New Report Examines Election Subversion Legislative Trends and its Impact on the 2024 Elections
The report provides a detailed analysis of the nationwide trend of state legislatures considering laws that increase the risk of election subversion and its potential impact on election administration in the 2024 election.
Washington, D.C. — Today, the States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward released the third volume of their report A Democracy Crisis in the Making: 2024 Election Threats Emerging. The report provides a detailed analysis of the nationwide trend of state legislatures considering laws that increase the risk of election subversion and its potential impact on election administration in the 2024 election. The report identifies 185 bills in 38 states that would make it easier to manipulate an election, with 15 of them becoming law as of May 3, 2023. This is on top of nearly 400 election subversion bills identified in previous reports that were introduced in 2021 and 2022, with 56 of those becoming law in 26 states.
While the 2022 midterm election results materially lowered the overall risk of election subversion in 2024, state legislatures continue to propose legislation that is designed to introduce chaos, delays, and confusion in our elections. While the vast majority of these proposals have yet to become law, they keep baseless conspiracies about our elections alive and continue to undermine voter confidence in our election system.
In analyzing 2023 so far—and looking forward to what we could see in 2024—the report highlights some notable legislative activity this cycle:
- The risk of an election subversion hasn’t passed—it’s just evolved. State legislators are introducing these bills at approximately the same rate they have over the last two years. As of May 3, 2023, there have been 185 related bills introduced in 38 states, with 15 of them becoming law so far.
- A new legislative trend has emerged with bills that would require a whole new election under certain conditions, but are based on flimsy grounds. These bills have been introduced in Texas and Arizona. Legislatures are also doubling down on previous trends with bills banning alternative sources of funding for election offices and requiring mandatory hand counts.
- There are bipartisan efforts to prevent election subversion, too. In 27 states, legislation has been introduced and, in some cases, passed by members of both parties that proactively safeguard elections. This includes providing enhanced protections for election workers and countering election disinformation.
To view a PDF of the full report, click here.
“Most Americans don’t think about elections until they’re headed to the polls. But states are making decisions right now that will determine how elections are run in 2024 and long after that,” said Victoria Bassetti, Senior Adviser at the States United Democracy Center. “What we’re seeing right now is the threat of election subversion quietly and creatively evolving. The packaging is slick, laced with terms like ‘forensic audits’ or nostalgic calls for ‘hand counts’. But what’s inside is dangerous—and only creates more doubt and confusion. These proposals put our free, fair, and elections at risk.”
“The threat of election subversion is still very much with us,” said Rachel Homer, Counsel with Protect Democracy. “State legislatures are doubling down on previous election subversion trends, and even coming up with new ways to interfere with non-partisan election administration. Their aim is to create the conditions for partisan politicians to try to declare their preferred results, order new elections, or otherwise cast doubt on the results. We must remain vigilant and safeguard our elections from manipulation—because the decisions being made by statehouses across the country now will shape how the 2024 election and future elections are conducted. ”
“We know that our elections are safe and secure thanks to the tireless efforts of election workers and poll observers around the country,” said Elizabeth Pierson, an attorney at Law Forward. “It’s about time policymakers are working together to protect them from harassment, as this report shows. But ongoing efforts by some state legislators continue to undermine election administration. In America, we value our freedoms, and the will of the voters. There are still legislative actors trying to pass policies meant to subvert future elections and allow them to ignore the will of the voters. Together, we can resist their efforts, in 2024 and beyond.”
About the States United Democracy Center
The States United Democracy Center is a nonpartisan organization advancing free, fair, and secure elections. We connect state and local officials, law enforcement leaders, and pro-democracy partners across America with the tools and expertise they need to safeguard democracy. For more information, visit www.statesuniteddemocracy.org.
About Protect Democracy
Protect Democracy is a cross-ideological non-profit group dedicated to defeating the authoritarian threat, building more resilient democratic institutions, and protecting our freedom and liberal democracy. For more information, visit www.protectdemocracy.org.
About Law Forward
Law Forward is a pro-democracy nonpartisan nonprofit organization using impact litigation, the administrative process, and public education to protect and advance Wisconsin’s fundamental democratic principles, and commitment to clean and open government. For more information, visit www.LawForward.org.