Backers of Trump’s false fraud claims seek to control next elections

Sept 22 (Reuters) – One leading candidate seeking to become Georgia’s chief elections official, Republican Jody Hice, is a Congressman who voted to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win in the hours after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. Hice had posted on social media earlier that day: “This is our 1776 moment,” referencing the American Revolution.

In Arizona, the contenders for the elections-chief office, secretary of state, include Republican state lawmaker Mark Finchem, who attended the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally before the deadly insurrection and spoke at a similar gathering the previous day. In Nevada, one strong Republican candidate for elections chief is Jim Marchant, who unsuccessfully sued to have his own defeat in a 2020 congressional race reversed based on unfounded voter-fraud claims.

The three candidates are part of a wider group of Republican secretary-of-state contenders in America’s swing states who have embraced former President Donald Trump’s false claims that he lost a “rigged” election. Their candidacies have alarmed Democrats and voting-rights groups, who fear that the politicians who tried hardest to undermine Americans’ faith in elections last year may soon be the ones running them – or deciding them, in future contested votes.

Jena Griswold, chair of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State and Colorado’s top elections official, said the secretary-of-state races reflect a much broader exploitation of phony voter-fraud claims by Republicans seeking all levels of elected office.

“That is ‘code red’ for democracy,” she said in an interview.

Secretary-of-state candidates face primary elections next spring and summer and general elections on Nov. 8, 2022, along with the midterm congressional contests.

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Source: Reuters