Report Update Details State Election Subversion Playbook in 2022 and Examines Post-Midterm Election Subversion Risk

End-of-year analysis finds over 400 state legislative proposals introduced since 2020 that would allow hyper-partisan actors to interfere in non-partisan election administration

12.14.2022

Washington, D.C. — Today, the States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward released a December update to the 2022 volume of their report A Democracy Crisis in the Making: How State Legislatures are Politicizing, Criminalizing, and Interfering with Elections. The report update provides an updated analysis of the nationwide trend of partisan state legislatures considering laws that increase the risk of election subversion, and examines the impact of the 2022 midterms on that risk. 

Over the course of the year, state legislatures considered a range of proposals that would increase the risk of election subversion. After the 2022 midterm elections, the risk of election subversion has materially decreased, as voters largely rejected election denier candidates for statewide office in key battleground states. That said, the risk of election subversion is still present in state legislatures as we head toward 2023 legislative sessions, and the 2024 election season. 

In analyzing 2022—and looking forward to what trends we could see in 2023 and 2024—the December report update summarizes the relevant legislative activity since 2020:

  • All told, we have cataloged more than 400 legislative proposals that would increase the risk of election subversion in the wake of 2020.
  • 24 of these proposed bills have become law or been adopted this year alone. 
  • As we look towards 2023, the highest risk locations have now shifted to Florida, North Carolina, and Texas.

To view a PDF of the full report, click here

“As we warned, the modern election subversion movement burst with activity in the wake of 2020, as legislatures sought to undermine the will of the voters and put the health of our democracy at risk by implementing a wide variety of proposals aimed at increasing the possibility of election subversion,” said Victoria Bassetti, Senior Counsel for the States United Democracy Center. “We tracked over 400 attempts to pass legislation that would put free and fair elections on the chopping block in states across the country. But during these past midterm elections, voters displayed a vigilant rejection of these hyper-partisan actors and stood firm to protect some of the most at risk states from falling into turmoil. As we head towards 2024, we will continue to analyze the anti-democracy playbook to ensure we can keep them from changing the rules and changing the game in their favor.”

“As Americans, we may disagree on a lot of things, but we can all agree that voters—not election denying officials—should choose our elected leaders,” said Rachel Homer, Counsel with Protect Democracy. “At ballot boxes across the country, American voters made clear: they don’t want politicians who attack and undermine our elections to be running their states. This is a big win for our democracy. But in some state legislatures, the election denial fever hasn’t not broken. The threat is still very real and we can’t afford to ignore it.”

“This year, voters in Wisconsin and across the country came out to protect our freedom to vote and stand on the side of our democracy,” said Elizabeth Pierson, an attorney at Law Forward. “Poll workers and election officials all across the country administered another free election, which was not a certainty in this environment of increasing voting restrictions and threats to our election administration system from right-wing actors. While we celebrate this latest free election, we know that those anti-democratic actors have not disappeared. Together, we can stay vigilant to the threats and fight for a democracy that includes all of us.”

 

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About the States United Democracy Center 

The States United Democracy Center is a nonpartisan organization advancing free, fair, and secure elections. We focus on connecting state officials, law enforcement leaders, and pro-democracy partners across America with the tools and expertise they need to safeguard our democracy. For more information, visit 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 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 LawForward.org.