Quick Lesson from the Wisconsin Recalls: Election Officials are Public Figures

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[Image of Clerk Kathy Nickolaus courtesy of Waukesha Clerk’s web page]

Years ago, election officials were largely anonymous.

Those days are over.

Right now, anyone working in the field of elections in today’s highly-charged political environment – with a political class newly aware of (if not terribly knowledgeable about) election administration – has to assume that she or he is one close vote away from becoming front page news.

The lessons for election officials are threefold:

1. Get used to talking to reporters – or being talked about by candidates;
2. You will be criticized and even vilified – whether or not you think it’s fair;
3. Collect data and measure your own performance so you can tell your side of the story – even if it’s to explain a mistake.

In short, these days election administration ain’t beanbag, either.

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