‘Alarm Bells’ Ring In Red States Where Election Deniers Are Set To Lead Election Offices

by | Nov 1, 2022 | Politics

In June, Wyoming’s secretary of state came out forcefully against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s effort to spread lies about the 2020 election. Then-Secretary of State Ed Buchanan (R) said Lindell was “NOT the purveyor of election integrity truth” but rather a “peddler of pillows and promises.” Buchanan quoted Socrates and painstakingly detailed all of the ways Lindell had avoided providing any evidence of his claims. “No credible candidate for any office in Wyoming can say that Wyoming lacks election integrity,” Buchanan said. AdvertisementThings have changed in the state. Buchanan left the office last month for a state judgeship, leaving behind an interim secretary. Now, the race to become Wyoming’s top election official is uncontested: State Rep. Chuck Gray (R), a Donald Trump-endorsed election denier who has referred to the 2020 race as “clearly rigged,” is next in line for the job.Gray is part of a wave of red state candidates for top election jobs who are bringing Trump’s election lies with them into office. Outside of nationwide media attention and the checks of a bipartisan state government, they may end up with more political leverage to act on Trump’s lies than others in more closely watched states like Michigan and Nevada. In Indiana, Republican Secretary of State candidate Diego Morales has denounced the 2020 election as a “scam” and called for “every Hoosier vote in-person” with only limited exceptions. In Wisconsin ― which could elect a veto-proof Republican legislative majority this year ― Republican Amy Loudenbeck has campaigned on taking election authorities away from the state’s bipartisan election commission, and gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels has said there were “certainly illegal ballots” in 2020. ‘The First Time In Anyone’s Memory’In Wyoming, Gray is the clearest example of what those beliefs would mean in practice. As a state legislator, he wanted Wyoming to join Texas’ lawsuit to overturn the 2020 election results; as a candidate, he has held screenings of the repeatedly debunked conspiracy theory film “2000 Mules,” saying it “clearly demonstrated how the woke, big tech left has stolen elections with ballot drop boxes.” He has promised to ban drop boxes as secretary of state, claiming they “open up our elections to ballot harvesting fraud.” AdvertisementAnd, after a visit to the shambolic “audit” of 2020 votes in the Phoenix area ― a review that found no fraud, but did somewhat inexplicably examine ballot paper for bamboo fibers ― Gray pushed to give the Wyoming legislature audit authority and signed a letter saying the election had been plagued by “corruption and mismanagement,” c …

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