Trump Opens Door for Democrat to Run for Secretary of State on Election Security

The Trump Administration’s managerial incompetence and appeasement of Russia are opening the door for a smart South Dakota election nerd to rocket to the top in next year’s Secretary of State election. Attendees at the National Association of Secretaries of State say they are worried the Trump Administration is leaving states hanging with no clear guidance on blocking election hackers:

…both Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State, who are responsible for carrying out elections in many states, said they have been frustrated in recent months by a lack of information from federal intelligence officials on allegations of Russian meddling with the vote. They say that despite the best efforts by federal officials, it may be too late in to make substantive changes.

“I’m doubtful,” said Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, a Democrat. “We shouldn’t feel like we’ve been tied to a chair and blindfolded … It’s very hard to help further instill public confidence that you know what you’re doing if you don’t have any information” [Brian, Slodysko, “State Election Officials Worry About 2018 Election Security,” Associated Press, 2017.07.09].

In the short term, South Dakotans concerned about election security may want to make sure Dusty Johnson wins the GOP U.S. House primary so his challenger, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, can get back off the campaign trail and focus on running the 2018 general election. In the slightly longer term, a smart Democrat with a passion for election law and technology should seize the opportunity to grab the issue of election security and run for Krebs’s job.

Russian hacking and Trump’s data overreach offer a Democrat an opportunity to launch the usually quieter contest for Secretary of State into major headlines. The race offers the opportunity to offer South Dakotans a platform of protecting the integrity of our votes from any bad actors, foreign and domestic:

  1. No surrender of South Dakota data to federal voter databases, especially not for an ad hoc commission rigged to support the President’s partisan agenda and whose own chairman can’t follow the law.
  2. Paper ballot for every voter.
  3. Hand count of every ballot.
  4. Rock-solid data security—hardware, software, and practices to ensure the only way Putin can hack our election data is by walking into the courthouse with an axe.

Democrats have a candidate for Governor, and signals are emerging that we’ll have U.S. House covered shortly. The next juicy electoral apple is Secretary of State. The right Democrat with the right focus on election security can make that race matter.


13 Responses to Trump Opens Door for Democrat to Run for Secretary of State on Election Security

  1. Porter Lansing

    Run Cory Run!!! Hand counted paper ballots? Genius …

  2. Don Coyote

    From the Daily Republic link: “I believe that we will have equality in the state of South Dakota when white people elect a person of color to state office, and not just a district position, but an at-large position, at statewide election,” LaPlante said. ”

    Really? Even though LaPlante is only 48, his unawareness of SD Congressman Ben Reifel’s 10 years in Congress is inexcusable. Reifel was born on the Rosebud Reservation and his mother was of Lakota descent. Reifel also had one of the coolest campaign signs ever with it’s iconic Indian trade musket (I believe).

  3. Porter, of all the jobs on the statewide ballot below Governor, I would enjoy and present the best qualifications for state election chief. Imagine the thrill of getting to work with petitions and ballots and election law every day!

  4. Coyote, LaPlante would still do a better job of protecting our election data from federal overreach than any Republican candidate committed to making apologies for Il Duce. (But on your quibble, notice that LaPlante appears to have offered more historical awareness than you: he specified “not just a district position, but an at-large position.” Reifel served the First District in South Dakota from 1961 to 1971, when we had two districts.)

  5. Porter Lansing

    Cory, I see two political parties in South Dakota, currently. Republicans and Non-Republicans. The latter has the momentum. PS … and they won’t steal your flag :0)

  6. Don Coyote

    @cah: “But on your quibble, notice that LaPlante appears to have offered more historical awareness than you: he specified “not just a district position, but an at-large position.” Reifel served the First District in South Dakota from 1961 to 1971, when we had two districts.)”

    If you read LaPlante’s remark in the context of the article, clearly he is talking about “districts” as in a Legislative sense.

    While South Dakota did have 2 Congressional Districts for quite some time in the 1900’s, that makes it no less remarkable that a Lakota Indian could be elected to Federal office in South Dakota even if it wasn’t an at-large election.

  7. Roger Cornelius

    LaPlante hardly committed a mortal sin by neglecting to mention former Congressmen Ben Reifel, there are many young and old politicos that are not aware of Reifel’s service.
    Heck, I lived in the same neighborhood as Reifel when he was the farm agent (now agency superintendent) at Pine Ridge Agency and forget about his history. It has something to do with the fact that he was a republican and even back than, acted like one.

  8. Zinnnger Roger, true that what you say. Fact is Henry Red Cloud was the most qualified for the job he ran for at the PUC, but then, more qualified does not mean much here in our state of chaos.

  9. What do you mean “if”, Coyote? I did read the article, the whole article, all context available for LaPlante’s remark. No such “Legislative sense” is clear. To the contrary, LaPlante’s words—”elect a person of color to state office, and not just a district position, but an at-large position, at statewide election”—emphasize that he’s thinking of state office, so he’s already moved beyond Legislature, and he uses the word “and” to emphasize not just a Congressman elected to a district as was possible in Reifel’s time but an at-large, statewide official. LaPlante uses terms (key: “at-large”) that apply to the history of our Congressional seats but not to our Legislative races.

    And my main point still stands: Democrats have a great opportunity to make election security a primary issue and elevate their Secretary of State candidate as an important player in the 2018 election to generate more coattails.

  10. JR LaPlante knows whom Ben Riefel is and didn’t forget anything. He’s talking about state wide state office. Ok.

    Call him up, visit with him. Good honorable smart guy.

  11. Porter Lansing

    Thanks, Spike

  12. How about JR LaPlante for Secretary of State?

  13. It is remarkable that Coyote still thinks it was “remarkable that a Lakota Indian could be elected to Federal office in South Dakota even if it wasn’t an at-large election.”

    Of course, the nation is not yet in a state of equality despite the election of Barack Obama. “But its gettin’ there!” Bob Dylan