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Election Fraud Movement Asserts Itself on Policy Stage, Campaign Trail

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Friday, May 20, 2022   

Examples of proposed policies and candidates tied to false claims of election fraud have spread to Minnesota, and a new national report found the movement is not slowing down ahead of this fall's vote.

A trio of voter-rights groups issued findings into how state legislatures are trying to subvert elections, including more leeway to reject results, requiring partisan or outside audits, and shifting power away from election administrators. Some ideas have been floated by Minnesota Republicans but are not likely to pass under the current balance of power.

Rachel Homer, counsel for the nonprofit group Protect Democracy, said simply proposing them poses a threat.

"This is about everyone in support of democracy," Homer asserted. "Both political parties really need to be standing against this movement toward autocracy."

Despite calls for unity, Republicans are seeing more candidates for statewide offices who either perpetuate the stolen-election narrative, or suggest current laws need restrictions they said would tighten election security.

The Minnesota GOP recently endorsed such a candidate running for Secretary of State, the office overseeing elections. The report said 175 such laws were introduced in the U.S. this year.

Homer argued false election-fraud claims, taking shape following Donald Trump's loss in the 2020 presidential vote, have ballooned to a five-alarm fire. She noted even if most bills do not pass, voters are still being exposed to theories soundly rejected by the courts.

"These bills are being proposed by a lot of legislators across a lot of states," Homer observed. "They clearly think there's an audience for it. "

The groups behind the report emphasized it is important to remember most administrators, staffs and volunteers are committed to free and fair elections.

Sylvia Albert, national voting and elections director for Common Cause, said outside the findings, potentially having some candidates espousing such views take office is concerning. If election results were to be rejected without a valid reason, she said it might be harder to seek recourse.

"So, there definitely is an ability to challenge in court, [but] the courts are leaning more and more toward stepping away and letting the political process run itself," Albert stressed. "What that does, is not protect the people who don't have power, which are normal Americans."

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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