MADISON, Wis. — By now, you’ve probably heard about what’s at stake in these midterm elections, especially when it comes to congressional and gubernatorial elections across the country.
However, voters in some states may be seeing the Secretary of State election as important for the first time.
In the spotlight
The work of the secretary of state usually does not attract much attention.
In Madison, Wisconsin, the Secretary of State has very few duties. The office is located in the basement of the state capital.
This year, however, this easily forgotten job is gaining attention in states across the country.
“The office may not be exciting, but it’s important,” said Amy Loudenbeck, who running in Wisconsin as a Republican.
“It’s different this year,” said Doug LaFollette, a Democrat running to keep the job he’s held for more than 40 years.
Why do these races attract attention? Simple. 2024 will be an unpredictable and historic race.
Whether it’s President Biden running, former President Trump or another politician becoming the face of their party, 2020 has shown that Secretary of State can be an important position in many states because of their role in election outcomes.
In Georgia, for example, the Secretary of State faced pressure from President Trump to make him quote “find the vote.” Now that’s the stuff of grandeur
Wisconsin is governed by an independent body known as the Wisconsin Election Commission.
However, Luddenbeck and many Republicans want the secretary of state to oversee it, like most other states.
State lawmakers and the governor after the midterm elections would have to approve any changes.
“Give me the keys to the basement office so I can start serving people,” Ludenbeck said.
La Follette disagrees.
“They’re trying to install their Trump-type people,” La Follette said.
La Follette believes that states should try to make the process as nonpartisan as possible.
“It’s still better than having a politician,” La Follette said.
BATTLES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
There are twenty-seven secretary of state races across the country this year.
In some cases, the candidates spoke openly.
In Arizona, Republican Mark Fincham, a state lawmaker, supported the 2020 election decertification bill.
In Michigan, Republican Kristina Karamo previously claimed illegal vote counting in Detroit.
Meanwhile, on the other side, many Democratic candidates are promising to fight for things like more ballot boxes and mail-in ballots — something many Republican voters have taken notice of.
In Wisconsin, Luddenbeck did not rule out a Biden presidency during her fall campaign.
“Wisconsin’s votes were cast in support of Joe Biden,” Ludenbeck said.
However, she believes in reforms.
“Voting is the right thing to do, absenteeism is a privilege,” Ludenbeck said.
“Voting in person is the safest way to make sure your votes are cast,” Ludenbeck said.
As for La Follette, he’s just thankful voters are starting to pay attention.
“I get a check from California for $50, from Michigan for $100,” La Follette said of the unsolicited donations he receives.
“People are worried about our democracy and the integrity of our elections,” La Follette said.