PHOENIX — With Tuesday’s primary victories in Arizona and Michigan added to those in Nevada and Pennsylvania, Republicans who have disputed the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election and who could affect the outcome of the next one are on a path toward winning decisive control over how elections are run in several battleground states.
Running in a year in which G.O.P. voters are energized by fierce disapproval of President Biden, these newly minted Republican nominees for secretary of state and governor have taken positions that could threaten the nation’s traditions of nonpartisan elections administration, acceptance of election results and orderly transfers of power.
Each has spread falsehoods about fraud and illegitimate ballots, endorsing the failed effort to override the 2020 results and keep former President Donald J. Trump in power. Their history of anti-democratic impulses has prompted Democrats, democracy experts and even some fellow Republicans to question whether these officials would oversee fair elections and certify winners they didn’t support.
There is no question that victories by these candidates in November could lead to sweeping changes to how millions of Americans vote. Several have proposed eliminating mail voting, ballot drop boxes and even the use of electronic voting machines, while empowering partisan election observers and expanding their roles.
“If any one of these election deniers wins statewide office, that’s a five-alarm fire for our elections,” said Joanna Lydgate, the chief executive of States United Action, a bipartisan legal and democracy watchdog organization. “It could throw our elections into chaos. It could put our democracy at risk.”
In Arizona, Republicans nominated Mark Finchem, who marched at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to protest Mr. Biden’s victory, for secretary of state, the top election official in the state. They also elevated Abraham Hamadeh, who called his opponents and other Republicans “weak-kneed” for supporting certification of the 2020 election, as their nominee for attorney general.
And with votes still being counted, Kari Lake, who has said she would not have certified Mr. Biden’s 10,000-vote victory in her state, held a slight lead in the G.O.P. primary for governor.
Both Ms. Lake and Mr. Finchem have made their willingness to flout some democratic norms and their promotion of conspiracy theories central to their campaigns. Ms. Lake has said she doesn’t believe the state holds fair elections. Even before votes were cast, Mr. Finchem was preparing for a recount of his race “if there’s the slightest hint of impropriety.”
“Ain’t going to be no concession speech coming from this guy,” he said in June.
On Tuesday, both Ms. Lake and Mr. Finchem claimed that there was fraud in the state’s primaries.