In the lead up to the US midterm elections, ISD provided research and commentary to POLITICO on local election fraud narratives already spreading, the influence of national-level conpiracists, and the similarities to earlier ‘Stop the Steal’ campaigns.
ISD researchers had been tracking election fraud narratives in specific swing states, including Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona, across six social media platform ahead of the November elections. When looking at the posts on social platforms like Telegram, Truth Social and Rumble, we found that state-focused online conspiracy groups promoting false election-denial claims, were able to reach local online audiences before switching to national messaging.
ISD tracked small networks of online users: “They posted grainy images of suspected, but unfounded, claims of ballot tampering. They highlighted legitimate voter-registration errors as proof of a conspiracy to disenfranchise right-wing voters. They accused Democratic candidates of repeated electoral fraud.”
Senior Analyst Ciaran O’Connor told POLITICO that current state-level, election-denying efforts have mirrored the foundational tactics behind Stop the Steal and the offline activity that followed in response to alleged voting irregularities.
“The similarities [to Stop the Steal] are very clear,” said Ciarán. “Groups are trying to delegitimize types of voting that favor Democrats.”