Election Deniers in Secretary of State Races
Last updated: December 7, 2022
TRACKING THE TREND OF ELECTION DENIERS RUNNING FOR SECRETARY OF STATE IN 2022
A project of States United Action
While we think about elections as big national events, they’re run by the states. Your secretary of state 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 free and fair elections.
Along with your governor and attorney general, your secretary of state sets the rules, runs the elections, supervises the counting of ballots, certifies the results, and protects those results.
Many, but not all, secretaries of state serve as the state’s chief election official. Secretaries of state have key roles and responsibilities in several aspects of voting procedures and election administration and certification.
The secretary of state administers and oversees state election administration, including:
- Certification and logic and accuracy testing of voting systems,
- Voter registration procedures and databases,
- Vote by mail applications,
- Voter education materials and hotlines,
- Guidance and support to local election officials, and
- Certification of election results.
Examples of pro-democracy actions a secretary of state can take: defend the state’s official election results from legal challenges; request and advocate for legislation to expand voter access and voting options; implement robust state voting right laws to ensure voters have access to the franchise and that election results are accurate and secure; issue election guidance to local election officials detailing how they can safely and securely administer elections in accordance with state law; perform rigorous, methodologically sound election reviews and professional audits; and certify election results that reflect the official winners of the election.
Examples of anti-democracy actions a secretary of state can take: engage in unprofessional or partisan reviews of election results; fail to issue election guidance or issue guidance that restricts voter access in contravention of applicable laws; advocate for legislation that adds barriers to voter access and voting options; and certify election results that do not reflect the official winners of the election.
Click an overview of the role of governors and attorneys general in election administration. For more detailed information on statewide election administration roles and responsibilities, visit our “Guide to Statewide Offices and Election Power.”
In 2022, 27 states had contests for secretary of state. Out of the 13 Election Deniers that made it to the general election, just three won their races for secretary of state. Eleven of the 13 Election Denier candidates ran on a major party’s ticket.
- More than 80 percent (22) of primaries for secretary of state featured an Election Denier. Election Deniers that ran on a major party ticket won half (50% or 11/22) of their primary races for secretary of state.
- Of 37 Election Denier candidates who ran for secretary of state in 2022, just 3 won. That’s a 91.89 (34/37)% loss rate.
For more information on the Election Deniers who won races for secretary of state across the country, click here to view our dashboard.