Raphael Warnock, Hephzibah, GA
The 2022 election season finished off with the Georgia Senate run-off. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) rallied supporters in Hephzibah, GA, on December 3, 2022. Photo credit: © Sue Dorfman/ZUMA Press Wire
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Although it was what used to be known as an “off year,” 2022 turned out to be quite a year for electoral politics and process — as busy and compelling as they come.

At stake in these midterms was not only control of Congress and key states, but the fate of a long roster of Donald Trump-endorsed “election deniers” and, in many respects, the political future of Trump himself. A host of mainstream observers warned that nothing less than our democracy was on the line, and millions of voters took that warning to heart.

The year’s electoral turbulence was reflected in WhoWhatWhy’s coverage, with no fewer than 50 election integrity-related and democracy-themed pieces appearing in 2022. We examined every facet — from gerrymandering, to voter suppression, to messaging and misinformation, to transparency, security, vulnerability, participation, media coverage, and the role of money. 

And we issued a comprehensive US Elections Report Card, grading and ranking each state on its adherence to democratic and fairness principles.

From this trove of coverage, here are some of the most incisive and informative pieces — the top 15 of the year.


election integrity, word cloud

Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from and Mary Pahlke / Pixabay

The Electoral Devil’s Dictionary: A Glossary of Terms the Pundits Kick Around

What exactly, for example, does someone mean when they say “voter fraud?” And does it mean what they think it means?


Cowboy Barbie, AR-15, Trump

Photo credit: © Ty O’Neil/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire

Stopping the Next “Stop the Steal”

Unwilling to accept defeat, Trump — and all those conditioned to the same denial — could ask one very simple question: How do we know?

 


Angela Gallegos, certifies, voting machines

Technician Angela Gallegos certifies election voting machines on October 10, 2022, at the Bernalillo County Board of Elections Warehouse in preparation for early voting. Photo credit: © Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA Press Wire

US Elections: Dangerous Erosion of Trust in a Dangerously Untrustworthy Process

Election experts Jonathan Simon and Lynn Bernstein go deep into how America’s myriad of voting systems operate, and the reasons trust in them has cratered,


Georgia Republicans, recount protestGeorgia Republicans, recount protest

Hundreds of Georgia Republicans gather outside the Capitol in Atlanta, GA at a rally to show support for President Trump, demanding a vote recount in state, November 21, 2020. Photo credit: © Robin Rayne/ZUMA Wire

Was a ‘Stop the Steal’ Election Hijacking Strategy Brewed Up in Coffee County?

A team of Trump 2020 partisans meddled with voting software to see if they could find proof for “Stop the Steal” claims. Perversely, their “probe” hints at how a future steal might work. 

 


North Carolina, Senate districts

Counting votes in North Carolina can be contentious. Photo credit: © Sue Dorfman/ZUMA Press Wire

Just Trust, Don’t Verify: A Recipe for Electoral Disaster

Election officials must not only identify the rightful winners but also provide the public convincing evidence that they did so.


Election workers, Des Moines, Callanan Middle School

Election workers have historically been middle-aged and elderly women. Increasing harassment of election workers has driven many of them out of volunteering. Photo credit: Phil Roeder / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Big Lie Fallout: Experts Fear Threats Will Cause Poll Workers to Quit

Experts warn that a shortage of qualified personnel to replace retreating election workers could have serious consequences for upcoming elections.

 


Coffee County, historical marker

Coffee County historical marker and the county courthouse in Douglas, GA. Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

What Donald Trump Got Right About Voting Machines

The weird drama over the supposed “forensic experts” who messed with election software in a tiny Georgia county distracts from the real problem: Voting machines — and our elections — are indeed vulnerable. 

 


Kim Crockett, anti-union

Kim Crockett speaking against public sector unions on the US Supreme Court steps in Washington, DC, on January 11, 2016. Photo credit: © Jeff Malet/NC via ZUMA Press

The Drop Box ‘Problem’: Election Truthers’ Fictional Claim Gains Traction

This November, millions of Americans will vote for candidates whose shared agenda appears to be to make it more difficult for many of them to vote.


Asymmetric Political Warfare, scales, donkey, elephant

Politics in America has become asymmetrical warfare. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from North Charleston / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0), Lars Hammar / Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), and DonkeyHotey / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

No, It’s Not Both Sides: Response to a Liberal Friend

Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats haven’t yet learned how to gin up outrage, or how to lie with joyous abandon. As a consequence, this warfare is asymmetrical — but that seems to be lost on too many Democrats.


US Elections Report Card, voter, line

Photo credit: VOA / Wikimedia

US Elections Report Card Shows Many States Are Failing Democracy Test

Our report and interactive map paint a bleak picture for election integrity across America. 


Andrew Yang. speech

Andrew Yang speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA, on August 9, 2019. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/ Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Manna for the MAGAs? The Worrisome Impact of Yang’s New Party

Yang’s big idea for his new party, Forward, is to disrupt the party system — a luxury that, right now, it looks like we can’t afford.


Ron DeSantis, Florida, voting police

Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.

DeSantis’s New Voter Fraud Police — Good Cop or Bad Cop?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) finally got his “voter fraud police” force. If the new unit really were serious about going after bad actors who jeopardize the integrity of elections, he would also be its first target.


Gretchen Whitmer, Ron DeSantis, Michigan, 2024 election

Michigan Democrats celebrate taking full control of government. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.

How the Media Became the Most Consistent Election Loser

Why does the media keep botching their coverage of elections? A big reason is that journalists allow the right-wing spin machine to dictate the narrative.

 


Moore v. Harper, protest, Supreme Court

Protesters gather outside the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC during oral arguments in the case Moore v. Harper on December 7, 2022. Photo credit: © Stephen Shaver/ZUMA Press Wire

Moore v. Harper: The Far Right’s Will — and Way? — to Power

Moore threatens to obliterate at the state level the very system of checks and balances that the US Constitution enshrines at the federal level.

 


Early Voting, Cleveland, OH, 2020

Voters line up to show their support for their candidate. Photo credit: Joe Biden / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Letter to My Nonvoting Daughter

Feeling apathetic about voting?  Read the provocative words below.  They should propel you right into the voting booth. 

 


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