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Poll: Too many GOP voters lack confidence in accuracy of vote totals

Nearly half of Republican voters have little to no confidence that this year's election results will be accurate. In a democracy, that's untenable.


Election Day is three weeks away, and soon after the polls close, voters will start seeing the results. A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggests that an unsettling number of Americans won’t necessarily believe the vote tallies are accurate.

The poll shows 47% of Americans say they have “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence that the votes in the 2022 midterm elections will be counted accurately. Confidence is highest among Democrats, 74% of whom say they’re highly confident. On the Republican side, confidence in elections is decidedly mixed: 25% have high confidence, 30% have moderate confidence and 45% have little to no confidence.

Looking at the polling data, “mixed” isn’t exactly the first adjective that comes to mind. “Scary” seems more appropriate.

Even before Donald Trump came down the Trump Tower escalator seven years ago, Republican officials peddled baseless claims about “voter fraud” that only existed in partisan imaginations, which they used to justify wholly unnecessary voting restrictions.

But after Trump took control of the Republican Party, the message to rank-and-file GOP voters about the integrity of vote totals has grown vastly more toxic. Elections are “rigged,” the former president and his cohorts insist. There’s systemic “fraud,” they claim without evidence. Offices are “stolen” by those who only appear to have won elections, they tell us.

The only legitimate election results, these Republican voices argue, are the ones they approve of.

The problem, of course, isn’t just the lies — it’s the fact that far too many GOP voters actually believe the lies, to the point that nearly half of the party’s voters have little to no confidence that the election results will be accurate.

As The New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie put it this morning, Republican elites have successfully convinced far too many of their followers “that American elections are shams.”

As for why this matters, the consequences are dramatic. For one thing, the more GOP voters believe this nonsense, the more they’ll elect Republicans to impose new and unnecessary voting restrictions.

For another, when a major American political party is dominated by those who don’t accept election results, the results are sometimes violent, as we saw on Jan. 6.

In a healthy, functioning democracy, citizens recognize the legitimacy of elections as the sole vehicle for establishing the nation’s direction. The more that Republican voters look askance at vote totals, the more dangerous our circumstances become.