As the midterms approach, several key election staffers for a Texas county resigned.
Gillespie County elections administrator Anissa Herrea and many of the staffers from her office resigned recently, citing low pay, heavy workloads, and even death threats as the reasons for their departure.
Gillespie County has a total population of nearly 27,000 and includes the cities of Stonewall, Luckenbach, and Fredericksburg.
Herrera told the Fredericksburg Standard that after the 2020 elections “was when I got the death threats … It was enough that I reached out to our county attorney, and it was suggested that I forward it to the FPD (Fredericksburg Police Department) and the sheriff’s office.”
It is unknown how many people made threats or if the police took any action. However, a report by the U.S. House of Representative’s Oversight and Reform Committee suggested that around 1,000 “hostile contacts” had been reported by officials across the country after the 2020 election.
Additionally, Herrera claimed that her office was “understaffed and underpaid.” Appeals to county authorities for assistance went unanswered, she said, “and I’ve been asking for help for a while, and at some point, you just have to take care of yourself.”
Herrea had served in various election-related roles in the county for nearly 10 years before her departure.
Gillespie County Judge Mark Stroeher explained, “We have some people who are pretty fanatical and radical about things … Unfortunately, they have driven out our election’s administrator, and not just her, but the staff. Everybody has resigned.”
“I don’t know how we’re going to hold an election when everybody in the election department has resigned,” the judge worried, “elections are getting so nasty and it’s getting dangerous.”
Texas secretary of state communications official Sam Taylor explained that a team would be dispatched to Gillespie County to train replacements and work with the local government to ensure the upcoming midterms run smoothly.
Taylor stated, “It’s rare, if not almost unheard of, for an entire office to resign at the same time, especially this close to an election.”
He went on to condemn anyone who attempted to intimidate or harm officials, stating, “Threats on election officials are reprehensible, and we encourage any and all election officials who are targeted by such threats to report them to law enforcement immediately.”
“Unfortunately,” Taylor concluded, “threats like these drive away the very officials our state needs now more than ever to help instill confidence in our election system.”
In recent years, Gillespie County has seen allegations of election fraud, with a candidate for the Fredericksburg City Council being indicted on several counts in 2020. The same year, a lawsuit was filed against a former Fredericksburg mayor for potential fraud.
It is unclear whether every single individual working at the Gillespie County Elections Office resigned.
The Dallas Express reached out to Judge Stroeher and the Gillespie County Elections Office for comment but did not receive a response before publication.