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.
Ohio: Judge dismisses key defendants in Stark County Dominion voting machine lawsuit | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository
A lawsuit by a Washington, D.C.-based group won’t prevent Stark County from using Dominion voting machines for the Nov. 2 general election. Look Ahead America opted Wednesday not to appeal a key decision by Stark County Common Pleas Judge Taryn Heath. Her Aug. 20 ruling dismissed the county commissioners and Dominion Voting Systems as defendants from the case and killed any chance of immediately reversing the county’s purchase of the voting machines. Originally in May, the group filed suit against the Stark County Board of Elections, alleging the board had met in illegal executive sessions to discuss the machine purchase. However, the Board of Elections is not the governing entity that authorized the purchase of the machines. That was the Stark County commissioners. With the commissioners and Dominion no longer parties to the suit, it was not legally possible for Look Ahead America to get a preliminary injunction to pause or reverse the purchase, said Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Lisa Nemes. Heath’s magistrate, Kristen Moore, canceled a preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for Wednesday. She has set a phone conference for Monday for the parties to discuss what happens next.