Heavy Lifting: Emotional Labor and Election Administration

Amanda D. Clark, Christina S. Barsky, Monica A. Bustinza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The American democratic system depends on the regular execution of free and fair elections, delivered by front-line public workers. Local election officials (LEOs), their staff, and temporary election workers are tasked with providing excellent constituent service and expertise with a high degree of professionalism. Following the 2020 U.S. presidential contest, the very institution of elections has been under attack. This exploratory study investigates the impact of emotional labor on election workers in this atmosphere. The authors uncover the presence and nuances of emotional labor in election administration and raise questions about what this means for the future of election administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-325
Number of pages18
JournalAdministration and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • democracy
  • election administration
  • emotional labor
  • front-line workers


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