On Tuesday, the elections analysts at FiveThirtyEight reported a stark statistic: a majority of Americans will have at least one person on their ballot who denies or questions the results of the 2020 presidential election when they go to vote in November.
"From the Carolinas to California, Montana to Florida, election denialism has spread across the country," said the report. "Candidates who support former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen will appear on ballots in nearly every state this fall. FiveThirtyEight drew on news reports, debate footage, campaign materials and social media and reached out to every single Republican nominee for the House, Senate, governor, secretary of state and attorney general to determine their position on the 2020 election."
Of the 529 candidates surveyed, said the report, 195 "fully denied" the election results, either claiming the election was stolen from Trump or even participating in schemes to overturn the result or submit fake Trump electors in states President Joe Biden won. Another 61 "raised questions" about the result: "These candidates haven’t gone so far as to say explicitly that the election was stolen or take legal action to overturn it. However, they haven’t said the election was legitimate either. In fact, they have raised doubts about potential fraud."
Another 115 refused to give a clear answer when asked directly, and 158 accepted or mostly accepted the election result.
"In the House, many of these election deniers look poised to win. Using the latest data from FiveThirtyEight’s 2022 midterm election forecast, we can see that 118 election deniers and eight election doubters have at least a 95 percent chance of winning. Several additional candidates who have denied the election are in competitive races," noted the report. "In the Senate, though ... only three election deniers are safe bets to join the seven senators not up for reelection who objected to the certification of the 2020 election. However, a handful more still have a real shot at winning." Meanwhile, at least six people who question the election to varying degrees are near certain to win governor races, with others like Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania and Kari Lake of Arizona in close races.
"An election denier winning election and taking office is more than a symbolic concern," concluded the report. "An election-denying secretary of state could refuse to certify an election that he or she believes was rigged. An election-denying governor could attempt to submit electoral votes that defy the will of the people. And election-denying senators and representatives could vote to count those electoral votes. The 2022 election will determine how many of these candidates get that chance."