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:
- 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.
- Paper ballot for every voter.
- Hand count of every ballot.
- 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.