100 Days into Statewide Officials’ Terms, New Report Finds Election Denial is Bad Politics and Leading to Bad Policy

Published: 4.28.23

Washington, D.C. — As Election Deniers who took office in 2023 pass the 100-day mark of their administrations, States United Action today released a new report on the state of the Election Denier movement. The Bad Politics, Bad Policies: Election Denialism in 2023 report provides a review of Election Deniers’ actions both in and outside of government. It also reveals new data calculating the cost that Election Deniers paid at the ballot box for embracing election lies.

Election Deniers running for statewide office—roles that oversee and defend elections—paid a price at the polls in 2022 for endorsing lies and conspiracy theories about our elections. In a new analysis, States United Action found that these Election Denier candidates received 2.3 to 3.7 percentage points less of the vote than expected, compared with similar candidates in similar races. This margin was enough to flip five to seven statewide races. The report also found that at least one Republican candidate won their race because they did not embrace election lies and, therefore, did not suffer the same penalty.

In all, 23 Election Deniers currently hold statewide office in 17 states. This figure includes Election Deniers who won races last year and those who were already in office. Among these officials, there are some emerging trends. For example, in six of these states, Election Deniers have pulled out of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a system of states cooperating to make elections more secure. Additionally, Election Deniers who hold statewide office are moving to restrict donations to support election funding, and creating or expanding special units to investigate and prosecute election crimes in an effort to intimidate voters.

“We know two big things about Election Denial in 2023: It’s bad politics and it’s leading to bad policy,” said Joanna Lydgate, CEO of States United Action. “Voters showed us during the midterms that they don’t like lies about our elections, so the threat evolved. But it’s still very real. Election Deniers still have some level of power over statewide elections in one-third of states. And they’re already using that power to undermine our democracy.”

Outside of the halls of state government, many failed Election Deniers are finding new ways to grow their influence and keep their movement front and center. States United Action research shows these candidates are running for and winning leadership positions in state and national party organizations; raising money off election conspiracy theories; and exploring running for other offices, including the U.S. Senate.


About States United Action

States United Action is a nonpartisan section 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with a mission to protect our elections and our democracy. States United Action advocates for policies that protect election integrity, hold democracy violators accountable, and prevent political violence that threatens to undermine the will of the American people, and amplifies the voices of state leaders and law enforcement leaders who share these values. To learn more, visit www.statesuniteddemocracy.org/states-united-action.