Election integrity on the ballot this November

Arizona 2022 midterm election

(NewsNation) — Democrats and Republicans are peddling a similar campaign message: Democracy is on the ballot this November.

Polls show that elections are a top concern among voters. Democrats have long pushed for expanding voting access through measures like vote-by-mail and automatic registration.

While Republicans often oppose those efforts, former President Donald Trump’s continuing false claims of a stolen election made election integrity a top campaign issue.

At a rally this weekend, Trump questioned such election integrity.

“We are just two months away from the midterms and we need a win so big that the radical left cannot rig it or steal it,” he said.

In Arizona, election integrity is at the forefront of the midterms.

Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake has based much of her campaign on questioning the 2020 election results.

“The reason we have inflation — sky-high inflation — and can’t afford gasoline or groceries is because we had a rigged stolen election,” Lake said.

Her opponent, Katie Hobbs, has called Lake’s comments “dangerous” and said that if Lake were in office in 2020, she wouldn’t have certified President Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona.

“This is part of an ongoing attack on our democracy that we have seen play out since the 2020 election,” Hobbs said.

Almost all of the 2022 midterm candidates whom Trump has endorsed say election fraud is “rampant.”

According to a NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll, most Americans agree it’s a top concern.

Of those polled, 52% of Americans said preventing voter fraud is a higher priority than ensuring eligible voters are never prevented from voting.

A separate poll by FiveThirtyEight found that 60% of Americans will see a candidate on their ballot who denies the 2020 election results.

Out of 541 total Republican nominees running for office, 199 fully deny the legitimacy of the most recent presidential election.

Despite no evidence of widespread election fraud, some remain suspicious and cite it as a reason they continue to support Trump-backed candidates.

Arizona resident Yvonne Drew moved from California to escape COVID-19 lockdowns, she said. Drew said she always voted Democrat in the past but now supports Trump.

“Well when I started supporting him at first I didn’t like him,” Drew said. “I thought he was a misogynist. But then I thought, ‘Let me not go with personality; let me see action.'”

Drew acknowledges she’s seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud, but she still has concerns about election security.

“It took so many days on this primary to count the votes,” she said. “And I just thought something is not right here. I felt anxiety over that. And I feel like they may cheat because there are so many ways to do that.”

Others, however, say Trump’s followers “parrot” the former president’s claims even if they “aren’t supported by evidence,” another voter told NewsNation.

Those who support Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud won Republican nominations in Arizona for governor, secretary of state, attorney general and U.S. senator positions.

In the senate race, Blake Masters is the GOP nominee going up against incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly. Masters, hand-picked by Trump, has a good chance of winning the seat.

If elected, those in office could change how elections are run and how constituents can vote in the state.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has stressed a need for election integrity. The state considered more than 250 bills in the past two years to change how elections are run.

That includes proposals to allow overturning an election, dismantling vote-by-mail systems and requiring millions of ballots to be hand-counted.

Only a few changes were actually signed into law, including expanding proof-of-citizenship requirements.

But if the swing state goes red, there could be GOP candidate wins for each of those critical seats in the state.

Election deniers have been chosen as GOP gubernatorial nominees in eight states, U.S. Senate nominees in seven states and U.S. House nominees in at least 20 states.

Results are expected to have a major impact on the 2024 race.

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