Reports July 29, 2022

Election Deniers in Secretary of State Races

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.
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Last updated: July 28, 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.

Secretary of States’ Role in Election Administration

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.”

The Election Denier threat

In 2022, 27 states have contests for secretary of state. As of July 28, 16 states have held their primary races for secretary of state, while 11 primaries remain. With a mix of states that have already voted in their primaries, there are at least 20 Election Deniers running for secretary of state in 16 states right now.

  • Every single one of the 11 primary races to happen in August and September has at least one Election Denier running, for a collective total of 16 remaining Election Denier primary candidates for secretary of state.
  • Of the 16 secretary of state primaries that have taken place to date, more than half (12) featured an Election Denier. One in four (4 of 16) Election Denier candidates so far have won their primary races, and one additional candidate is moving on to the general as an independent. 
  • Some notable moments from the secretary of state races to date: 
    • In Alabama, Election Denier Wes Allen won with 30-point lead. 
    • In a significant upset in Indiana, the Republican convention picked Election Denier Diego Morales over the incumbent, Holli Sullivan, who is not an Election Denier. 
    • In Nevada, Election Denier Jim Marchant won with 17-point lead. 
    • In Arkansas, incumbent John Thurston (not an Election Denier) won by a 40-point lead over Election Denier Eddie Joe Williams.  
    • In Colorado, Pam Anderson won by a 15-point margin over Election Denier Tina Peters.  
    • In Georgia, incumbent Brad Raffensperger won with a 20-point lead over Election Denier Jody Hice.  

For more information on the Election Deniers running for Secretary of State across the country, click here to view our dashboard.

Election Deniers Running for Secretary of State
Alabama - Wes Allen
Arizona - Shawnna Bolick
Arizona - Mark Finchem
Connecticut - Dominic Rapini
Indiana - Diego Morales
Kansas - Mike Brown
Massachusetts - Rayla Campbell
Michigan - Kristina Karamo
Minnesota - Erik van Mechelen
Minnesota - Steve Carlson
Minnesota - Kim Crockett
Nevada - Jim Marchant
New Mexico - Audrey Trujillo
Ohio - Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman
Rhode Island - Anne Armstrong
Vermont - H. Brooke Paige
Washington - Tamborine Borrelli
Wisconsin - Jay Schroeder
Wisconsin - Justin Schmidtka