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Denial of results in mid-term elections


On Election Day, voters in several battleground states will decide whether to put those in charge of running the election in denial of the final ballot results.

Ian Vandewalker photo

The man who voted Robin Beck/Getty

At the center of political debate during the midterm elections is the issue of denial of election results—Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. In many of the battleground states that could be pivotal in the 2024 presidential election, those who deny those results are running for office will play a major role in managing that contest.

The most important campaigns to watch with regard to the denial of results are for secretary of state in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin. It should be noted that despite the boasting of gains in primary fundraising and the support of a handful of megadonors pouring millions of dollars into their campaigns, those who deny the results far outnumber their opponents, who have raised much more money. Have gathered But even if they don’t do well in fundraising, secretaries of state candidates who deny the results tend to spread false stories of fraud more heavily on social media platforms ahead of the election.

Denial of results on ballot

In four battleground states, those who reject the results are running for secretary of state: Mark Finchem (R) of Arizona, Christina Karamo (R) of Michigan, Kim Crockett (R) of Minnesota and Jim Crockett of Nevada (R). Merchant (R). It is also important to watch the vote for Secretary of State in Wisconsin, for the reasons explained below.

In addition, candidates who rejected the result are running for governor in seven battleground states: Kari Lake (R) of Arizona, Ron DeSantis (R) of Florida, Tudor Dixon (R) of Michigan, Scott Jensen of Minnesota ( R), Joe Lombardo (R) from Nevada, Doug Mastriano (R) from Pennsylvania and Tim Mitchell (R) from Wisconsin.

Why Secretary of State Election Affairs

Running an election requires an understanding of complex administration processes, the weaknesses and advantages of different types of technology, the capacity of staff and volunteers, and the ways those factors will affect the voting and counting. Voter denial relies on believing or spreading falsehoods about all of these components of the voting process. If such misinformation is not corrected, it can undermine voter confidence or even cast doubt on the results of the next election.

Secretaries of state’s powers vary according to state law, but many can issue rules governing election procedures, such as purging voter rolls, early voting, and certification of results. In Arizona, the Secretary of State can certify a voting device and prevent it from being used. The Nevada Secretary of State sets the standards for counting votes.

In Wisconsin, the Secretary of State does not administer the elections; That authority is exercised by the State Election Commission, a bipartisan entity. But since 2020, politicians and candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Tim Mitchell, who denies the results, have attacked the commission with stories of election denial. Many have pressed for this to be removed and more power over elections given to the Secretary of State. Secretary of State candidate Amy Loudenbach (R) has also criticized the commission’s performance in 2020 and supported giving the office more power in elections.

race funding for secretary of state

Once a boring bureaucratic affair, campaigns for the secretary of state suddenly attract the attention of partisans in your state and across the country. In the six battleground states that will elect secretary of state this year, money raised by candidates as of the end of September totaled $26.4 million, more than double the $11.8 million raised by that date in 2018. Candidates receive much of their money from donors outside your state, and national outside groups, such as political action committee groups (super PACs), buy billions in multi-state advertising.

In the four contests in which Deniers ran for Secretary of State in the general election, he picked up a third more than his opponents. Things have changed a lot since the beginning of the election cycle, when incumbents in many primary campaigns raised more money than their opponents.

A small group of megadonors, some with multi-million dollar Super PAC donations, support candidates in various states who refuse to accept the results. These donors have been linked to efforts to contest the 2020 election, including the partisan review of voting in Maricopa County, Arizona, and the January 6 insurgency.

For example, in state elections, packaging magnates Richard and Elizabeth Uhlin raised $58 million for the campaigns of candidates who denied the results, including secretary of state. Of what the Uhlins have spent, however, $54 million has gone to support Republican Darren Bailey’s campaign for governor of Illinois.

Also notable as a large donor is Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock, who claims to have spent $20 million to challenge the 2020 election results and $300,000 to support candidates in several states who denied the results. Donated more than

Denial has intensified ahead of the election

Analysis of social media data shows fraud is a common theme in state candidates’ messages and drives activism. More than 31 percent of Facebook posts by Secretary of State candidates promote false stories about the election. On Twitter, lies by the candidates increased dramatically from August to September. In most cases, they were published by those who deny the election.

*The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan organization on politics and the law.

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