Campaigning on the Big Lie

Campaigning on the Big Lie

By The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

More than a year after the 2020 election, roughly a third of Americans continue to believe, without evidence, that the results of the election were illegitimate. And now, GOP candidates are tapping into the “Big Lie,” campaigning for office on the promise to change how future elections are run.

We zero in on Michigan, a key swing state where Republicans are aiming to shape the future of elections. Reporter Byard Duncan talks with the Antrim County clerk, who was flooded with ugly calls and threats after her office accidentally assigned votes meant for Donald Trump to Joe Biden. While the error was quickly fixed, many in the GOP, including Trump, have used the county to sow doubt about the entire election’s results. Duncan reports on the race for secretary of state, Michigan’s top election official, and how the leading GOP candidate has repeatedly referenced Antrim County to question the integrity of elections. The Trump-endorsed candidate has outraised her Republican opponents by at least tenfold. 

There was no meaningful election fraud in Michigan in 2020. But some local election officials who voted to certify the election have paid a price. Reporter Trey Bundy tells the story of Wayne County official Monica Palmer, a Republican who was kicked off the local canvassing board after certifying the election. And she’s just one of many: Republicans have now placed new election officials on boards in eight of Michigan’s largest counties. At least half of them have cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election.

Finally, looking to the future, Republicans in Michigan are making it harder to vote. Since the 2020 election, the Michigan Senate, led by Republicans, has introduced nearly 40 bills to change its election laws, all of which propose new barriers to voting. Guest host Shereen Marisol Meraji talks with Branden Snyder, co-executive director of Detroit Action, a local activist group that organizes working-class Detroiters, about how his group is mobilizing against efforts to undermine the vote.

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