It started as one big, false claim — that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. But nearly a year later, the Big Lie is metastasizing, with Republicans throughout the country raising the specter of rigged elections in their own campaigns ahead of the midterms. The preemptive spin is everywhere. Last week it was Larry Elder in California, who — before getting trounced in the GOP’s failed effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom — posted a “Stop Fraud” page on his campaign website. Before that, at a rally in Virginia, state Sen. Amanda Chase introduced herself as a surrogate for gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and told the crowd, “Because the Democrats like to cheat, you have to cast your vote before they do.” In Nevada, Adam Laxalt, the former state attorney general running to unseat Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, is already talking about filing lawsuits to “tighten up the election” — more than a year before votes are cast. And in Pennsylvania, former Rep. Lou Barletta, who is running for governor after losing a Senate race two years earlier, said he “had to consider” whether a Republican could ever win a race again in his state given the current administration of elections there. Trump may have started the election-truther movement. But what was once the province of an aggrieved former president has spread far beyond him, infecting elections at every level with vague, unspecified claims that future races are already rigged. It’s a fiction that’s poised to factor heavily in the midterm elections and in 2024 — providing Republican candidates with a rallying cry for the rank-and-file, and priming the electorate for future challenges to races the GOP may lose.
Colorado: Mesa County Clerk Fights to Keep Her Job in New Court Filing | Bente Birkeland/Colorado Public Radio
Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who is embroiled in an election security scandal, has denied wrongdoing and requested to remain in her role overseeing elections this fall. Her attorney said Peters was well within her legal right to share information about the county’s Dominion Voting Systems equipment with a non-employee during an annual system upgrade. Data from the machines were featured in screenshots shared by QAnon supporters and released by the right wing website Gateway Pundit, by those eager to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election. A court filing in response to an effort to remove Peters from overseeing elections in Mesa, said the leak of information was not Peters’ intent, but rather she was trying to preserve records and to better analyze how the state conducted system updates. “Unfortunately, there was an unauthorized release of information on one or more publicly available web sites,” said a filing in District Court in Mesa County from attorney Scott Gessler. In the filing, Gessler, a Republican and former Colorado secretary of state, said the decision by current Secretary of State Jena Griswold to file a lawsuit to remove Peters from overseeing this fall’s election as a result was “wholly disproportionate” and violates Colorado law, “which vests local control over elections in a locally-elected official.” Mesa county’s district attorney and the FBI are investigating allegations that Peters gave an unauthorized person access to the Dominion election management software and passwords, but no criminal charges have been filed against Peters or anyone else in the dispute.