressives,” who cheered on partisan billionaire Mark Zuckerberg for routing another $420 million to thousands of local election offices in 2020. In reality, those funds wildly favored Democratic strongholds in battleground states critical to ousting President Donald Trump from the White House.

In Arizona, 76 percent of the $5 million in “Zuck Bucks” flowed to four of the five counties Biden won statewide; just 13 percent, or $671,000 went to Trump counties. Closer analysis shows the bias: Per capita, Biden counties got $3.47 in Zuck Bucks, but Trump counties got just $2.16—enough to flip the state. No wonder NPR celebrates Zuckerberg for “saving” the 2020 election.

Many conservatives thought that that was the end, but the Left was just warming up.

The Never-Ending Lie

Enter Issue One, the phony “bipartisan” group whose recent research about election worker shortages and death threats is the foundation for Fontes’ demand for more federal bucks. Fontes is even cited in the report, arguing that “increased federal funding would have an enormous impact as we work to recruit, train, and retain the next generation of election professionals.”

Federal money means federal control, the Left’s pet project ever since Trump won the 2016 presidential election, something “progressives” swore they’d never allow to happen again. In practice, that means absorbing state authority to run elections into D.C. with bills like the “For the People Act” (H.R.1) and “John Lewis Voting Rights Act” (H.R.4). It also means banning free speech the Left hates by labeling it “misinformation” and using the Justice Department to jail political opponents—another feature of the Issue One report.

Issue One is heavily funded by Jonathan Soros (son of George), the Hewlett Foundation, Center for American Progress, and get-out-the-green-vote League of Conservation Voters, the latter of which has been called a “’dark money’ heavyweight” by a left-leaning group.

It’s also received millions of dollars from the Sixteen Thirty Fund and New Venture Fund, both cogs in Arabella Advisors’ nonprofit machine, the biggest “dark money” empire in the world, which also receives foreign funding from Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss.

Issue One is a favorite of Democrats demanding campaign finance reform—ostensibly to keep “dark money” out of politics, but in reality to restrict Americans’ First Amendment free speech rights. At the top of its fan list is the Senate’s flintiest “dark money” hawk, Sheldon Whitehouse (D–RI)—himself endorsed and financially supported by the “dark money” League of Conservation Voters and other eco-groups, per the Washington Examiner. Even the New York Times admits that Democrats won the 2020 election with the same “dark money” they previously “decried.”

Issue One agrees… but not for the reason you might think.

Leftists don’t want less money in politics; they just want less conservative money in politics. Changing campaign finance laws isn’t meant to hurt Arabella’s “dark money” network, but to gag conservatives who want to support candidates of their choice.

That’s why Issue One is one of the “recommended organizations” supported by the Democracy Alliance, the shadowy cabal that gathers the Left’s biggest mega-funders in order to coordinate their electoral spending each year beating Republicans. I’ve calculated that the alliance’s members spent about $11.5 billion in combined expenditures in 2020 alone. Does anyone seriously think that these partisan mega-donors are deeply concerned about “money in politicsa la Issue One?

Any group that makes the “recommended” list can expect a near-bottomless well of funding from the likes of George Soros, Herb Sandler, Pierre Omidyar, and the like for one simple reason: They score political wins for Democrats.

In Issue One’s case, Democracy Alliance believes its research will help elect or appoint “pro-reform judges [who] will begin handing down pro-reform decisions”—in other words, reshape the law.

Never Waste a (Manufactured) Crisis

But Issue One is just one of the legion of organizations pushing the fake narrative that Trump supporters are a threat to poll workers, election workers, and democracy itself. It’s the classic “progressive” strategy: Crystallize your preferred narrative across hundreds of media outlets to manufacture a crisis, then offer an activist-made “solution” that secures political victories for Democrats.

Since 2020, however, we’ve known that their real goals involve taking over local ballot-counters’ offices and ultimately federalizing elections.

Start with the “crisis.” Between 2010 and 2020 there were just 733 articles published on “threats to election workers,” according to data from Lexis Nexis. Yet since 2021, there’ve been a staggering 5,100 such articles published—a 596 percent increase in two years. (It’s a solid bet that close to none of them pin the violence on liberals).

Conservatives have learned to tune out the Left’s lies, but they need to take the threat of retaliation seriously. “Progressives” are setting the stage for political retribution, and they mean to act on it.

In May, I reported on the Left’s sham “Democracy Summit” at the D.C. spy museum, where Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold warned that there are six secretaries of state who are election deniers, six more U.S. senators, and 150 congressmen “desecrating the halls of Congress as we speak”—all elected Republican officials. In 2022, she added:

“We had election deniers running in this country in every swing state where there was a race to oversee elections. It would’ve been a disaster if they’d won. Now, it’s time to prosecute them.”

Adrian Fontes went further. “There are fascists active in this country,” referring to the Republicans listed by Griswold.

“She just politely calls them ‘election deniers’ . . . I personally prefer calling them what they are. They are fascists. And if they don’t want to be called fascists they need to stop acting like fascists.”

This wasn’t a summit, but a war council for destroying conservatives’ reputation, limiting free speech, and jailing political opponents. Anyone who foolishly thinks that this war machine ends with Donald Trump is going to be shocked to learn he’s just a bit further down the hit list.

Make ‘Em Sick, Make ‘Em Well

Enter the Left’s “solution”—more federal power to stop the looming catastrophe.

Though 25 states have banned or restricted Zuck Bucks since 2020, CTCL has rebranded into a campaign to lobby for more federal election funding, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. The coalition’s members all support expanded vote-by-mail, automatic voter registration, abolishing voter ID laws, redesigning ballots for non-English speakers, and “training” county election officials to suit this broader agenda.

My organization, Restoration News, was the first to report on one such conquest from late last year. For decades, the Election Center was the nonpartisan organization responsible for training thousands of county election workers under the leadership of its politically neutral director, Tim Mattice. Then Mattice was replaced in December 2022 with two die-hard “progressives”—Joe Gloria, ex-registrar of voters for Nevada’s Clark County (Las Vegas), and Tammy Patrick, a senior advisor to mega-funder Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund—and the Election Center quickly became a tool of the Left.

Gloria is a member of the Election Officials Legal Defense Network, a front for the Zuck Bucks-funded Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) that spreads the lie about threats to election workers. Patrick is a member of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s 2019 committee to expand mail-in and no-excuse absentee ballots, enact automatic voter registration and Election Day voter registration, and address “logistical considerations for ballots received after Election Day.”

Since that takeover, the Election Center’s newsletters brim with reports from CTCL, CEIR, the Elections Group, and other partisan groups which demand a permanent expansion to vote-by-mail and blast conservatives as a “threat” to democracy. Today, local election officials seeking training to do their jobs have little choice but to turn to the “progressive”-run Election Center.

How many thousands of ballot-counters will now be informed that Republican voters are a threat to their well-being? Where will they go to hear the other side? With no alternative, they’re in the Left’s clutches—and that’s according to plan.

Get With the Times

Remember that all of the Democrats’ election bills since 2017 have tried to radically change how elections are run because Democratic operatives no longer believe their candidates can win under the old rules.

Now they aim to codify everything hastily adopted during the pandemic, from all-mail elections to ever-earlier voting; automatically registering millions of new voters and accepting ballots after Election Day; restoring felon voting rights; and banning “misinformation” with Joe Biden’s insidious Disinformation Board.

“Progressives” only gained so much ground by catching conservatives off-guard in 2020. Now they’re pushing that advantage in an all-or-nothing gambit for permanent control of America. Whether you like it or not, there’s no going back to the sunny days of pre-pandemic America. You’re at war.

If conservatives don’t get serious about defeating the radical Left—not just in 2024, but forever—there won’t be an America left for the next generation to inherit. Patriots, wake up!


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About Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is director of policy research for Restoration of America.

Photo: PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 14: Newly elected Arizona Secretary of State, Adrian Fontes looks on during an interview at American Legion Post 41 on November 14, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Fontes defeated Republican candidate Mark Finchem, who has claimed widespread election fraud in the state. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)