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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Secretary of State Project

    Practically every year I take some time to focus on a very important and very successful organization: the Secretary of State Project. In 2006 and 2008 they won some very key races which helped ensure fair elections. Here is their description of what they do:

    The Secretary of State Project was created by concerned citizens to provide an easy-to-use, low-cost vehicle for online donations to reform-minded Secretary of State candidates and incumbents in key battleground states. Since 2006, we have won races in 9 out of 11 states including Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana, Missouri, West Virginia, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon.

    In 2010 we will focus on re-electing reform candidates, as well as targeting open seats in key battleground states.

    In 2006 the Secretary of State Project won 5 races, ALL of them critical ones for winning in 2008:

    OHIO (open seat: replaced Ken Blackwell)
    Jennifer Brunner 1,994,276 (54.78%)
    Greg Hartmann 1,482,064 (40.71%)

    MINNESOTA (defeated Republican incumbent)
    Mark Ritchie 1,049,434 ( 49.09%)
    Mary Kiffmeyer 944,004 (44.16%)

    NEW MEXICO (open seat)
    Mary Herrera 291563 (54.0%)
    Vickie Perea 248020 (46.0%)

    NEVADA (open seat)
    Ross Miller 279,499 (48.73%)
    Danny Tarkanian 232,691 (40.57%)

    IOWA (open seat)
    Michael Mauro 538,108 ( 53.6%)
    Mary Ann Hanusa 465,871 (46.4%)

    In 2008, the Secretary of State project won 4 out of 4 races:

    MONTANA (defeated Republican incumbent)
    Linda McCulloch (D) 233,717 | 49.3%
    Brad Johnson (R) 228,717 | 48.3%

    MISSOURI (reelected Democratic incumbent)
    Robin Carnahan (D) 1,743,819 | 62%
    Mitch Hubbard (R) 1,003,692 | 36%

    WEST VIRGINIA (open seat)
    Natalie Tennant (D) 431,887 | 65%
    Charles Minimah (R) 227,784 | 35%

    OREGON (open seat)
    Kate Brown (D) 873,968 | 51%
    Rick Dancer (R) 785,740 | 46%

    Here are their 2010 candidates (so far):

    2010 Races

    Building on our successful model in 2006 and 2008, The SoS Project is strategically focusing on a handful of key state races. Our goal – to ensure fair, clean elections in 2012 and beyond.

    Defending the seats of progressive Secretaries of State:

    Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State in Minnesota

    Mark Ritchie is a true progressive champion. In 2006, the long-time community organizer defeated Republican incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer to take the reins of the election process in Minnesota. Since taking office, Secretary Ritchie has campaigned tirelessly for instituting universal or automatic registration in his state. He has also been instrumental in the fight to expand Election Day Registration in other states, including a successful campaign in Iowa. Secretary Ritchie is perhaps best known for running a scrupulously fair and transparent election recount in the Franken/Coleman 2008 Senate race. Senator Al Franken was certified as the winner of that race by a mere 312 votes.

    Debra Bowen, Secretary of State in California

    Debra Bowen is one of the most progressive Secretaries of State in the nation. Shortly taking office she ordered a “top to bottom” review of the California’s electronic voting machines which resulted in the decertification of Diebold and two other voting system manufacturers. As a result of her progressive accomplishments as Secretary of State, she was awarded a Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 2008.

    Open Seats:

    Jocelyn Benson, candidate for Secretary of State in Michigan

    Election law scholar and community organizer Jocelyn Benson is running for an open seat to replace republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land who is term-limited out of office. In 2004, she ran a voter protection campaign in 21 states, deploying 17,000 trained election law lawyers. In Michigan in 2008, Benson helped lead the fight to stop republican Secretary of State Land from disenfranchising voters who were victims of home foreclosures.

    Support our 2010 candidates by donating via ActBlue today!

    Criteria for Endorsement

    The Secretary of State Project evaluates candidates based on their positions on election issues. Specifically, affirm that you support the following principles:

    1) No election official should play a partisan role in an election he or she will play a role in administering. All election officials must conduct their responsibilities openly and objectively to restore public confidence.

    2) Our elections must be verifiable and secure. Every vote cast must be counted by a system that is auditable with a verifiable paper trail and all voting materials, including ballots and voting machines must be secured at all times.

    3) Universal, automatic, and portable voter registration should be the goal of every state. Our election officials should endorse state and federal legislation legislation in support of this ultimate goal.

    4) Election officials should not place onerous requirements on or attempt to intimidate non-partisan voter registration groups.

    5) Voter suppression and election fraud defined as the intent to cast a ballot illegally will not be tolerated. Efforts to suppress the vote through onerous requirements, such as unconstitutional photo ID laws, must be opposed.

    6) There should be equal access to the ballot box for all citizens. Every citizen must have equal access to locations, adequate machines and well-trained election judges. Efforts to raise voter participation of citizens who often face special barriers, such as students, military personnel, low-income people and minorities — including Election Day Registration — should be endorsed and actively supported.

    To request an Endorsement Questionnaire, please email us at endorsements@secstateproject.org.

    I would also like to add that one of their previous wins, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, has chosen to run for US Senate this year. Given what a stellar Secretary of State she was (notice how 2008 in Ohio was VERY different than 2004...thank Jennifer Brunner for that!) I have been supporting her run for Senate. I urge you to do the same.


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