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By Kendra Clark | Senior Reporter

November 1, 2022 | 3 min read

Facing threats of violence, many US election workers fear for their lives, their jobs and the future of American democracy. Advocacy group RepresentUs has tapped actors Jennifer Lawrence and Ed Helms to help raise awareness of the worsening issue.

A powerful new PSA starring A-listers Jennifer Lawrence and Ed Helms draws attention to the all-too-real risks that US election workers take on to support fair, democratic elections. It calls on Americans to voice their support for such workers ahead of the US midterm elections on November 8.

Created by bipartisan anti-corruption interest group RepresentUs, the 90-second video, which debuted today, sees Lawrence and Helms reading real death threats made to US election workers in 2020. The sampling is starkly chilling. “You’re all going to die and it is what you deserve,” reads one message. “I know where you sleep. I see you sleeping. Be afraid,” another says.

Distrust in institutions is reaching historic highs: today, 57% of Americans believe that we’re failing to build confidence in public institutions, per recent data from the Advanced Studies in Culture Foundation. This distrust has been exacerbated by the proliferation of misinformation online and amid widespread false claims that the 2020 US presidential election was stolen or rigged.

The public’s misgivings around public institutions have trickled down to individual election workers; one in five local election workers said they’re likely to leave their jobs before the 2024 US presidential election, per recent research from the Brennan Center for Justice.

The new RepresentUs campaign aims to express and encourage support for election workers, who play a vital role in maintaining fundamental democratic processes. “Working at an election should not be a dangerous job,” says Lawrence. “We have to help protect our election workers.”

As Helms puts it: “They’re doing something great for our democracy and ... they deserve our gratitude and ... our protection as well.”

The video ends with a call to action that encourages viewers to follow a link where they can sign an open letter supporting election workers, educate their communities about the issue of poll worker harassment and report problems at the polls.

The campaign adds to a recent string of efforts by RepresentUs designed to raise awareness about democratic issues, elections and combating misinformation. Earlier this year, the organization put out a similar video to raise awareness about death threats issued to election workers. In 2021, the organization tapped actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr to front a voting advocacy campaign, and Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry spoke out against voter suppression efforts in a post-apocalyptic spot.

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