Republicans Running For Secretary of State Look to Overturn Elections

According to a new report from the New York Times, “Nearly two dozen Republicans who have publicly questioned or disputed the results of the 2020 election are running for secretary of state across the country”  – an effort to subvert elections by weaponizing the offices in charge of overseeing the electoral process.

In key swing states like Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada, Republican candidates – many who are endorsed by Donald Trump and all of whom have hawked the Big Lie about the 2020 election – are using an anti-democracy playbook to take over local, statewide, and national elections.

Under the guise of Trump’s Big Lie, the GOP could transform this “once-obscure state-level office” and “put their thumbs on the scales of fair elections.”

The New York Times: Campaigning to Oversee Elections, While Denying the Last One

By: Jennifer Medina, Nick Corasaniti, & Reid Epstein | January 30, 2022

Key Points:

  • “Nearly two dozen Republicans who have publicly questioned or disputed the results of the 2020 election are running for secretary of state across the country, in some cases after being directly encouraged by allies of former President Donald J. Trump.”
  • “Their candidacies are alarming watchdog groups, Democrats and some fellow Republicans, who worry that these Trump supporters, if elected to posts that exist largely to safeguard and administer the democratic process, would weaponize those offices to undermine it — whether by subverting an election outright or by sowing doubts about any local, state or federal elections their party loses.”
  • “That intense focus on a once-obscure state-level office has dramatically transformed its place in American politics — and the pool of candidates it attracts. Campaigns for secretaries of state this year are attracting more money, more attention and more brazenly partisan candidates than ever before.”
  • “All told, some 21 candidates who dispute Mr. Biden’s victory are running for secretary of state in 18 states, according to States United Action, a nonpartisan group tracking races for secretary of state throughout the country.”
  • “‘It’s like putting arsonists in charge of the Fire Department,’ said Joanna Lydgate, the group’s chief executive. ‘When we think about the anti-democracy playbook, you change the rules and you change the players so you can change the outcome.’”
  • “Many of the election deniers are running in solidly red states where it is less likely that their actions could tilt a presidential election. But several others, who have formed a coalition calling itself the America First slate, are running in states won by Mr. Biden in 2020, including in the crucial battleground states of Michigan, Arizona and Nevada.”
  • “The coalition’s members are coordinating talking points and sharing staff members and fund-raising efforts — an unusual degree of cooperation for down-ballot candidates from different states.”
  • “Had secretaries of state taken their cues from Mr. Trump in the last election, they could have put their thumbs on the scales of fair elections by forcing the closure of polling places, removing ballot drop boxes or withholding other resources that could make voting easier in heavily Democratic precincts. Worse, critics say, they could have raised doubts about, or even refused to certify, Mr. Biden’s victories.”

Read the full report here.