Right-Wing Nutjobs Are Running For state Secretary of State Positions. Here’s Why That Matters
In many states, the state Secretary of State oversees elections.
As reported in a 2014 Mother Jones article, Rep. Jody Hice (GA-10) believes that there is plot by the LGBTQ+ community to “recruit” children and that same-sex couples cannot raise healthy children. He also once served as a pastor in a church that expressed a belief in biblical inerrancy.
Tina Peters, a Colorado county clerk, went into hiding with none other than Mike Lindell last summer, is under investigation by the FBI and the state of Colorado for allegedly causing a security breach of her county’s election system. And, earlier this month, she shot to internet infamy when she tried to kick a cop during an arrest.
A Republican state committee member in Michigan, Kristina Karamo, claimed to have personally witnessed the mishandling of absentee ballots and supported overturning the election results. In Arizona, a state representative, Mark Finchem, a member of the Oath Keepers and a QAnon believer, took part in the January 6th insurrection. Two other Arizona state legislators, Shawna Bolick and Michelle Ugenti-Rita, have both introduced legislation to make it more difficult to vote in Arizona and have both expressed a desire to overturn the 2020 election results.
The previously mentioned people all have two things in common. First, they have all expressed support for “The Big Lie” at some point. And, second, they are all running for Secretary of State.
While the job duties of state Secretary of State vary for state to state, nearly all state Secretaries of State have the responsibility to oversee elections. The Secretary of State in your state most likely determines who is eligible to vote in your state, keeps track of voter registration rolls, and, in some instances, decides who is eligible to run for state office. And almost all of them have the responsibility of certifying election results.
There are twenty-seven states electing Secretaries of State this year. Five of those races are being held in states where the Trump campaign challenged the 2020 election results. A corrupt or incompetent Secretary of State can cause hiccups in the election process; a hyper-partisan SOS with authoritarian leanings can set the United States on course to become an autocracy.
The United States is already a backsliding democracy. Preventing Trump supporters from making further gains in state governments can prevent it from becoming a full-on fascist state.