According to a study by a group monitoring the contests, nearly 6 in 10 Republican state legislator nominees in five crucial battleground states contest the outcome of the 2020 election.
According to data shared exclusively with NBC News by The States Project, a left-leaning organization that tracked state legislative races in swing states, 58% of the 450 Republican nominees in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, and Minnesota — including incumbents seeking re-election and nonincumbents — have repeated former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Experts caution that Republican majorities in the state houses in these important battleground states could have the authority to modify election laws and influence future elections, even in 2024 when Trump might run again. If enough of these election-denying nominees are elected.
The executive director of The States Project, Daniel Squadron, stated that “election deniers” would do anything to thwart free and fair elections if they were in power.
The actions of these people would have a significant impact on “everything from who can register and who can vote to how the results are counted,” said Squadron. “We know that the rules for elections and determining the winners are set through the legislative process, so what these folks do would have enormous impact.”
Republican candidates for governor and secretary of state, posts with the authority to monitor, administer, and certify elections, are election deniers in those five states as well as many others. Having supportive election deniers in their state houses to help push legislation rewriting specific election laws in those states could strengthen their capacity to influence future elections if election deniers in those races triumph.
According to election expert Rick Pildes, a professor at the New York University School of Law, “people who have such extreme views about the last election might push for changes to the voting process that would both make it harder for eligible voters to vote and make it much harder to administer elections.”
Pildes cited a number of proposals in places like Arizona and Nevada that would require manual ballot counting, limit mail-in and absentee voting, and enforce hand counting. Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, said last weekend that if elected, she would support efforts to curtail early voting.
According to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, legislators have passed at least 42 laws with voting limitations since Jan. 1, 2021, in at least 21 states.
According to the neutral States United Democracy Center, 24 legislation that interfere with election administration have already been enacted into law across 17 states in 2022, and hundreds more have been filed. The majority of the most severe proposals, such as the measures in Arizona that would Pennsylvania and Michigan over election outcomes, might make it easier for state legislators to annul election results. Others would grant a state’s partisan majority legislature to conduct election audits or greater authority to nominate their own electors (though experts like Pildes have suggested such proposals might be ultimately deemed unconstitutional).
Depending on how the Supreme Court rules on a significant election-related issue next year, the potential influence state legislatures may have on elections in the future may grow even more. Republicans are largely attempting to restrict the ability of state courts to examine gerrymandered maps and voting restrictions in the Moore v. Harper case. But if the justices choose a conservative legal theory in their decision—known as the independent state legislative theory—it might have the result of giving state legislatures sole authority to enact laws governing elections in the states.
During disagreements over the 2020 presidential election, Trump’s allies argued for that stance, asserting that state courts lacked the jurisdiction to alter the procedures for voting by mail. These arguments were unsuccessful, but at least four Americans did. The Supreme Court determined that they had some merit.
In December, the court is scheduled to hear arguments in that case.
The outcome of future presidential elections may very well depend on how crucial battleground states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan conduct their upcoming elections.
According to Pildes, “there are many reasons, based on what some of the candidates in these states have said, to worry about how that discretion may be used.” State legislatures have a great deal of latitude within the constraints imposed by federal law regarding how to regulate the election process.
Squadron continued, “These are crucial presidential swing states, where razor-thin margins select winners.
A candidate who disputed or contested the outcome of the 2020 election was referred to as an election denier in The States Project’s study. The Democratic organization focuses on winning state elections. The committee considered each Republican state legislative candidate’s public remarks, social media posts, and policy commitments before reaching its decisions in Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.
According to the group’s findings, election skeptics predominated in Arizona state legislative races, where they comprised 87% of all Republican nominees.
Among them are state senator Wendy Rogers, state representative called, and state senator candidate Justine Wadsack, who both endorse she would support efforts to curtail early voting1 for the results of the 2020 elections in their respective states.
Hoffman was also one of a small group of allegedly fraudulent electors in the state who signed documents claiming to be the legitimate electors of their state and that Trump, not Joe Biden, had won the state.
The study discovered that 62% of all Republican state legislative nominees in Pennsylvania and Michigan denied the results of elections.
This includes at least eight candidates or incumbents for the Michigan state Senate who had signed various she would support efforts to curtail early voting2s or briefs that sought to invalidate the state’s 2020 election results or postpone the certification of the results.
Election skeptics made up 42% of all Republican candidates in state legislative contests in Minnesota and 31% of those in Nevada. This includes a number of incumbents and candidates in she would support efforts to curtail early voting3 who had she would support efforts to curtail early voting4 or contested the 2020 election results.
We have valid reasons to be concerned about the integrity of the “electoral” process at all levels, and one of those issues is what the state legislatures might do, Pildes said.