Tag Archives: Secretary of State elections

How To Rig The Vote

I want to follow up on yesterday’s extra post.

Psychiatrists have a word for it: projection. The “Big Lie” is a classic example–accuse the other team of doing what, in fact, your own guys are doing and/or attempting to do. 

The most obvious cases are the vanishingly few situations in which a particular voter is found to have committed vote fraud of some sort; in every news report of such behavior that I’ve seen, the culprit was Republican. Reliable research shows that individual voting misbehaviors are not only rare, they aren’t the problem. These scattered incidents don’t change results.

We also know that, despite hysterical accusations, non-citizens aren’t descending on polling places and casting votes for “the other side.”

As Paul Ogden has frequently reminded us, the real danger isn’t coming from people casting votes. The threat is that the people counting those votes will be dishonest. So we should all be concerned by that recent report from the Brennan Center.

Across the coun­try, races are well under­way for offices like state secret­ary of state that will play key roles in running the 2024 elec­tions. This year, these races are attract­ing far more atten­tion than in recent memory. Part of the reason for the increas­ing visib­il­ity of elec­tion offi­cials is the spread of the Big Lie that elec­tion fraud “stole” the 2020 race from Pres­id­ent Trump. In state after state, campaigns are focused on elec­tion denial as a cent­ral issue.

In this series, the Bren­nan Center exam­ines the finances and polit­ical messages in contests that are import­ant to the future of elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion. Through­out 2022, we are taking a regu­lar look at relev­ant contests in battle­ground states that had the closest results in the 2020 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion. As candid­ates file disclos­ure forms and inform­a­tion becomes avail­able, we will exam­ine ques­tions such as how much money is raised, who the biggest donors are, how much candid­ates rely on small donors, and how much outside spend­ers like super PACs and dark money groups spend.

After examining available data on races for secret­ary of state in the states in the states in the sample, the Center found some key trends. They are disturbing enough that I am quoting them in their entirety:

Money is flow­ing into secret­ary of state races at a rate not seen in recent memory. Across the six battle­ground states we are track­ing, candid­ates have collect­ively raised $13.3 million, more than two and a half times the $4.7 million raised by the analog­ous point in the 2018 cycle, and more than five times that of 2014.

New data in secret­ary of state contests reveals elec­tion deniers in Arizona, Geor­gia, and Nevada either in the lead or running a close second in fundrais­ing. On the other hand, candid­ates who have condemned elec­tion denial have over­whelm­ing fundrais­ing leads so far in Michigan and Minnesota.

Illus­trat­ing the nation­al­iz­a­tion of secret­ary of state races, national groups and donors are spend­ing to influ­ence them, includ­ing Donald Trump’s lead­er­ship PAC and others with ties to efforts to chal­lenge the 2020 result. On the other side, several national liberal groups are newly becom­ing active in secret­ary of state and local races to support oppon­ents of the Big Lie.

Donors who have not given to secret­ary of state candid­ates before are making major contri­bu­tions with a clear pattern of support for elec­tion denial candid­ates or for candid­ates who are running on the threat elec­tion denial poses to demo­cracy.

Elec­tion denial claims, as well as claims that it is an exist­en­tial threat to demo­cracy, are heat­ing up at the state level, and they are also show­ing up in more local elec­tion offi­cial contests, notably in Geor­gia and Nevada. Super PACs on both sides of the issue spent to influ­ence local races in Wiscon­sin in April. In those elec­tions, of the six candid­ates suppor­ted by outside messaging cast­ing doubt on the last elec­­tion, five won office, and three of those unseated incum­bents.

There is much more detail at the link. The report also collected campaign state­ments and ads premised on or supportive of the Big Lie in ten battleground states. And it identifies the national funders of those efforts. I encourage you to read the entire report.

As the January 6th Committee hearings get underway, we are learning that the insurrection on that date was only one manifestation of a concerted effort at a coup–a deliberate effort to overturn the will of the people that began almost immediately after the election. The Brennan report is evidence–if more evidence was needed–that January 6th was not a “one off” nor a spontaneous event.  The cabal plotting that coup and its fellow-travelers are nothing if not persistent. 

The people screaming “Stop the Steal” are precisely the people intent upon stealing the next election. They have to be stopped.