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Election officials and democracy experts are sounding the alarm as Republicans who deny the results of the 2020 election are now close to overseeing the voting process in five different states.
Arizona could become No. 6 on Tuesday, when GOP voters in the state’s primary decide whether they want to nominate one of the two nominees.
“These are the people who make the rules, count the votes, and ultimately are responsible for defending the will of the people,” said Joanna Lydgate, executive director of the United States Center for Democracy, a nonpartisan organization that tracks elections. – Rejection of candidates for governor, attorney general and secretary of state across the country. The United States of America shared its own The latest findings Exclusively with NPR ahead of their release.
“In 2020, when the president was trying to overturn an election, we saw all state and local officials across the country stand up and protect our freedom to vote,” Lydgate said. “So if we want to see this happen again in the future, we need to make sure that we put people in these positions who believe in free and fair elections.”
A secretary of state’s duties vary, but in most cases, they are the state’s highest voting official and play a key role in enforcing election laws.
Across the country, many Republican candidates for these offices — and others with a role in election administration, such as governor and attorney general — have bought into the lie that widespread fraud affected the results of the 2020 election.
Of the 16 Republican secretary of state primaries held so far this year, 12 have had at least one candidate question the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory, according to the United States.
And four of those candidates won seats in the November general election: in Alabama, Indiana, Nevada and New Mexico. A fifth candidate, Christina Karamo in Michigan, won the party’s vote to become the Republican nominee there at a nominating convention in April.
Rick Hasen, director of the Project on the Preservation of Democracy at UCLA, said that if either of those candidates wins in November and is elected state chairman, it could raise two major issues.
“One: Do they administer the election fairly? And two: Even if they do, will others believe that they administer the election fairly?” He said: Hassan is talking to NPR’s 1A. “This can really lead to a drastic reduction in the experience on the stage and the confidence that our elections are going to be fair.”
Many election deniers have used this false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen as justification for repealing voting access measures such as ballot boxes and other forms of early voting, as well as election security tools such as electronic registration information centers.
Tommy Patrick, a former Arizona election official and now a senior adviser at the Democracy Fund, called the trend “deeply troubling.”
“We can discuss policy issues, such as what is an appropriate timeline for voter registration or what security protocols are appropriate,” Patrick said. “But I never thought we’d be talking about the people who rule our electoral system… who feel they have to put their fingers on the scales.”
Patrick said he’s been talking to election officials in other countries who are looking to the United States for leadership, and he doesn’t know what to tell them.
“They tell me things like, ‘We look to you to set the benchmark… and if you’re struggling after hundreds of years of democracy, what hope do we have?'”
Will Arizona be #6?
Arizona’s secretary of state primary will be widely watched on Tuesday, as the state has become the epicenter of the election denial movement since 2020.
Two of the four Republican candidates running to oversee the vote there have made a name for themselves by admitting election conspiracies.
GOP state Rep. Shawna Bolick last year proposed a bill that would have allowed the legislature to override the will of the voters in selecting presidential nominees (a tactic adopted by Donald Trump’s team after the 2020 election).
Mark Fincham, another state representative running for Arizona’s top seat, introduced one Clarity To disconfirm the results of the 2020 elections in this state.
Fincham – An old member of the band Oath keepersa far-right extremist group — was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and in an interview with NPR earlier this year, he declined to call what happened there a riot or riot.
“What happens when people feel left out, and Congress refuses to condone massive fraud. #StopStealing.” He tweeted That day with a photo of people waving Trump flags on the steps of the Capitol.
Trump endorsed Fincham in the election campaign last September.
Two Republicans who do not deny the election Also running For Secretary of State in Arizona: Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Beau Linn.
Where Republican voters stand
Although Survey data Showing that a majority of Republican voters still believe fraud affected the 2020 election, this year’s early results paint a more complicated picture, with a number of prominent election deniers running against more moderate candidates who have not spread misinformation about the 2020 results. They have failed.
Overall, the United States found that election deniers actually lost more Republican primaries than they won races for governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.
That includes Georgia, where Trump’s representative, Jody Hayes, lost the Republican primary for Secretary of State to Brad Raffensperger, who spent the past two years arguing that the 2020 election was free and fair.
Also notable was Colorado, where The hero of election denial And Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is facing charges of election tampering, lost her bid for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State.
Peters finished second and the winner, said former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson Colorado Public Radio This was a sign that voters want professionals to be elected to these types of positions.
“We want free, accessible, and fair elections, and we will push back against partisan political rhetoric about election management,” Anderson said.
However, Lydgate, of the US, cautioned against focusing too much on where election deniers have failed. He pointed to Georgia in 2020, when Trump called Raffensperger after the election and pressed him to “find” votes, saying even one election denier in a position of power was too much.
“If someone else was in that position and willing to go along with it, we might see a different outcome,” he said. “The truth is that an election denier in a single state can throw our elections into chaos and put our democracy at risk.”