UPDATE: Today, June 8, 2023, the States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward released the third volume of their report A Democracy Crisis in the Making: 2024 Election Threats Emerging. The report provides a detailed analysis of the nationwide trend of state legislatures considering laws that increase the risk of election subversion and its potential impact on election administration in the 2024 election. The report identifies 185 bills in 38 states that would make it easier to manipulate an election, with 15 of them becoming law as of May 3, 2023. This is on top of nearly 400 election subversion bills identified in previous reports that were introduced in 2021 and 2022, with 56 of those becoming law in 26 states.

A Democracy Crisis in the Making Report cover

The legislative trends identified in our original April report, A Democracy Crisis in the Making, have recently intensified, with bills around the country passing or advancing. Partisan state legislatures are trying to seize control over election administration, taking it away from trusted local elections officials. We again partnered with States United Democracy Center and Protect Democracy to highlight these recent developments. As of a June 2021 update, at least 216 bills introduced in 41 states that would interfere with election administration. As of a December 2021 update, 262 bills introduced in 41 states that would interfere with election administration — and 32 of these bills have become law across 17 states. As of our May 2022 update, at least 229 bills are being considered in 33 states that would undermine nonpartisan election administration. As of our August 2022 update, 244 bills have been introduced in 33 states, including in Wisconsin, that allow state legislatures to politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections. In our December 2022 update, we acknowledge recent victories for our democracy while explaining why and how the risk of election subversion persists. The 2022 midterm results showed voters across the nation, including in Wisconsin, reaffirming their commitment to democracy and rejecting election denier candidates. But many states still have problematic laws on the books, and anti-democratic political leaders in power. While the defeat of many election denier candidates has decreased the risk of election subversion, the threat is still there.

The 2020 election is over, but attempts to undermine our democracy are not. Moves to change the rules—and put partisan political actors in charge of their own elections—are on the rise. Election meddling isn’t just happening in Georgia—it’s happening in 36 states across the country, including Wisconsin. This is an election crisis in the making: read our new report with States United Democracy Center and Protect Democracy.

These threats can’t be ignored. State legislatures are moving to politicize, criminalize, and interfere with election administration. Our report, outlining these legislative trends and what they mean, was covered in the New York Times by election law expert Rick Hasen. Read the full report here.

Law Forward report on a democracy crisis in the making