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In Idaho Secretary of State debate, two out of three candidates say they don't believe Biden won 2020 election

idaho secretary of state candidates.jpg
Aaron Kunz | Idaho Public Television
Idaho Secretary of State candidates Phil McGrane, Mary Souza and Dorothy Moon participate in a Idaho Public Television debate on Tuesday, April 26.

Three Republicans are running to be Idaho’s top election official. They are Ada County Clerk and election worker Phil McGrane, Mary Souza, a state senator from Coeur d’Alene, and Representative Dorothy Moon of central Idaho. And they met this week for a televised debate.

In the debate, McGrane, Souza and Moon clashed over unproven voter fraud allegations, and whether voter fraud is even a problem in Idaho.

McGrane, the only candidate who believes President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, argues the state’s top election official needs to be someone with election experience. He also argues that widespread fear about voter fraud in the state needs to be met with education.

“One of the big things I want to do as secretary of state is make sure that Idahoans feel confident that when they drop they're ballot in the ballot box, that your vote will count, and that your vote will count just the same as anyone else and that no one is tampering with your elections,” McGrane said.

Souza falsely claimed vote fraud is common, and that it is looming for Idaho.

“We have to secure our system, even if we don't have fraud right now, it is coming and it is all around us, and we have to make sure we have a safe system,” Souza said.

Both Souza and Moon have introduced restrictive election legislation, ranging from restrictions on the forms of ID that can be used to registration to vote and measures to make it harder to register online or vote by mail.

Moon also believes President Biden did not win the 2020 election fairly.

“I'm very concerned about what has happened, we cannot let it happen again and Idaho needs to be the beacon on the hill and show that our elections will not be compromised, and that we will definitely fight to make sure that there’s no doubt in our system,” Moon said.

The full debate is available on Idaho Public Television’s YouTube page, and will air on KPBX at noon on May 10.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.