Nearly 6 in 10 Republican state legislature nominees in five key battleground states deny the results of the 2020 election, according to an analysis by a group tracking the races.
Of those 450 Republican nominees — including incumbents running for re-election and nonincumbents — in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Minnesota, 58% of them have echoed former President Donald Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him, according to research shared exclusively with NBC News by The States Project, a left-leaning group that tracked state legislative races in battleground states.
Experts warn that if enough of these election-denying nominees are elected, Republican majorities in the state houses of these crucial battlegrounds could have the power to rewrite election laws and affect future elections, including in 2024 when Trump might run again.
“When election deniers are in control, they will do whatever they can to undermine free and fair elections,” said Daniel Squadron, The States Project’s executive director.
“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” on “everything from who can register and who can vote to how the results are counted,” Squadron added.
Those five states (and many others) also feature election deniers as the Republican nominees in races for governor and secretary of state — offices that have the power to oversee, administer and certify elections. If election deniers in those races win, their ability to affect future elections could be made more robust by having cooperative election deniers in their state houses to help push legislation remaking certain election laws in those states.
“People who have such extreme views about the last election might push for changes to the voting process that would both make it harder to vote for eligible voters and make it much harder to administer elections,” said elections expert Rick Pildes, a New York University School of Law professor.
Pildes pointed to various proposals in states like Arizona and Nevada that would mandate counting ballots by hand and cut back on mail-in and absentee voting. Kari Lake, Arizona’s Republican nominee for governor, suggested last weekend that she would support efforts to curtail early voting if elected.