Author Archives: Steven Rosenfeld

Winning Georgia Senate seat, Sen. Raphael Warnock overcomes GOP push

More than 48 percent of Georgians voted for Herschel Walker, showing Republican loyalty in a battleground state.

In a stunning finale to 2022’s federal elections, Georgians reelected Sen. Raphael Warnock in a runoff that concluded Tuesday night, where the incumbent Democrat and Atlanta pastor defeated Herschel Walker, a football star who was handpicked by Donald Trump but was rejected by the Peach State’s diverse urban and suburban voters. Continue reading

In Nevada county, a harbinger of the chaos that election deniers will wreak

A hand count has been halted. Most voters won’t use computers to vote.

One day after Nevada’s Supreme Court and Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske shut down a hand count of 2022 general election ballots in a rural county whose GOP leaders fell under the spell of 2020 election deniers, the man at the center of that political storm—Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf—was determined to resurrect the controversial process. Continue reading

Hand count halted in Nevada County as court rips pro-Trump official

One of the country’s most high-profile efforts by Trump Republicans to avoid using ballot-marking computers in 2022’s midterm elections and instead count votes by hand is coming apart at the seams. Continue reading

A third of 2022 midterm voters may use mailed out ballots

Growing numbers of voters will mark their ballots at home, latest data finds.

Despite both a torrent of lawsuits attacking every aspect of voting with mailed-out ballots in the 2020 presidential election as well as post-election efforts in GOP-led states to pass laws limiting their use, a record-setting 42 million or more Americans are likely to vote using mailed-out ballots in the 2022 general election—a 40 percent increase from the last midterm election in 2018. Continue reading

Key Senate committee passes bill to prevent Trump-like Electoral College coups

An 1887 law would be reformed to prevent radicals in state government and Congress from subverting the popular vote for president.

Efforts to reform the Electoral Count Act, an 1887 law whose quirks and ambiguities became a roadmap for Donald Trump and his allies to try to subvert congressional certification of 2020’s Electoral College vote, moved a step closer in the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday. Continue reading

Election deniers and defenders poised for next phase in voting wars

Unprecedented efforts by pro-Trump Republicans and election officials are targeting 2022’s general election.

Unprecedented efforts by pro-Trump Republicans and election officials are targeting 2022’s general election. Continue reading

How a rural Colorado county became an epicenter of Trump’s big lie

First an election official erred. Then Trump’s IT squad arrived. Then the false claims, conspiracies, stolen data and denials ensued.

Colorado’s southwestern Mesa County is filled with desert lore. It’s also home to one of 2020’s stranger false stolen election narratives that keeps resounding like echoes in its canyons but offers lessons for 2022’s general election. Continue reading

How vote count mistakes by two rural counties fed Trump’s big lie

County officials didn’t properly set up and use their election computers, helping to launch a looming disinformation juggernaut.

Since 2020’s presidential election, two rural counties in Michigan and Colorado that initially reported incorrect results have had outsized roles in spreading Donald Trump’s big lie that his second term was stolen by Democrats colluding with one of the country’s biggest computerized voting systems makers. Continue reading

Arizona’s secretary of state race pits ‘the guy who beat the Cyber Ninjas’ against Trump insurrectionist

An interview with Adrian Fontes, who modernized Phoenix’s election system and helped hundreds of thousands of new voters during 2020’s pandemic and presidential election.

American voters have heard plenty about Republicans seeking high office in 2022 who still deny that President Joe Biden was legitimately elected. They have heard less about the Democratic candidates running against the election deniers, especially in battleground states. Continue reading

Trump Republicans are a greater threat to democracy than Trump himself

Momentum is gaining to prosecute Trump, but scores of copycat election-denying candidates who want to interfere with fair elections are on the fall ballot.

Three months before the 2022 general election, momentum is tangibly growing for holding Donald Trump and Trump Republicans legally accountable for a range of criminal activities tied to their ultimately violent effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Continue reading

Ugly side of Trump’s 2020 lies and bullying come before committee

Trump-directed mobs threaten officials who wouldn’t cheat for him.

The scope of Donald Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election widened in the congressional testimony on June 21 as Republican state legislators, state election officials and local election workers described Trump’s pressure campaigns and bullying that targeted them and led to them facing severe harassment for doing their jobs. Continue reading

As coup evidence mounts, progressives eye Georgia to jail Trump, not feds

The January 6 committee, Justice Department, and activists are diverging.

As the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol provides new and mounting evidence of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn a presidential election he lost, so, too, is the expectation rising that the Department of Justice will have no choice but to prosecute Trump and co-conspirators. But in center-left advocacy circles, there is rising talk that the best odds to prosecute and jail Trump may lie in state court in Georgia, not federal court in Washington, D.C. Continue reading

As January 6 hearings begin, poll finds many conservatives with open minds

Younger Republicans, and Republican women, are not Trump cultists.

As the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol held its first televised public hearing in prime time on Thursday, June 9, a nationwide poll has found that there are more Republicans “open” to changing their minds about what happened than there are immovable Donald Trump loyalists. Continue reading

Election subversion is replacing voter suppression as new GOP threat

Pro-Trump Republicans are building new paths to subvert future election results, numerous analyses find.

The language of the voting rights movement is changing. For decades, it had been centered around overcoming voter suppression and Jim Crow, which is shorthand for intentional barriers to stymie voters at the starting line—affecting their voter registration, their voting options, and whether or not their ballots are accepted. But today, thanks to Donald Trump’s 2020 election-denying loyalists, the focus is shifting to the finish line in elections, where counting votes is what matters. Election subversion is the new political buzz phrase. Continue reading

GOP split: Far right gains ground in east, while losing out west

Still, fringe candidates are luring GOP voters and winning key races.

The Republican Party’s radical right flank is making inroads among voters and winning key primaries east of the Mississippi. But out West, among the five states that held their 2022 primary elections on May 17, a string of GOP candidates for office who deny the 2020’s presidential election results and have embraced various conspiracies were rejected by Republicans who voted for more mainstream conservatives. Continue reading

Georgia SOS Raffensperger flirts with Trump propagandists in reelection campaign

A principled conservative who rejected demands in 2020 to “find votes” is now singing a very different tune.

Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who in November 2020 refused Donald Trump’s demand to “find” the votes for the ex-president to win the state and vigorously defended the accuracy of Georgia’s results and recounts, is “being bent to the will” of 2020 election deniers as his May 24 primary approaches, civil rights advocates say. Continue reading

Upcoming 2022 primaries: A handful of voters will decide who’s on the fall ballot

American voters are passionate, but they don’t think voting in primaries matters.

In May and June, as 26 states hold primary elections to determine the federal candidates for 2022’s general elections, fewer than one in five voters will likely show up. When broken down by political party, many candidates will be nominated by less than 10 percent of the electorate, a very low turnout that in most states will be dominated by voters who are middle-aged and older. Continue reading

Are Iowa’s days as the nation’s first presidential nominating contest numbered?

The jockeying has begun over which mix of states might take part in a series of coordinated opening primaries for 2024’s Democratic nominee.

In the past half-century since the Iowa caucuses have led off the presidential nominating season, only one Democratic candidate who was not already president—a U.S. senator from the neighboring state of Illinois, Barack Obama—went on to win the White House. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden all lost in Iowa in their first bid for the presidency, even though they went on to win the nomination and the election. Continue reading

New efforts seek to build trust in elections in the face of a still-thriving 2020 election denier community

Believers in Trump’s big lie about the 2020 election continue to ignore national media and election experts. Will they be convinced by poll workers and local leaders to trust the democratic process again?

As 2022’s primaries approach, an unprecedented wave of public and private efforts are underway to foster trust in election operations and election officials in response to ongoing claims by Donald Trump and his supporters, including many officeholders and candidates, that President Joe Biden was not legitimately elected. Continue reading

More than 80 election-denying candidates running for governor, attorney general and secretary of state in 2022’s primaries

A series of reports underscore that disinformation is getting worse in 2022, not better.

Partisan propaganda about the untrustworthiness of elections was worse in 2021 than during the 2020 presidential election, when Donald Trump claimed that he won and incited a riot at the U.S. Capitol to block ratification of Joe Biden’s victory, according to state election directors who fear that 2022’s elections will see deepening disinformation from losing GOP candidates. Continue reading

Florida may soon use digital images of ballots in recounts—will all counties make them a public record?

As Florida updates its recount rules, election transparency advocates worry about losing public trust.

Florida’s recounts have been notorious. The 2000 presidential election was decided when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped a recount, holding, in Bush v. Gore, that different counties were using different procedures, which was unconstitutional. In 2018, three statewide contests, including for the U.S. Senate, triggered simultaneous recounts. Some populous counties did not finish in time, which meant that their initial vote totals were used—nullifying the recount. Continue reading

Mailed ballots boosted 2020’s turnout—will it work in 2022?

New research on the 2020 election confirms that mailed-out ballots boost turnout—especially when there are no bureaucratic hurdles for voters.

States that mailed a ballot to every registered voter in 2020’s presidential election saw voter turnout increase by an average of 5.6 percent, and turnout was even higher among infrequent voters, according to the first peer-reviewed academic study of 2020 mail voting. Continue reading

Michigan initiatives clash on how to stop GOP’s election deniers

Competing state constitutional amendments go to different lengths to enshrine voting rights and target anti-voter legislation and court rulings.

A new front is opening in Michigan’s voting wars that raises fundamental questions about how far defenders of fact-based elections and representative government must go to protect voting rights in an era marked by Republicans who deny results and spread lies about elections. Continue reading

Power grab: How Georgia Republicans are trying to undo local elections

GOP lawmakers are targeting key boards and posts to remove Democrats.

A new wave of power grabs by Georgia’s Republican legislators is threatening to wrest control of key local government bodies where Democrats, often people of color, have recently been elected and currently hold governing majorities. Continue reading

Key battleground states considering using digital ballot images to boost voter trust

During an afternoon of public hearings where the Arizona Senate sent seven new election bills to the next stage of legislative review, Kari Lake, leaned into the podium, and, after introducing herself as “the Trump-endorsed candidate for governor,” told the Government Committee how she felt her 2020 presidential election vote had been stolen. Continue reading

As voting advocates talk about election reform, GOP-led battleground states are busy restricting voting

In swing states, Republicans are targeting key local stages of the process.

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs. Continue reading

Some Florida and Arizona Republicans show how to counter 2020 election lies

Developments in two swing states showcase how election records can be used to debunk disinformation and provide more transparency of vote counts.

As ongoing threats by Trump loyalists to subvert elections have dominated the political news, other Republicans in two key states—Florida and Arizona—are taking what could be important steps to provide voters with unprecedented evidence of who won their most close and controversial elections. Continue reading

Joe Biden’s voting rights strategy comes into focus

Laying down markers and filing lawsuits against states that cross lines.

On December 6, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Texas for the second time in 2021 under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This lawsuit was for drawing congressional and state legislative districts following the 2020 census that “refused to recognize the state’s growing minority electorate.” In other words, districts intended to impede candidates of color. Continue reading

Progressives sweep 2021’s municipal elections across Georgia

Georgia’s 2021 municipal runoff elections saw dozens of progressives elected as new mayors, city council members and local officials in a wave that challenges the political narrative that only centrists can win in Southern battleground states, according to several organizers of voter outreach efforts. Continue reading

Wisconsin is the new ground zero for 2020 election deniers

As COVID-19 swept the country in March 2020, Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers tried to postpone the April 7 presidential primary. But Republican state legislators aligned with President Trump and denying the severity of COVID-19 sneered, sued, and won in court hours before the polls were to open. That fray left Wisconsin’s 1,850 municipal clerks who administer elections, and the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which guides the clerks, frantically scrambling. Continue reading

The Georgia way: How to win elections

An oral history recounts the organizing that led to 2020’s historic presidential and senatorial victories in Georgia.

Corey Shackleford knew he could rely on Georgia’s Prince Hall Masons—named after the freed slave who created the civic-minded group’s first Black chapter in 1784. “We’re in those corners of the state, those rural areas, where others don’t normally go. But we are there.” Continue reading

Virginia gubernatorial race: Organizers are turning out overlooked voters of color

A grassroots strategy that avoids partisan clichés and confronts local issues.

After 2020’s election, Virginia adopted more pro-voter legislation than any state, from expanding access to starting to amend its constitution to enshrine voting rights. But these reforms have not been enough to turn out voters in this fall’s statewide elections, where the top-of-the-ticket Democratic and Republican candidates for governor are close in polls but seen as underwhelming. Continue reading