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Election Denial in Massachusetts

  • 0 Election Deniers currently hold statewide office with election oversight power.

  • 2 Election Deniers have held, or run for, statewide office since 2020.

The landscape in Massachusetts

Massachusetts voters had an Election Denier on the ballot for Governor in 2022: Geoff Diehl, who had claimed that the 2020 election was “stolen from Trump” and “rigged in a way that should never happen again.” 

Diehl later backed away and acknowledged President Biden’s win. But you don’t get to flip-flop on democracy, and voters decisively rejected him in any case: Diehl lost by 29 percentage points. 

Election Deniers have caused trouble in Massachusetts even without controlling state offices, though. In 2022, local election officials were bombarded by frivolous records requests. “The requests are coming from people who are really not seriously interested in the information they’re looking for,” Secretary of State Bill Galvin told WCVB. “They’re just simply looking to poke at people who they don’t like and states they don’t like, which we happen to be one of. It just is inappropriate.”

0 Election Deniers hold statewide Office right now.

Elections are run by the states. In Massachusetts, the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State are the state officials responsible for overseeing elections. It’s up to them to make sure the will of the people is always respected.

Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections

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How Massachusetts compares

Every state runs its own elections, with its own laws and processes. Check out how Massachusetts compares with other states in its region when it comes to Election Deniers holding state election administration jobs.

Election Denial in New England States

Sitting official is an Election Denier

  1. In Maine, the Secretary of State is appointed by the legislature.
  2. In New Hampshire, the Secretary of State is appointed by the legislature.

Beyond the ballot box

Each year, state legislators introduce thousands of bills related to elections. And in the past few years, we’ve identified a concerning trend. Across the country, state legislatures are considering bills that would make it easier for partisan actors to manipulate an election, and maybe even overturn the will of the people. We’re tracking these bills along with our partners in an ongoing series of reports called “A Democracy Crisis in the Making.” In 2023 alone, through early May, we tracked 185 bills introduced in 38 state legislatures that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections. 

The anti-democracy playbook is simple: change the rules and change the referees, in order to change the results. These bills go hand-in-hand with the Election Denier movement: They’re about taking power away from voters and making it harder for trusted election officials to do their jobs.

Read the full report

Legislative Interference in Massachusetts by Category

As of May 3, 2023, no bills had been introduced or were under consideration in Massachusetts. None have been enacted or adopted and none have been vetoed after passing.

  • Usurping control over election results.
    These bills would give legislators or other state officials direct control over election outcomes.
  • Requiring partisan or unprofessional election “audits” or reviews.
    These bills would establish vague post-election review schemes without the professional standards of traditional audits.
  • Seizing power over election responsibilities.
    These bills would shift election administration responsibilities away from professional, nonpartisan officials and toward partisan actors in the legislature.
  • Creating unworkable burdens in election administration.
    These bills would interfere with the basic procedures of election administration, increasing the risk of chaos and delay and enabling misleading claims of irregularity.
  • Imposing disproportionate criminal or other penalties.
    These bills would create or expand penalties for election officials in the ordinary execution of their jobs, including criminalizing inadvertent mistakes.