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  • Election Denial in Races for Election Administration Positions

In battleground states’ contests for the offices that will run the 2024 elections, many campaigns are centered on the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Since 2020, elec­tion denial — claims that the process or result of the last pres­id­en­tial elec­tion was ille­git­im­ate — has become prom­in­ent in Amer­ican polit­ics. Increas­ingly, it is a highly visible issue in races for elec­­tion admin­is­tra­­tion posi­­tions. Many elec­ted offi­cials, from county or town clerk or super­visor to statewide offi­cials like governor or secret­ary of state, play a role in decid­ing how people vote, how ballots are coun­ted, and how results are certi­fied. Candid­ates for these offices are making their claims about the legit­im­acy of the last elec­tion cent­ral to their case that the voters should choose them to run the next.

Even as some campaigns claim wide­s­pread fraud in the 2020 elec­­tion, others defend the vote as secure and accur­ate and raise alarms about the dangers of proponents of the Big Lie running future elec­tions. Both sides impli­­citly or expli­­citly argue that control of elec­­tion admin­is­tra­­tion decided in 2022 will determ­ine the future and survival of Amer­­ican demo­cracy.

In all six of the battle­­­ground states with secret­ary of state elec­­tions in 2022, there is at least one candid­ate who has ques­­tioned the legit­­im­acy of the last pres­id­en­­tial elec­­tion. The same stance is espoused by gubernat­orial or local candid­ates in almost all the 10 likely battle­ground states we are study­ing. 

In a related series, we are track­ing the finan­cing of contests for elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion posi­tions in battle­ground states.

Here we collect state­­ments, ads, and the like that indic­ate each of these candid­ates is making elec­­tion denial an issue in their campaign, includ­ing those running in oppos­i­tion to elec­tion denial. We focus on the states with the closest margins in the 2020 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion: Arizona, Flor­ida, Geor­gia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hamp­shire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wiscon­sin (North Caro­lina does not have races for elec­tion offi­cials in 2022). We are track­ing contests for governor, secret­ary of state, as well as local elec­tion offi­cials in key juris­dic­tions.