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Report Update Details Acceleration of State Legislative Election Subversion Trend; Analyzes Other Continued Anti-Democracy Trends Ahead of 2022 Midterms

Analysis finds at least 244 bills in 33 states that politicize, criminalize, or interfere with nonpartisan election administration; 24 of these bills have become law or been adopted this year.

Today, the States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward released an August update and trend analysis to the 2022 volume of their report A Democracy Crisis in the Making: How State Legislatures are Politicizing, Criminalizing, and Interfering with Elections, which analyzes the nationwide trend of partisan state legislatures considering laws that increase the risk of election subversion. With most state legislative sessions closed for the year, the August update identifies at least 244 bills in 33 states that would interfere with nonpartisan election administration, with 24 of these bills becoming law or being adopted this year. 

This August update focuses on three key evolving issues that put the future of free and fair elections at risk:

  • Legislative proposals and enactments that increase the risk of election subversion
  • The Independent State Legislature theory: Moore v. Harper and the democracy crisis
  • Insider threats, the trend of misconduct by officials in trusted election administration roles and other concerns for the future on nonpartisan election administration

To view a PDF of the report, click here.

“The trends we are seeing in the anti-democracy space, especially in state legislatures, have a unifying theme: they would make it far easier for hyperpartisan actors to stir up the doubt, chaos, and confusion that could be used as a pretext for election subversion,” said Victoria Bassetti, Senior Counsel for the States United Democracy Center. “They set the stage for a rerun of the democracy subversion playbook of 2020—and it’s crucial we understand how it all works together. One of the best ways to protect our free and fair elections from those seeking to undermine them is to understand how they are attempting to change the rules in their favor.”

“State legislatures and their anti-democracy allies are waging a multifront campaign to politicize, criminalize, and interfere with the way elections are run in this country,” said Rachel Homer, Counsel with Protect Democracy. “This is happening at the same time we see election deniers running and winning primary elections across the country, rising distrust among the electorate in our democracy, and rising acceptance of political violence. It’s all connected, and together, it’s a recipe for a democracy crisis.”

“As we have tracked over time, the risk of election subversion is evolving, too—and it’s not limited to state legislatures,” said Elizabeth Pierson of Law Forward. “Here in Wisconsin, we are watching the U.S. Supreme Court as well as our own Supreme Court issue opinions that could undermine free elections, we have people pushing election lies to fuel campaigns for public office or using their current offices to destabilize our democracy, and we have seen election administrators leaving their posts. This latest update puts it all together to sound the alarm that our democracy is in trouble.”