One of the most impactful ways ordinary Americans can help protect democracy in 2022 is by contributing to state legislative elections. The fate of free elections in America, including the fairness of the 2024 presidential election, rests heavily on the outcome of state house and senate races this fall.
Why are state legislatures so important?
- State legislatures possess an enormous amount of influence on the civil rights of American citizens. Among other rights, access to the ballot, reproductive freedoms and economic rights have increasingly been delegated to the states.
- In 2022, many state legislative seats in critical battleground states like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania are being contested between protectors of democracy and loyal supporters of The Big Lie – i.e. the false and dangerous notion that the 2020 election was stolen.
- At least six Republican state lawmakers were in Washington on January 6, 2021, protesting the results of the 2020 election and Republican-led states including Arizona and Georgia have passed voter suppression laws.
- Former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election are fueling fears that in 2024 he might conspire with loyal state lawmakers to alter the outcome illegitimately. As reported by Daniel Squadron, former New York state senator and Co-founder and Executive Director of The States Project, the 2024 presidential election could effectively be decided in 2022. (The States Project focuses on connecting the importance of state legislatures to every aspect of our lives and winning state legislative majorities).
- Trump loyalists around the country, in state legislative positions, could decide the 2024 presidential election by sending invalid electors to Congress — no matter how the people vote in their states.
State legislative races offer an immense opportunity for impact.
- In 2020, a combined total of 46,000 votes determined which party was in majority control in 13 state legislatures across the country.
- Even states that don’t appear competitive can change party control. In Michigan, for example, the state senate is controlled by 22 Republicans and 16 Democrats; however, the most recent redistricting process produced a map with 20 seats won by Biden and 18 won by Trump. In Arizona, Republican majorities in the House and Senate could be defeated with one flipped seat. Of the 3.8 million votes cast in Arizona in 2020, control of the state House was decided by only 1,028 voters. Meanwhile, with fairer (and less gerrymandered) maps expected in Michigan and Pennsylvania this year, both legislative chambers in each state will be within striking distance.
- Smart investments in state legislatures could help thwart an illegitimate power-grab. State legislative races generally require fewer financial resources and feature low turnout and small margins. A modest donation or single volunteer can make a significantly bigger impact in a state legislative race than in a federal campaign which often require six-to-seven figure budgets. Considering what’s at stake, anyone wishing to positively move the needle on American democracy this fall, should consider helping a state legislative candidate.
Fight for pro-democracy state legislative candidates!
Carol Glanville’s Michigan state house campaign epitomizes the opportunity we face to protect American democracy via state legislative races. On May 3, Democrat Carol Glanville defeated Republican Robert “RJ” Regan by 11 points in a special election for a Michigan House seat that had only ever been held by a Republican.
Glanville will represent the current 74th District in Kent County – the suburban communities outside of Grand Rapids including Grandville, Rockford, Walker and surrounding municipalities. Glanville’s term will expire on December 31 as new district maps go into effect. She and Regan have filed to run in the new 84th House District this fall.
Glanville’s opponent, Regan, made national headlines in March for suggesting rape victims “lie back and enjoy it,” after promoting conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic and sharing antisemitic rhetoric. He lost despite being favored in the heavily Republican district. Like other political candidates around the country, with strong allegiance to Trump, Regan supports efforts to destabilize our democracy. He supports a group of activists in Michigan who are pushing a ballot initiative to “decertify” the 2020 presidential election in Michigan and declare Trump as the winner.
The petition group, Decertify Michigan, wants to nullify Michigan’s 2020 presidential election results and replace the slate of electors sent to certify the election with their Republican counterparts. The measure would also require the state legislature to appoint an “independent counsel” to investigate the election and mandate state and local election officials submit reports on the 2020 election records to the legislature. This initiative is unconstitutional and wouldn’t change the election outcome even if passed. Over 250 local audits of the 2020 election, conducted by election officials of both major parties in Michigan, found no evidence of voter fraud that would have changed the outcome. A report from the nonpartisan Office of the Auditor General, as well as an investigation by the Republican-led Senate Oversight Committee, reached the same conclusion. However, these efforts could very well deter people from becoming elected officials or voting.
To fight back elected officials supporting anti-democratic initiatives and to keep state legislatures in control of groups that honor democracy, it’s imperative that we get involved in these races.
How else can YOU help right now?
Through the rest of this election cycle, OneV looks forward to sharing inspiring personal and professional stories of state legislative candidates in battleground states, to inform American citizens about opportunities to preserve our democratic institutions and ensure fair elections in 2024 and beyond.
To help OneV in our effort to raise awareness about and bring support to protectors of democracy running for state legislative positions, please contribute today. Whether $5 or $500, no amount is too small! Donate by texting the code onev2022 to 22525 or via the following link: OneV Donation Page.