Every Election Counts

Local races make a big difference in the fight for our democracy.

Published: 6.2.23

Our democracy depends on thousands of county and city officials. In most places, they’re directly responsible for managing elections. When the election is over, local officials count the votes, certify their accuracy, and send their tallies to the state to be totaled up and certified as part of the full count.

So it really matters that these local officials believe in keeping our elections free, fair, and secure.

In Pennsylvania’s local elections this year, 18 candidates won primaries after spreading election misinformation, according to Votebeat. Some promoted wild conspiracy theories about stolen elections.

Election Denier behavior can translate into delays and chaos when county officials don’t do their jobs and certify accurate election results. It happened last year in at least five states. As ProPublica reported, some “admitted to refusing to certify for political reasons.”

In all those states, full election results were ultimately certified, sometimes after court orders forced the county officials to back down. But these were attempts to deny voters the right to choose for themselves and have their voices heard.

It costs taxpayer money to pursue legal action when county officials go rogue. But there’s a bigger danger: Delays and uncertainty allow disinformation to spread even further. That danger will grow exponentially next year, in the heat of a presidential election.

That’s why it’s important to vote in every election, and to make sure candidates support free and fair elections. Not just in Washington and in state capitals, but in our own backyards.

Sign up for the weekly newsletter here

State of the States

Attorneys for Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers argued that a federal court should be permitted to consider sanctions against Sidney Powell and other lawyers who falsely alleged “massive election fraud” in a failed lawsuit. The governor is seeking sanctions to reimburse Wisconsin taxpayers for the cost of defending the lawsuit, which made unsupported claims about an international conspiracy to hack voting software and manipulate the election. It was quickly dismissed by a federal district court judge in December 2020. A post-election audit of voting equipment found no evidence of hacking or altered votes. States United and Stafford Rosenbaum LLP serve as counsel to Evers on the case before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In The News

Image information: Voting in Grand Junction, Colorado, in 2022. (RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)