Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter with words of encouragement this week after Democrats prevailed in critical races for Secretary of State around the country.
After the 2020 elections, individuals then filling these roles in key swing states like Georgia and Michigan faced intense pressure to take action on results that were unfavorable to Trump and his supporters. This time, Republicans who explicitly pushed conspiracy theories about elections were running for Secretary of State in states including Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan — and they lost. That means that whatever specific responsibilities are in place in these locales for Secretaries of State in handling voter registration, the certification of election results, the investigation of allegations of electoral irregularities, or something similar will be completed by individuals committed to upholding the ideals of democracy — not conspiracy theorists. Even when conducting an investigation, as Georgia’s Secretary of State did over and over after the 2020 elections, the results could be skewed by someone looking for a specific outcome and then used as an excuse for corrupt action.
Recent years have seemingly proven that if there’s a procedural point of the process of handling elections that conspiracy-minded individuals can abuse, they’ll find it. What if a Secretary of State refuses to intervene when electoral equipment has been compromised by conspiracy theorists looking for imaginary fraud, like happened in Colorado’s Mesa County? (The Secretary of State responsible for part of the effective official response to what happened in Mesa County was re-elected in the midterms.) The possibilities just keep going. “I can’t emphasize enough how much Secretary of State races matter. They don’t always get the most attention, but they’re crucial to ensuring we have fair elections—and this time, voters across the country chose candidates who will fight for democracy,” Obama said.
After mentioning specific Democratic victories, including in Arizona, where state legislator Mark Finchem — who was even on the ground in D.C. on January 6 — lost to Democrat Adrian Fontes, Obama added: “Getting the right folks in these jobs – and many others – was an important step. But we can’t rest. We need to keep speaking out against dangerous candidates, keep supporting good ones, and keep voting up and down the ballot. Our democracy depends on it.”