As we begin the 2006 election cycle, secretary of state races deserve the same high profile voters generally reserve for congressional and gubernatorial contests. In their common role as chief election official, secretaries of state administer the system we use to elect these other offices. When voters consider the candidates for this office, they need to consider these candidates’ abilities to administer elections in a fair manner that balances problems of voter accessibility and voter fraud. Beyond this, voters should also consider the role that a candidate would play in encouraging participation in elections through voter registration and education efforts.
For example, Danny Tarkanian recently announced his candidacy for secretary of state in Nevada by saying that it is not his responsibility to get people to the polls and that higher voter turnout does not mean election officials have done a better job. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Mark Ritchie is running for secretary of state in Minnesota on a platform of eliminating the barriers to full participation in our democratic process. The public needs to pay attention to these positions and use their votes for this office as an expression of their vision of our democracy.
[More information on 2006 secretary of state races]
[Read an article on Danny Tarkanians campaign announcement]
[Read FairVote's full commentary on this announcement]