Voting in crucial swing states could be supervised by election skeptics. Here are some events to watch.

Republicans Jim Marchant of Nevada, Kristina Karamo of Michigan, and Mark Finchem of Arizona have all contested the validity of the 2020 election, in that order.

Scott Olson/Getty Images; Mario Tama/Getty Images; Marco Bello/Reuters This midterm election cycle, voters in some states are faced with a stark decision: Do they want someone to oversee voting in their state who contests the validity of the 2020 election?

That could seem absurd in a different political setting, given that a court challenge and an hand-count audits of paper ballots determined that the 2020 election was one of the most accurate and accessible in American history.

However, among voters who lean conservative, confidence in elections has risen to eroded considerably in 2022, causing Republican candidates to take their lead.

Many election authorities, as well as democracy experts, are raising concerns about this tendency.

According to Amel Ahmed, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, “the destiny of democracy essentially relies on whether or not losers accept defeat and whether they perceive losses as losses.” If you have the belief that every defeat is the result of cheating on the part of the opposing team, democracy will likely face difficulties.

ELECTIONS Election denialists have used the fabrication that the 2020 election was rigged as rationale to limit early voting options and ballot drop boxes, as well as to cast doubt on some election security mechanisms like the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC.

Democrat and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson expressed concern about the possibility of a disruption in the 2024 election certification process as well as the misinformation issues it could present if an election denier is in a position of authority and is able to make lies about voting seem more credible. This concern is in addition to the practical voting changes an election-denying voting official could implement.

Benson stated during a press conference on Thursday that “we’re very much in the thick of a national attempt to discredit our elections.” There will be those who decide to pursue careers in politics first, election administration second, or not at all.

Kristina Karamo, a community college professor who gained notoriety for falsely asserting she witnessed election fraud in Detroit during the most recent presidential election, is Benson’s opponent in her reelection campaign this autumn.

When it comes to democracy and the control of the American electoral process, their contest is one of the down-ballot elections to watch this week.

MICHIGAN The Michigan Republicans nonetheless made the decision to double down on their base supporters when choosing candidates for attorney general and secretary of state in a state that supported Joe Biden in the 2020 election by more than 150,000 votes.

Both Matthew DePerno, the GOP’s nominee for attorney general, and Karamo, who has previously brought a lawsuit this year based on conspiracy theories against postal voting, received former President Donald Trump’s support.

ELECTIONS DePerno is being investigated for using an alleged plot to seize and tamper with voting machines, while Karamo is being investigated because of her ties to the QAnon movement and her earlier statements, including one in which she opposed evolution education in schools.

In a July 2019 video, according to CNN , she claimed that “evolution is one of the biggest hoaxes that has been perpetrated on humankind.”

Even though both candidates won the majority of party loyalists’ votes in a nomination convention in the spring, more establishment Republicans were still concerned about the candidates’ chances of winning in a purple state.

State Representative Beau LaFave, a Republican who ran against Qanon Karamo for secretary of state, declared at the time that “QAnon Karamo is too insane for us” will appear in every advertisement from “now” until November.

Dana Nessel, the current attorney general, was first elected in 2018 and has garnered media attention for her refusal to implement Michigan’s anti-abortion statute. DePerno is up against Nessel. Republicans, notably DePerno, have attempted to criticize Nessel using culture war cliches since she was the first openly gay person to be elected to statewide office in Michigan. They have seized on a joke she made ‘s statement during a press conference over the summer that “drag queens for every school” should exist.

After failing in her first attempt to win the position in 2010, Benson was also first elected in 2018. She is the author of a book regarding the function of secretaries of state in American democracy and the former dean of Wayne State University’s law school.

Benson came under intense scrutiny leading up to the 2020 election, largely as a result of unfounded allegations made about Michigan’s elections system by hand-count audits 0. Nevertheless, Benson is well-respected in the field of elections, and she has long taken pride in being hand-count audits 1 with Frank LaRose, the Republican (and Trump-endorsed) secretary of state of Ohio.

ARIZONA Since 2020, Arizona has served as the hub of election skepticism in many ways.

One of the hand-count audits 2 vote-counting conspiracies, known as “SharpieGate,” erupted in Maricopa County, Arizona, not long after voting in that election was completed.

A half-year later, the Cyber Ninjas started their widely debunked “audit” of the Maricopa County election (which also confirmed that Biden won).

ELECTIONS Republican candidates for hand-count audits 3 of the statewide posts with a role in election administration are currently contesting the results of the 2020 election.

Many people are concerned about how voting will proceed in the state if they win because of this.

In a rally for Democrats in the state on Wednesday night in Phoenix, former President Barack Obama warned that “democracy as we know it may not survive” if Republicans take control of those offices.

Adrian Fontes, a former elections official, is running for secretary of state against Mark Finchem, a far-right candidate who self-identifies as a member of the hand-count audits 5 and was present at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 when rioters interfered with the certification of Biden’s victory.

Finchem said he did not enter the Capitol that day in an interview with NPR from earlier this year, but he also maintained his assertion that the 2020 election was rigged.

Trump endorsed Finchem last September and has also endorsed the other candidates who are contesting the results of the governor and senatorial elections in Arizona.

In the contest for governor, current secretary of state Katie Hobbs is up against election skeptic Kari Lake, who has already received an hand-count audits 6 that was founded on false information about voting.

NEVADA The Silver State may be the state with the lowest visibility when it comes to election fraud, but a trend toward ballot hand-counts in rural counties demonstrates that voter disinformation is also spreading here.

ELECTIONS POLLS hand-count audits 7 show a close race for chief voting official, despite Democratic candidate Cisco Aguilar’s money advantage in hand-count audits 8.

Aguilar, a lawyer who served on the state’s Athletic Commission for a while, claims that his hand-count audits 9 would involve lobbying the Nevada government to make it a crime to intimidate or harass election workers.

Republican Jim Marchant, a former state assemblyman, is his opponent. He claims that election fraud caused him to lose the race in 2020, although he hasn’t provided any proof of it.

Trump has endorsed Marchant, and during a recent event in Minden, Nevada, he underlined their shared political ideologies.

President Trump and I both lost elections in 2020 as a result of a corrupt process, Marchant remarked. Since Nov. 4, 2020, I’ve been working to make public what happened, and what I discovered is awful.

Marchant has been a key advocate of the local push to return to hand-counting ballots, despite the fact that that counting method has been repeatedly found to be less accurate and more resource-intensive. Finchem, Karamo, and Marchant all declare they want to implement most accurate and accessible 0 early voting.

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