Conspiracy is on the ballot

Conspiracy is on the ballot

T-minus two weeks to the midterm elections, and there’s more on the line than just who gets elected. Across the country, some candidates on the ballot aren’t just challenging their opponents – they’re challenging the very legitimacy of the election processes.

Nearly two years after the 2020 election, the American people’s faith in the integrity of our elections continues to crumble away, with baseless accusations of both voter fraud and voter suppression eroding the public’s trust in our democracy.

The good news is voter fraud remains exceedingly rare in the United States – only a microscopically small amount of ballots cast in the past two decades have been certifiably fraudulent. This is a credit to the countless dedicated public servants who work on the ground to make elections work by counting votes, reporting vote tallies, handing out ballots, and more. By the same token, voter suppression is not nearly the threat that some activists make it out to be. Case in point: while many critics have labeled Georgia’s revised election laws as a form of ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ designed to keep people from casting ballots, early voting turnout in Georgia during this midterm election season has already surpassed what it was in the 2020 presidential election.

But perhaps more concerning, as the Associated Press reports, are candidates across the country who have pushed conspiracy theories about elections who are now running for positions to help administer the very elections on which they’re casting doubt.

According to the AP, there are more than 1,700 open seats this election cycle for election administrator positions where conspiracy-minded individuals could undermine the integrity of our elections by, for example, letting unauthorized people burglarize election records to ‘prove’ the 2020 election was stolen – something that already happened in Colorado.

Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of American democracy, and voters are right to expect they remain that way. Republicans and Democrats agree democracy is at risk, and both sides want to pin the blame on the other. But the solution isn’t to try and hijack our elections to ‘protect’ them from the other side as extremists want. It’s to do what most Americans want -- have the two sides engage in substantive and serious ways and hash out real, bipartisan solutions to the nation’s big problems.