Next month’s midterms will take place with many conservative candidates claiming that the 2020 elections were fraudulent, even though there is no credible evidence to support those claims. Sixty percent of voters across the country will have an election denier on the ballot this fall.

New data from the political analysis blog FiveThirtyEight also shows nearly 200 out of the roughly 550 Republican nominees running for office this November fully deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Seven of them are running in the Tar Heel state. That includes Representatives Dan Bishop in North Carolina’s 8th congressional district, Richard Hudson in the 9th, and Virginia Foxx in the 5th.

Adriane Fresh is an assistant professor of political science at Duke University. She calls the proliferation of false claims about 2020 worrisome. She says democracy, when citizens don’t believe in its legitimacy, is fragile.

“The rhetoric of a stolen 2020 election suggests that many elites are lacking in these requisite beliefs in democratic institutions,” she says. “Of course, it’s important to acknowledge that this rhetoric may be a ploy or a tactic, but that’s not likely to be the case universally.”

Recent polling by Monmouth University suggests nearly a third of Americans — including six in ten Republicans — still believe President Joe Biden is not the legitimate president of the United States.

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