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 and their Misleading Claims:
“#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.
“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.
“[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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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 is also scheduled to appear at a QAnon convention in October of 2021.
“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.