Posted by Adam Fogel on February 18, 2009The race for Ohio's soon-to-be-open U.S. Senate seat is heating up, with Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher making dueling announcements yesterday. Secretary Brunner has been a long-time voting rights and election reform advocate, setting up the Voting Rights Institute in her office to combat some of the disenfranchising practices of her predecessor. Secretary Brunner also instituted a pilot program in Ohio that automatically provided voter registration forms to graduating high school students in five counties. In the previous election cycle, she was one of the most proactive secretaries, handing down a series of directives to county election officials to ensure uniformity across the state.
Her opponent, Lt. Gov. Fisher, is one of the most well-known and respected Democrats in the state. He previously served as the state's attorney general, a state senator and state representative. He is also serving as Director of Development, an important job in a state that is hemorrhaging jobs in this difficult economic climate. As attorney general, Lt. Gov. Fisher won praise for instituting the "early detection program"--a way for companies to manage issues without the threat of litigation.
Although election reform is often not a major topic in U.S. Senate campaigns, it will be interesting to see how (and if) Secretary Brunner touts her impressive record in this area and how Lt. Gov. Fisher responds. As a native Ohioan, I'll be closely following this race and will be sure to keep everyone posted here on the FairVote blog!