Secretary of State

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West Virginia: Warner alleges Tennant sabotaged secretary of state office changeover | Charleston Gazette-Mail

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner alleged Thursday that his predecessor, Natalie Tennant, directed employees to “sabotage” the office’s transition to Warner’s administration. Tennant called Warner’s allegations “ridiculous.” “The only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner, and that’s what you have here,” Tennant said. On Thursday afternoon, Warner’s chief deputy issued a news release, claiming Tennant instructed staffers to disrupt the changeover. An hour later, Warner’s deputy, Mike Queen, put out a second news release, asking media outlets to disregard the previous release. The second release included many of the same allegations, but provided more details. Read More

Kansas: Lawmaker seeks to strip Kris Kobach of power to prosecute voting crimes | The Wichita Eagle

A Wichita state representative has filed a bill to strip Secretary of State Kris Kobach of his authority to prosecute election crimes. Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said allowing Kobach to bring criminal cases has not uncovered evidence of illegal immigrant voting fraud, which was a big part of Kobach’s pitch when the Legislature granted him prosecutorial power in 2015. “Since that time, he has commenced approximately 10 of those prosecutions, all of them against United States citizens and in virtually every instance, against folks who made mistakes in casting their ballots,” Carmichael said. “Some of these cases have since been dismissed … as unfounded, and a handful more have resulted in minimal fines against otherwise law-abiding citizens. Read More

Arizona: Lawyer calls for impeachment of Secretary of State Reagan | Arizona Daily Sun

A Chandler lawyer called for the impeachment of Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan on Friday after she failed to properly inform the public ahead of the May 17 special election. It’s unlikely that Arizona’s GOP-controlled Legislature would agree to move forward with an impeachment of a fellow Republican and former colleague, but attorney Tom Ryan said it’s necessary because Reagan intentionally hid an error resulting in hundreds of thousands of voters not receiving their election guides in time for next week’s special election. He also accused Reagan of campaigning in support of Proposition 123, one of the measures on the ballot in next week’s election. Ryan works on a campaign to oppose the same measure. “Here’s our problem: We have a secretary of state who fundamentally does not understand her job,” he said. “She is not supposed to be putting her thumb on the scales.” Read More

Missouri: Senate votes to expand Secretary of State’s powers | Associated Press

Missouri’s secretary of state would have the power to prosecute election crimes under a measure the Senate approved Thursday. Senators voted 25-4 to allow the secretary of state’s office to issue probable cause statements and take cases to court. The office’s election division currently investigates complaints, but any prosecution is left to local officials or the attorney general’s office. Sen. Will Kraus, a Republican from Lee’s Summit who sponsored the bill, said local prosecutors would still have the first opportunity to try a case. But often prosecutors focus on crimes in which someone was victimized, he said, so this bill would help ensure election cases have someone following through. Read More

Missouri: Bill Would Let Secretary of State Prosecute Voter Fraud | Ozarks First

A bill that would give the Secretary of State’s office the authority to prosecute voter fraud in Missouri is being submitted for 2016.  The bill would also allow the Secretary of State to write probable cause statements in potential voter fraud cases. “It allows them to prosecute voter fraud cases if the local prosecutor chooses not to or doesn’t have the resources,” said Senator Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit), who is sponsoring the bill.  “There are some small counties in the state of Missouri that may not have the resources and then there are some large counties that may be taking care of more violent crimes and other things that the prosecutors are a little busy with and don’t have the time for a voter fraud case.” Read More

Wyoming: Chief election officer steps down, citing ‘philosophical differences” with newly elected secretary of state | Caspar Star-Tribune

Wyoming’s top elections official has stepped down due to “philosophical differences” with Secretary of State Ed Murray. Peggy Nighswonger, who has been the state’s elections director since 1996 and worked in the Wyoming Department of Education before that, retired last month. In an interview Monday, she said her working relationship with Murray was one of the reasons she decided to end her career with the state. “I have worked for nine elected officials, and sometimes you just don’t have the same philosophy as they have,” she said. “I’m old enough to retire, and as much as I hate to leave, I just felt it was time.” Read More

Maine: Maine hosting nation’s secretaries of state in Portland | Associated Press

Lieutenant governors and secretaries of state from across the country are heading to Maine this week for their annual summer conference. The National Association of Secretaries of State conference, hosted by Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, begins Thursday. The four-day event will be held in Portland. Dunlap’s office says that lieutenant governors and secretaries of state from 34 states are planning to attend. Read More

Connecticut: Senate Responds To Election Day Problems With Bill Giving More Oversight To Secretary Of State | Hartford Courant

The state Senate on Thursday responded to last Election Day’s polling place problems with unanimous approval of a bill that gives the Secretary of the State more control over elections officials and establishes a training and certification process for registrars of voters. Due in large part to office politics and poor personal relationships between election officials, Hartford’s registrars of voters failed in last fall’s statewide elections to adequately prepare and open several polling places on time, to properly tally votes and to properly account for absentee ballots, according to a investigative report released in January that outlined “multiple, serious errors.” Read More

Pennsylvania: Secretary of State Cortes gets neutral vote | Associated Press

A state Senate committee on Tuesday took the unusual step of sending Pedro Cortes’ nomination for a second stint as Pennsylvania’s secretary of state to the Senate floor without any recommendation. The State Government Committee voted without dissent after an hourlong hearing that largely focused on Cortes’ role in the case of former Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence for killing three babies born alive during illegal abortions at his former clinic. Read More

Colorado: Wayne Williams a contrast to former Secretary of State | The Colorado Statesman

Three months after being sworn in, Secretary of State Wayne Williams has mostly stayed out of the news, and that’s the way he likes it. It’s a marked contrast from Williams’s predecessor, fellow Republican Scott Gessler, an election law attorney who embraced the nickname “honey badger,” a varmint known for the relentlessness of its attack. Where Gessler seemingly courted controversy — and was the target of one complaint after another from Democrats — Williams is taking a more conciliatory approach, working closely with county clerks across the state and stressing his office’s mission providing services to voters, businesses and nonprofit groups. “The role, once you’re in there, isn’t about which party you’re in, it’s how you serve the citizens,” Williams said in an interview with The Colorado Statesman. “There are some things I might do differently than another individual, but I try to work very hard to make sure this government office operates the way we would if we were trying to attract customers.” Read More