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Secretary of State races emerge as high-profile contests this midterm election

The winners around the U.S. may play a pivotal role in the 2024 election
Madison, Wisconsin
Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 05:00:17-04

MADISON, WI — By now, you have likely heard about what is at stake this midterm election, especially when it comes to Congress and governors' races around the country.

However — perhaps for the first time — the election of Secretary of State is being looked at as an important one by voters in some states.

INTO THE SPOTLIGHT

The job of secretary of state usually doesn't get much attention.

In Madison, Wisconsin, the Secretary of State has so few duties. The office is in the basement of the state capitol.

However, this year, this easily forgotten job in states across the country is attracting attention.

"The office may not be exciting, but it's important," said Amy Loudenbeck, who is running for office in Wisconsin as a Republican.

"This year it's different," said Doug La Follette, a Democrat, who is running to keep the job he's had for over 40 years.

Why are these races attracting attention? Simple. 2024 will be an unpredictable and historic race.

Whether President Biden runs, former President Trump or another politician becomes the face of their respective party, 2020 showed the secretary of state could be an important job in many states because of their role in election results.

For instance, in Georgia, the Secretary of State faced pressure from President Trump to quote "find votes." It's now the subject of a grand
jury investigation.

In Wisconsin, an independent body known as the Wisconsin Elections Commission is in charge.

However, Loudenbeck and many Republicans want the secretary of state to oversee it, like most other states.

State legislators and the governor, after the midterms, would have to approve any changes.

"Give me the keys to that office in the basement so I can start serving the people," Loudenbeck said.

La Follette disagrees.

"They are trying to install their Trump-type people," La Follette said.

La Follette believes states should try making the process as non-partisan as possible.

"That's still better than having a politician in charge," La Follette said.

BATTLES ACROSS COUNTRY

Across the country this year, there is twenty-seven secretary of state races.

In some cases, candidates have been outspoken.

In Arizona, Republican Mark Finchem, a state legislator, sponsored legislation to decertify the 2020 election.

In Michigan, Republican Kristina Karamo has previously alleged illegal vote counting in Detroit.

Meanwhile, on the other side, many Democratic candidates are promising to fight for things like more ballot drop boxes and mail-in ballots—something that has made many Republican voters pay attention.

In Wisconsin, Loudenbeck didn't deny Biden's presidency during her fall campaign.

"Wisconsin votes were cast to support Joe Biden," Loudenbeck said.

However, she does believe in reforms.

"Voting is right, absentee is a privilege," Loudenbeck said.

"Voting in person is the most secure way to make sure your votes are cast," Loudenbeck said.

As for La Follette, he is just grateful voters are starting to pay attention.

"I get a check from California for $50, from Michigan for $100 dollars," La Follette said about the unsolicited donations he is receiving.

"People are worried about our democracy and integrity of elections," La Follette said.