Reports December 7, 2022

Election Deniers in Governor Races

Governors have key roles and responsibilities in several aspects of election administration and voting procedures.
Issue Areas
Last updated: December 7, 2022


A project of States United Action

While we think about elections as big national events, they’re run by the states. Your state’s governor is one of just a few statewide officials in charge of making sure elections are free, fair, and secure—so it really matters that they believe in counting every legal vote.  

Along with your attorney general and secretary of state, your governor sets the rules, runs the elections, supervises the counting of ballots, certifies the results, and protects those results.

The Role of Governors in Election Administration

Governors have key roles and responsibilities in several aspects of election administration and voting procedures, including: 

  • The governor can sign or veto legislation and state budgets that shape state election procedures and financial resources for administering elections. 
  • The governor can issue executive orders to improve intergovernmental coordination on election issues or address emergency situations impacting elections. 
  • The governor can be a part of litigation impacting a state’s election and voting laws or redistricting process. 

Examples of pro-democracy actions a governor can take: sign legislation that expands or preserves the freedom to vote; veto legislation that undermines the right to vote or facilitates election subversion; draw fair district maps as part of the state’s redistricting process; propose state budgets that invest in election infrastructure and administration; appoint state officials who will advance pro-democracy policies; and issue certificates to presidential electors that reflect the official winner of the state’s presidential race. 

Examples of anti-democracy actions a governor can take: veto (in full or part) state budgets that fund state election administration and enforcement; sign legislation that adds barriers to voters’ access to the ballot box; increase partisanship in election administration or audits; underfund election officials; subvert official election results; draw district maps that constitute a political gerrymander or that deprive communities of equal democratic participation; and issue certificates to presidential electors who do not represent the official winner of the state’s presidential race. 

Click for an overview of the role of attorneys general and secretaries of state in election administration. For more detailed information on statewide election administration roles and responsibilities, visit our “Guide to Statewide Offices and Election Power.” 

The Election Denier threat

In 2022, 36 states had contests for governor. Out of the 22 Election Deniers that made it to the general election, six won their races for governor. 16 of the 22 Election Denier candidates ran on a major party’s ticket. 

  • More than half (26) of the 36 primaries this year included at least one Election Denier running on a major party ticket.  
  • Election Deniers running on a major party ticket won more than half (61.54% or 16/26) of their primary races for governor.   
  • Of 82 Election Denier candidates who ran for governor in 2022, just 6 won. That’s a 92.68 (76/82)% loss rate. 

For more information on the Election Deniers who won races for governor across the country, click here to view our dashboard.