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Election clerks report harassment, higher turnover in position

Voting polls in Maine (WGME)
Voting polls in Maine (WGME)
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STATEWIDE (WGME) - Following false allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, town and city clerks across Maine say voters are harassing them.

“Threats and attacks against election workers," Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said. "I spoke with one clerk this morning who did say that the job is harder then it used to be.”

As clerks face ongoing threats, cities and towns are facing higher turnover.

“I think it makes the role more challenging and so that probably played into people’s decisions," Portland Communications Director Jessica Grondin said.

Katherine Jones, Portland’s city clerk, is retiring after the June 14 primaries.

The city is focused on replacing her well in advance of the election for governor in November.

City officials are hoping to make an announcement soon, but the process to find someone new was not easy.

“We did post it once. We got a few applicants but none that were qualified," Grondin said. "I think as most people know, this is a very vital position for city and municipalities in terms of running elections.”

Patti Dubois has been working as a city clerk for 20 years.

“We do find that there’s some folks that are questioning the integrity of the officials that are running the elections. That’s a little disheartening when you’re following the law," Dubois said.

Currently serving the city of Waterville, she says the position in recent years has received a lot of unfair scrutiny.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there," Dubois said.

She says people have come to her after hearing rumors of election integrity over social media.

“It’s interesting to think that someone would think we would risk our reputation and our careers to sway an election," Dubois said.

Dubois says she knows of eight city clerk positions that are vacant ahead of the primary election.

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