Leading figures in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election are Republican candidates for the Secretary of State, injecting suspicious theories about voting machines, foreign hacks, and fraudulent voting into campaigns to determine who will control national elections. Some battlefield states that threw their weight behind the slate.
America First Slate consists of more than 12 candidates who falsely claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald J. Trump. It was born out of a conference held by conspiracy theorists QAnon leaders and Nevada politicians, and the influence of election denial movements such as MyPillow founder Michael Lindell and former Overstock.com executive Patrick Byrne. Quietly gaining support from some people. A person who has funded a public forum that promotes candidates and theories about election vulnerability.
Members of the slate have won the support of the party Or, in several states, including Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada, he was nominated for the Republican Party, and a relatively small number of ballots decided to win the president. And in Pennsylvania, where the Governor appoints Secretary of State, state senator Doug Mastriano, who works with the group, easily won the Governor’s Primary last month.
Candidates cast their race as a battle for the future of democracy, the best chances to reform a broken voting system, and a battle to win elections.
“It doesn’t really matter who is running for parliament, governor, etc. It’s important who counts the votes for that election,” he said.
But even if you lose the race, Slate leaves a mark. Candidates are instilling falsehood and fiction in political discourse as they call for votes on stumps and social media. Their position as candidates amplifies their claims.
Republican Secretary of State John Merrill of Alabama said information thrown in the guise of election reform, especially the mechanical manipulation of voting, could undermine Americans’ confidence in democracy. “What you are doing is encouraging people not to be confident in the election process and people losing faith.”
On a private weekly phone call lasting hours on Friday morning, candidates were joined by Fringe, who discussed policies and campaign strategies, and sometimes pushed for tactics to maintain Mr. Trump’s power. In 11 states, the group sponsors public forums where prominent activists unleash complex plots about voting machine vulnerabilities.
The Secretary of State was once a sleepy case, dominated by politicians who sought to demonstrate bureaucratic abilities rather than fierce partisan loyalty.But attempts to overturn Mr. Trump’s results — including failed attempts Pressure on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Rafence PurgerTo “find” a vote to reverse his loss — brought the power of the office into the limelight.
Since its inception last year, America First’s slate has risen to a high of about 15 from a small number of candidates. Many people are unlikely to succeed. On Tuesday, Ham competes to be among the top two candidates in California, and Audrey Trujillo, who hasn’t campaigned against New Mexico, concludes her Republican nomination. Neither candidate likes to defeat Democratic enemies in the blue states.
However, America First candidates may be competitive in at least four fierce battle states: Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. In Michigan, Republican novice activist Christina Caramo, who disagrees with the 2020 results, won her party’s support at the April convention, but she almost certainly confirmed her August nomination. .. Mastriano, the winner of the Republican primary of the Governor of Pennsylvania, was involved in efforts to maintain the state’s electoral vote from President Biden in 2020. He said he would like to cancel all voter registrations and force voters to re-register.
Next week’s leading candidate for Nevada’s primary is Jim Marchant, one of the organizers of America First Slate. A former state legislator and another candidate gained the support of the state Republican central committee and boosted them before the voters went to vote on June 14. Mark Finchem, a candidate for the Arizona group, is a strong candidate and top. Primary race fundraiser.
Mr. Merchant said he was urged to start a coalition by unknown people near Mr. Trump. The project gained momentum last spring after Merchant attended a male-sponsored activist meeting known by aka Juan Osabin in the QAnon Circle, according to a report from one of the group’s officials.
The main figures in the election refusal movement were drawn in. In May 2021, Lindel briefly appeared in a remote location when Merchant held an all-day meeting in a suite at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. Shortly thereafter, the group reunited at the distillery in Austin, Texas, according to the two who attended the meeting.
The host of the session is Phil Waldron, A retired Army colonel and a major supporter of machine hacking theory involving communist, shell company, and democratic financier George Soros. Waldron is probably best known for circulating a PowerPoint presentation that Trump recommended declaring a national emergency to delay the certification of results in 2020.This document arrived in the inbox of Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff, and is now Part of a parliamentary investigation In a deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6th.
The group posted a platform requesting a transition to paper ballots, eliminating postal voting and “aggressive voter roster cleanup.”
In recent months, the Core Group is looking for new candidates. According to some of the hired candidates, about 25 people, including some candidates and those who are trying to influence them, attend weekly conference calls. This group discusses campaign and policy ideas, such as how to move to counting all ballots by hand. Election experts say it is unrealistic, can lead to errors and can cause confusion.
“It’s amazing that state-wide candidates, and multiple candidates for very important state-wide offices, are implementing very inconsistent policy plans,” said an election security nonprofit. Mark Lindeman, an election expert at Verified Voting, said.
Mr. Burn who spent millions of dollars on Lost credibility The “auditing” of voting in Arizona is of particular interest to sponsoring public forums. He promised to spend up to $ 15,000 on each event and donated about $ 83,000 to the political action committee managed by Mr. Merchant.
In an interview, Mr. Byrne said he was primarily interested in disseminating ideas about “the integrity of the election and how it needs to be modified,” rather than promoting a particular candidate. rice field.
“I see them as a group of very worried citizens,” said Mr. Burn.
At a forum in Dallas, speakers gave a lecture aimed at demonstrating the weaknesses of the American voting system. Mark Zuckerberg, Soros, Democrats, Communists, Republicans, and others have issued dark warnings about the forces they claim to be operating the system.
“They had the ability to cheat on a global scale,” said Lara Logan, a former CBS journalist who hosted the event.
Colorado’s first American candidate, Tina Peters, has attacked the “wicked, wicked people” she opposes. Peters, Colorado County Secretary, Indicted Related to allegations She tampered with the election equipmentAnd the judge banned her from overseeing this year’s elections.
Peters and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. Her campaign states that her legal issues are equivalent to political witch hunting.
Other speakers include Texas businessman Russell J. Ramsland Jr., who produced a widely distributed report presented by Mr. Trump and his associates as evidence of fraud. The report, which focused on results in a county in Michigan, was later criticized by Republicans in the state legislature.
Mark Cook, a technical consultant who worked for Lindel, also spoke to the group, saying, “This system governs our freedom.”
Cook said in a statement to The New York Times that he hopes his work “makes our election system more accurate, more transparent, and easier for the public to understand.”
Lindel told The Times that he was involved because “most” of the Secretary of State was corrupt and believed that everyone needed to be replaced.
“They passed our country through a computer,” he said.
Some of the candidates aired similar ideas on the road to the campaign. In Nevada, Merchant called for the revocation of Dominion’s voting machine and urged the use of paper ballots in states that began allowing ballot counting in 1951. “Your votes haven’t been counted for decades,” said Merchant.According to the February debate Nevada independence. “You haven’t elected anyone.”
In a Facebook interview in March, New Mexico candidate Trujillo said the US voting system “is better than other communist countries like Venezuela and other states where elections are held. No. ” She called the 2020 presidential election a “coup.”
And in Arizona, Finchem sought to ban the use of voting machines in the November elections. Lindel says he is funding the proceedings.
Merchant, Trujillo, and Finchem did not respond to requests for comment.
Alyce McFadden With reports that contributed Alain Delaqué rière Contributed to the research.