Two election officials from different states discuss the dangers of election denialism.

In a recent conversation recorded on February 6, two secretaries of state, one Republican and one Democrat, discussed the potential threat of election denialism to local officials. As the Supreme Court considers whether to bar former President Donald Trump from Colorado’s primary, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab expressed concern about the arbitrary authority of removing a candidate from the ballot without a trial. On the other hand, Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes argued that Trump does not need to be convicted of a criminal offense to be disqualified from holding office. Both secretaries joined CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on “The Takeout” to discuss the increased pressure on local election officials in their respective states. While Fontes maintains that elections in Arizona are fair and reliable, he acknowledged the rise of misinformation and conspiracy theories, leading to direct threats and intimidation. Schwab also shared stories of threats and resignations among senior election officials in Kansas, leaving the state with a less experienced workforce. Both secretaries criticized the Department of Justice for not taking swift action against those who harass election officials, with Fontes calling it a form of domestic terrorism. They also agreed that there is a financial incentive for individuals to promote election denialism. “This has become an industry,” Schwab said, citing the example of Douglas Frank, a prominent election conspiracy theorist who receives monthly donations from supporters.  

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