As Midterm Elections Approach, What Are the Risks?
Monday, September 26, 2022
Ahead of the November midterms, the Texas Secretary of State outlined details last week for a campaign aimed at educating voters before the November election, noting there will be more oversight.
Gov. Greg Abbott approved an elections bill last year banning 24-hour polling places, tightening ID requirements and limiting drive-through and voting by mail.
Wendy Weiser, vice president and director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, warned new tactics -- such as candidates claiming election fraud even if they win -- could lead to an election crisis.
"We think that great candidates can and should use all of the procedures available to them under the law and review election outcomes," Weiser acknowledged. "But we need to do a lot to reinforce the norm of accepting the results of a valid election."
According to the political website FiveThirtyEight, Texas has more 2020 election deniers running for the U.S. House or statewide office than any other state, with 201 of 552 Republican candidates convinced President Joe Biden did not win in 2020.
Jennifer Morrell, partner at The Elections Group, said she recently visited with election officials and found them exhausted.
"So, I think it's imperative that we acknowledge that these professionals, while continuing to hold the oaths they've taken and administer elections in a transparent and bipartisan way, are not working in a normal environment," Morrell cautioned. "They're not operating under ideal circumstances."
Morrell explained ultimately, elections are a human process, and worries even a minor glitch in November could lead to charges Texas elections are not fair.
"My fear is that an innocent mistake, or even something more normal like long lines or the delayed opening of a polling location, will somehow be used to further undermine the work of these election professionals," Morrell stressed.
Training to be a poll watcher in Texas requires a Certificate of Completion from the Texas Secretary of State's Office. In-person early voting in Texas starts Oct. 24 and continues until Nov. 4. Election Day is the following Tuesday, Nov. 8.
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