December 6, 2023 12:58 am

Local News

Analysis: WI Has Yet to Eradicate ‘Election Denialism’ 

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After false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential vote, some states have lowered their risk of threats to democracy by enacting certain safeguards. A new analysis found Wisconsin faces a 'moderate risk' of election denialism. (Adobe Stock)
After false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential vote, some states have lowered their risk of threats to democracy by enacting certain safeguards. A new analysis found Wisconsin faces a ‘moderate risk’ of election denialism. (Adobe Stock)

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 Mike Moen, Producer

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Wednesday, August 30, 2023   

Election denialism still could be a problem in Wisconsin and other battleground states in next year’s race for the White House, according to a new analysis.

The National Election Denial Risk Index separates states into three categories: highest, moderate and lowest risk of people spreading disinformation about voting or trying to interfere with election administration, and how it might disrupt the democratic process.

Brian Hinkle, senior voting policy researcher for the Movement Advancement Project and co-author of the analysis, said states are encouraged to put measures in place to thwart future attempts. He feels election denialism is pushing democracy to the brink of chaos.

“Our report shows that 157 million voters currently live in states that are at least moderate risk of election denial jeopardizing future elections,” Hinkle explained.

The report showed Wisconsin faces a moderate threat, and it has come up in the fallout of former President Donald Trump being accused of trying to overturn the 2020 vote. The authors highlighted the Badger State because of the close vote here.

With Wisconsin’s sharply divided government, enacting safeguards doesn’t appear likely, but Hinkle pointed out local administrators can do their part by being as transparent as possible to quell any distrust. 

While the 2020 election was nearly three years ago, Hinkle emphasized it is clear the fallout hasn’t gone away.

“The recent indictments charging former President Trump and others with conspiracy to overturn the results of the election, among other crimes, I think highlight both the continued threat of election denial, as well as a potential path for states to hold bad actors accountable,” Hinkle noted. 

The report cited a number of ways states can shield themselves from denialism. They include laws to protect election officials from threats and block unauthorized access to voting machines. The suggestions come as Republican leaders in the Wisconsin Legislature push to oust the state’s nonpartisan elections director amid lingering rhetoric tied to the 2020 vote.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

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