In recent weeks, our nation and our democracy were attacked by our own government. Donald Trump’s “voter integrity” commission demanded each state hand over the names, addresses, and social security numbers of millions of Americans citizens. Led by state secretaries of State, more than 40 states said “no” in whole or part to Trump’s effort. Just two weeks ago we learned of another unprecedented attack on our nation and our great democracy. Department of Homeland Security officials testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian agents attempted to hack the election systems of 21 states in advance of the 2016 elections. An earlier report by Bloomberg found that the election systems of up to 39 states were hacked by Russia.
Secretaries of State are on the frontlines of our national security: election systems in over 30 states are run by state secretaries of State. In a world of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, secretaries of State are our democracy’s new first responders. Voters don’t tend to be invested in this political office, but the person filling the role will be guarding against attempts by a hostile foreign government to compromise our democracy.
The seemingly dull administrative position is actually a powerful political office that some use to suppress the will of voters and others use to ensure that every eligible voter has their voice heard.