And more recently, Marchant has urged local governments to stop using machines to cast and count votes. He wants to return to hand counting of ballots – a move experts say will lead to error and chaos in future elections.
Marchant did not respond to multiple interview requests from CNN.
His rise in recent months — and his struggle to elect like-minded election officials elsewhere — has raised alarm among national suffrage activists.
“Marchant’s rhetoric and record make it clear that he is a dangerous extremist who would work to undermine democratic elections,” Nick Penniman, the CEO of election monitoring group Issue One Action, said in a statement. “Elections should be conducted by dedicated officials who wish to conduct free and fair elections, not by rogue partisan activists who would overthrow the will of the people.”
Whoever becomes Nevada’s new secretary of state will oversee the election machinery in one of the country’s key presidential swing states.
Victory margins have tightened on this battlefield in recent years. Biden won the Silver State by just over 2 percentage points in 2020 compared to the Obama-Biden ticket’s 6-plus point win there in 2012.
The state is a top priority for Republicans this year as they seek to seize control of the US Senate. Former President Donald Trump is backing former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who will win the Republican primary, CNN projects. Born into a powerful Nevada political family, Laxalt served as Trump’s co-chairman in Nevada in the last presidential election. He will run against the first term of Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in the fall.
Trump had not given approval in the GOP secretary of state, though Marchant has emphasized the former president’s support for his unsuccessful 2020 congressional bid during this year’s election campaign.
Marchant meets Las Vegas attorney Cisco Aguilar, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
The America First plaque
So far, the so-called “America First” list that Marchant promotes has had mixed results. Foreign secretary candidates backed by the group lost recent primaries in Idaho, California and Georgia.
But others in the America First group have advanced to November’s general election. That includes Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania, Sen. Doug Mastriano, a leading voice in promoting Trump’s baseless allegations of voter fraud in Keystone state. In Pennsylvania, the governor appoints the secretary of state.
And last week, Audrey Trujillo — another member of the America First coalition and a critic of vote-counting machines — was formally nominated as the GOP’s nominee for secretary of state in New Mexico. Trujillo, who ran unopposed for the nomination, meets incumbent Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver. Trujillo likely faces a tough climb: Oliver won her first full term in 2018 by a 20-point landslide.
You must read
- This story from CNN’s Dan Merica about the GOP candidates with ties to January 6th winning their primary.
- An analysis by CNN’s Adam Wollner on the former Trump administration officials who are seeing success at the ballot box so far this year.
- This piece by NBC on an eight-figure campaign to promote Democratic foreign minister candidates in several key states – another sign of the high stakes of these polling contests in the current political environment.
This article and headline have been updated for developments on Election Night.