Politicians who dispute the outcome of the 2020 presidential election are on the ballot this year for offices that could determine how the 2024 election is decided in swing states — regardless of what voters intend.
Winner, 2023 Dateline Award, Washington Society of Professional Journalists
Story by Ryan Teague Beckwith and Bill Allison
Graphics by Paul Murray, Allison McCartney and Mira Rojanasakul
Bloomberg News, Aug. 7, 2022
Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden failed, but his loyalists have never stopped trying to turn the US election system into one that would return him to the White House in 2024 — fairly or otherwise.
In the last two years, Republicans have sought to remove state officials who wouldn’t manufacture votes and falsely declare him the winner. They changed the way elections are run in response to his conspiracy theories. Most importantly, they’ve nominated people who insist Trump won as candidates for US Congress and governor, and for offices that certify the outcome.
Has it worked?
To answer that question, a team of Bloomberg journalists set out to find which states are most vulnerable to political election interference — and what it means for elections this fall and in 2024, when the White House will once again be at stake. We dug into laws in all 50 states and scrutinized the thousands of election-related bills proposed nationwide since 2020. We consulted election-security experts, voting rights advocates, election lawyers, academics and current and former elections administrators as well as decades of political research to zero in on how elections work.
Read the full story here.
The entire project is worth exploring, since it includes in-depth research on voting access and election security, recent legislation and the words and actions of election deniers in all 50 states.
But since it’s behind the paywall, here are some highlights.
Problem: Each state has dramatically different voting laws, making comparisons difficult.
Solution: After studying decades of research, we settled on seven policies that make it easier to vote. We summarized the results overall in a chart, on a map and on individual pages for each state.
The Problem: Many of the measures typically proposed to improve election security have no effect.
The Solution: Talking with election security experts, we identified eight benchmarks that ensure election results are timely and accurate.
The problem: There is a wide range of election denial among elected officials from all 50 states.
The solution: We focused on incumbents and candidates for governor, secretary of state, attorney general and Congress, providing “baseball card” snapshots of what they said and did.
This also became the focus of the main bar, since our research found that the biggest risks to elections came from a handful of candidates in races for key positions in battleground states.
The project also included looking at every state bill proposed and passed since the 2020 election that would affect elections, providing a plain English summary and an overview of how the laws have changed.
All graphics © Bloomberg News, 2022.