Joe Franke


The 2020 presidential election unearthed valid questions about how the election was administered and whether various state laws were properly followed. However, President Donald Trump and his closest allies routinely fail to distinguish between questions about whether state officials correctly interpreted and applied the state’ s election code and actual fraud or malfeasance. There is a significant difference between accusing election officials of wrongly interpreting state law or incorrectly implementing election procedures, and alleging that those same officials intended to rig the outcome. Failure to make this distinction has contributed to the stolen election narrative, which continues to roil the American body politic. Since the 2020 election, the United States has seen the emergence of several alarming consequences which evidence the severe impact this narrative has had on the country’s democratic institutions. First, President Donald Trump’s contentions that he won the 2020 election and that the United States election system cannot be trusted have eroded public faith in the outcome of that election. Second, the United States has seen an influx of candidates running for office who show little allegiance to democratic norms. Although many of these candidates lost in the 2022 midterms, a significant number won, including for positions that oversee election administration. Third, claims of a fraudulent election system have birthed reform proposals that would fundamentally affect the way elections are administered, including proposals that would further expose election administration to partisanship. These trends give rise to legitimate concerns with respect to how elections will be administered in the future.

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