Page last updated: 06.22.22
Election administration has become increasingly a partisan issue in the wake of the 2020 election and an unprecedented lack of acceptance of results. The former president has claimed that the presidential election was “rigged” or “stolen;” as a result, more than half of Republican voters believe President Biden was illegitimately elected. In this hyper-partisan climate, competent incumbent election officials are likely to face well-financed challengers seeking to capitalize on conspiracy theories and disproven claims.
These primary challengers pose a significant risk to the integrity of our elections. If elected, partisan loyalists who echo false election conspiracy theories may be tempted to subvert elections, spread misinformation and deepen public distrust.
This problem demands a systemic solution. Our state election chiefs must be selected in a fair, unbiased process, buffered from partisanship, and given the power to conduct elections securely, safely, and effectively.
For more info on how we can fix this system, click here to view our report.
Candidates to watch:
“Alabama taxpayers do not want their information provided to a Soros-funded, leftist group like ERIC.”
–Press Release, January 31
State Rep. Wes Allen made headlines for his intent to withdraw Alabama from the cross-state electronic voter registration database, ERIC, accusing the system of being “leftist” (which the current Republican Secretary of State, John Merrill, denies). Allen has also supported false information and efforts to overturn the 2020 election on Twitter.
“The corruption of elections that [my wife] and I witnessed took us to D.C. on January 6th.”
–Campaign announcement, January 31
Hueper gained notoriety in the press when his home was mistakenly raided by the FBI in connection to the January 6th capitol riot. While Hueper and his wife did not participate, Hueper is an active supporter of President Trump and alleges that “thousands” of election officials saw corruption take place during the 2020 elections. Hueper has gone so far as to state that “our vice president turned his back on us” regarding former V.P. Pence’s refusal to attempt to subvert the election results in Congress.
“#StopTheSteal has been instrumental in fighting the election fraud we’ve discovered!”
–via Twitter, December 5, 2020
First elected to the Arizona House in 2014, Rep. Finchem has consistently spread disinformation about the 2020 election, including claims that the election was stolen. He is affiliated with the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, and indicated support for the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. On May 8, 2021, Finchem appeared on a QAnon conspiracy talk show, and is scheduled to appear at a Las Vegas QAnon conference in October 2021.
Finchem was a key player in the debunked Arizona Senate GOP’s so-called “audit” of the 2020 presidential election, and continues to maintain that President Trump won Arizona despite the contrary findings of the Trump-backed election review.
“Why did instructions included with a mail-in ballot on how to fill out a ballot change from using a black ballpoint pen to having voters voting at a voting center use a sharpie?”
–via Twitter, November 6, 2020
As seen above, Rep. Bolick promoted the widely-debunked “sharpiegate” conspiracy theory days after it was reported to be false. Also worth noting is that Bolick was the primary sponsor of the controversial bill HB 2720, which would have given the legislature the ability to ignore the state’s vote total and the Secretary of State’s certification of electors in favor of the preferred candidate of its members.
“I want to fight against the Biden and the radical left to take over our vote, and I am the wall between your vote and nationalized elections.”
–on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, February 14, 2022
Peters is the Mesa County, CO Clerk and Recorder who has embraced 2020 election conspiracy theories amid a grand jury investigation into allegations of election equipment tampering and official misconduct. In late 2021, a Mesa County Court judge upheld the Secretary of State’s order removing Ms. Peters from overseeing elections in the county and replacing her with an appointed Republican. In early February 2022, Peters turned herself in to authorities for charges of obstructing a peace officer and obstructing government operations.
Peters has received the endorsement of former Colorado SOS candidate David Winney, a fellow election denier who exited the race on March 7th, 2022.
“It was an honor and privilege to be in the studio with Steve Bannon and to be featured on his show.”
–via Twitter, January 5, 2021
In addition to appearing on the talk show of a known election outcome denier and conspiracy theorist, Morales has said he will “help take back the presidency in ’24” and that Trump had the “right politics” when alleging he won the presidency in 2020. Morales once worked for the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, but left after being twice written up for poor performance.
In June of 2022, Morales upset incumbent Secretary of State Holli Sullivan for his party’s nomination for the general election ballot.
“Right now I’ve got my own war drum — and I’m waiting for the other side to give me reason to pound on it. And I will. Say when.”
–via Facebook, September 2020
Brown, a former commissioner from Johnson County, is running to replace incumbent Republican Secretary of State Scott Schwab in 2022. Brown has echoed unfounded concerns that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by supposed voter fraud, and has referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as a “political stunt.” Johnson lost his bid for re-election to the Johnson County Commission in 2020 after making controversial calls to take up arms during a period of racial unrest. Currently, neither Brown nor Schwab has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
“We’re supposed to accept these results? I think not. We don’t lay down. We rise and we will fight in court and in the streets. At every turn at every opportunity and NEVER FATIGUE.”
–via Twitter, November 2020
“States like Michigan maintain insecure election systems having been exploited by those who stole the last election from the electorate having reelected President Trump.”
–via Official Campaign Website, May 2021
A college professor and frequent guest on conservative media panels, Karamo continues to insist that results in Antrim County, Michigan were fraudulent, despite the fact that audits proved otherwise. Karamo has spent weeks fighting the results of the 2020 election, and still maintains that President Trump won the state (and the election generally), even going so far as to file to intervene in a court case which sought to overturn electoral college results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. In October of 2021, Karamo announced that she would be speaking at a QAnon conference event in Las Vegas.
Karamo was endorsed by the Michigan GOP on April 23, 2022.
“Our voter data hero!”
–Comment on the Facebook post of an election conspiracy theorist, March 2022
Crockett, a lawyer who was suspended from her role at a conservative think tank for her remarks about Somali refugees, has not out-and-out denied the results of the 2020 election. However, as referenced above, she associates with election conspiracy theorists, and handed out literature at a “Behind the Election Corruption Curtain” event hosted by fringe groups in Brainerd, MN.
Crockett received the endorsement of the Minnesota GOP on May 13, 2022.
“We stand with you, President Trump, 100%. No election can be counted if fraud/cheating is involved. The evidence stacks up a mile high.”
–via Twitter, December 22, 2020
Former Nevada Assemblyman Jim Marchant is running to fill the open seat left by outgoing, term-limited Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. Marchant has repeated disproven claims about the veracity of the 2020 election, and though he conceded defeat in his own 2020 run for congress, still asserts that “some shenanigans” were involved in his loss, and that both his race and former President Trump’s were “stolen.” Marchant claims to have been approached by Trump allies personally to run for Secretary of State, and appeared with conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell at a speaking event. Marchant was also scheduled to appear at a QAnon convention in October of 2021.
On June 14, 2022, Marchant won the Nevada Secretary of State Republican Primary.
“Until we get a handle on the voter fraud in NM, all election are going to continue to be rigged. Why run? Run to lose? Thoughts anyone?
–via Twitter, March 21, 2021
Audrey Trujillo has cast doubt on the integrity of elections and boosted conspiracy theories on her Twitter page, including spreading anti-semitic “new world order” materials. On her Facebook, Trujillo has also posted falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines.
Trujillo ran uncontested in the New Mexico Secretary of State Republican Primary.
“Borrelli has levied claims that hundreds of thousands of votes across the state were illegally altered in 2020, and that local auditors ‘used uncertified voting systems’ to tabulate ballots.”
–MYNorthwest Article, April 4, 2022
Borrelli is the director of an organization called the “Washington Election Integrity Coalition United” (WEICU). WEICU filed several baseless lawsuits claiming fraud in the 2020 election in Washington, and called for so-called “forensic audits” of the results.
“Thirty-two sitting or recently elected state lawmakers signed a letter urging Gov. Mark Gordon to engage Wyoming in a lawsuit brought by the Texas attorney general that seeks to overturn the presidential election results of four swing states.”
–WyoFile Article, December 9, 2020
Shortly after incumbent Secretary of State Ed Buchanan announced he would not seek re-election, Senator Dockstader, the President of the Wyoming State Senate, announced his candidacy for the position. Dockstader was one of 32 Wyoming state senators to sign a letter advocating to overturn the 2020 presidential election results based on no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing.
“‘2000 Mules’ clearly demonstrated how the woke, big tech left has stolen elections with ballot drop boxes.”
–Cowboy State Daily Article, June 15, 2022
In June of 2022, as part of his campaign for Secretary of State, Rep. Gray hosted a screening of the debunked “documentary” 2000 Mules by right-wing filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, which alleges, against all evidence, that fraud occurred in the 2020 Presidential Election.
“He said that ‘extremely concerning questions remain’ about election administration in Georgia and Arizona, and he claims there were some ‘preliminary information’ to suggest ‘strange voting returns’ in several conservative-leaning counties in Alabama.”
–AL.com article, February 6, 2022
As seen above, Ziegler has cast doubt on the validity of the 2020 election. He also is endorsed by conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, and touted this endorsement on his campaign Twitter page.
“I do believe Donald Trump was elected president [in 2020].”
–via Interview, June 9, 2021
Though five-term Rep. Mark Lowery announced his candidacy for Secretary of State, he decided to run for Arkansas State Treasurer on January 25, 2022.
“[QAnon] just speaks my language. I love it.”
–via video interview, February 3, 2021
Rachel Hamm, a pro-Trump author and media personality, is seeking the Republican nomination for the position of Chief Election Official in California. Hamm is notable for her public support of QAnon conspiracy theories. Additionally, Hamm has made false claims about “2 million” inaccurately registered voters in the state of California, and has received the endorsements of Trump affiliate Roger Stone and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell.
“In the 3 days of this Cyber Symposium, the overwhelming evidence of stolen election(s) cannot be ignored.”
–via campaign website, August 18, 2021
Winney has accused incumbent Secretary of State Jena Griswold of acting illegally during the 2020 election. On his official campaign website, Winney has posted “news” from notorious sources of election disinformation, including Mike Lindell and Mark Finchem. On March 7, 2022, Winney exited the race and endorsed Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.
“Millions of Americans — myself included — feel that @realDonaldTrump was robbed of victory on Nov 3. […] For the sake of our democracy, I WILL OBJECT on Jan 6!!!”
–via Twitter, January 3, 2021
Rep. Hice, a U.S. Congressman with a history of repeating disproven election claims, has been endorsed by former U.S. President Donald Trump against current Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In a May 2021 appeal to Georgia voters, Hice called Raffensperger a “back-stabbing” Republican for refusing Donald Trump’s demand to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, claiming Raffensperger worked “arm and arm with Stacey Abrams to deliver the presidency and Senate to the radical left.” Also worth noting is that Hice was one of more than 100 lawmakers to object to the certification of the Georgia electoral vote.
“[Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger] certified the wrong result.”
–via interview, September 22, 2021
Belle Isle, the former mayor of Alpharetta, challenged current Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the 2018 election. Though Raffensperger ran a secure election, certified the correct results, and withstood immense partisan pressure, Belle Isle writes on his campaign website: “Raffensperger single-handedly bargained away our election integrity and skewered the credibility or our mail-in ballots.” One campaign ad features a depiction of Raffensperger jumping into a car with the vanity plate “VOTESTLR.”
“The Governor has taken no action to address voter fraud!”
–via Facebook, January 5, 2021
“I do not think that Joe Biden won the presidential election, but he has been named president and that’s been certified.”
–via Debate, April 26, 2022
Senator Souza has made unfounded claims of wrongdoing in the 2020 election, that a “death by a thousand cuts” across the states caused Biden to be wrongfully elected.
“The fact that big tech, weaponized government agencies, and thugs (Chinese Communist Party) are doing everything humanly possible to shut down Mike Lindell, the Cyber Symposium, and all platforms or persons trying to get we the people the truth, demonstrates we are telling the truth!”
–via Facebook, August 10, 2021
A former Navy intelligence officer, Parrish has made unsuccessful bids for governor, senator, and Republican Party chair in Minnesota. As seen above, Parrish is a sympathizer of conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, whose allegations of fraud have been repeatedly disproven. Parish has repeatedly claimed fraud was involved in the outcomes of the 2020 election, not only for president, but across Minnesota. Parrish has also made pleas for the public to “not comply” with the “COVID scam” and has made insinuations that the Democrats are involved with human trafficking and/or the creation of COVID-19, both QAnon talking points.
“The senator should know Biden isn’t President. Basic stuff.“
–via Twitter, March 2021
Borer is a retired firefighter, an election conspiracy theorist, and an anti-vaccine activist. Though Borer doesn’t believe that Biden won the 2020 election, he has also been critical of fellow Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, for promoting vaccines and COVID health safety.
“Many of the problems this country face today are a direct result of a Fraudulent Election in my opinion.”
–via Facebook, December 2021
Schroder has repeatedly cast doubt on the integrity of the voting machines used in the 2020 election in Nebraska, calling for them to be thrown in the river. As seen above, he also has cast suspicion on the legitimacy of elections generally.
A draft [state constitution] proposal integrates elements of the conspiracy, including an official recognition that a “Cabal” is attempting to “control & corrupt the State of Nevada.”
–Associated Press story, September 6, 2020
Gerhardt, who previously ran for office as an independent, is seeking the GOP nomination for Secretary of State. In addition to subscribing to QAnon “deep state” conspiracy theories, the Nevada Current reports that Gerhardt does not believe the COVID-19 pandemic is real.
“I’d stay with the fact that there were shenanigans that went on in [the 2020] election and there are questions that have not been resolved yet.”
–via interview, August 23, 2021
Former Ohio State Rep John Adams is running in the Republican primary against incumbent Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Adams has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, despite the fact that conspiracy theories about voter fraud have been debunked. That Adams refers to such “shenanigans” as “fact” alone is cause for concern.
“Maras-Lindeman has promised her followers that the plot will bring about ‘retaliation’ for what she believes was a stolen election last November…”
–VICE article, June 2, 2021
Maras-Lindeman is a pro-Trump podcaster and Twitch streamer who was central to Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In a civil fraud case, attorneys for the state of North Dakota said that Maras-Lindeman falsely claimed to be a medical doctor and to have both a PhD and an MBA.