Secretary of State Project: Election 2010 Results
Tuesday night was bad. A tough night for great candidates around the country. (If you follow us on Facebook and Twitter, you may have already heard.) Progressive champions Debra Bowen and Mark Ritchie were re-elected to Secretary of State in California and Minnesota. However, free and fair elections suffered a major blow by Jocelyn Benson, Bernie Buescher, Michael Mauro, Ben Nesselhuf, and Maryellen O'Shaughnessy all losing in Michigan, Colorado, Iowa, South Dakota, and Ohio. We lost promising challengers, and worthy incumbents in very close races.
Thank you for all you did and continue to do. Why did this happen? One of the reasons is the flood of secret corporate cash in elections that threatens to drown our democracy. Because of the Citizens United FEC decision by the Supreme Court, big business gave unheard-of and undisclosed amounts to private political organizations.1 And these shadowy groups are planning to spend yet more money in 2012.2
The DISCLOSE Act (which wouldn't stop the money, but would at least make corporations disclose their spending on elections) has been stalled so far by Republicans in the Senate.3 The Fair Elections Now Act would allow public financing of campaigns -- so that federal candidates can run for office without spending all their time fundraising from lobbyists and big money bundlers. This bill has passed out of committee but is not scheduled for a full floor vote yet in the House.4
Please sign our petition to President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid, to tell them we can't afford to wait for real campaign finance reform. This petition will be delivered the week of November 15th when they return from recess. We'll let you know when the petition is delivered, and what the next steps are to get this legislation passed this year.
Also we continue to see problems with voters not being able to cast their vote. There are some bills before Congress (or proposed) that would modernize voter registration, and make it easier for Americans to vote in general. We will keep you updated on that.
Thank you for all that you do to help protect the vote!
Becky Bond and Michael Kieschnick
Co-Founders, Secretary of State Project
P.S. Help support our work. We will have more champions to defend in 2012, and they need your help to win in these tough times. Dollar for dollar, the SoS Project is one of the most effective political investments you can make. We run smart, targeted campaigns with proven results in key battleground states. By making a small contribution today, you can make sure unethical Secretaries of State never get to suppress our votes again.
1. "Dark money groups spend $110 million in 168 races", Anupama Narayanswamy, Sunlight Foundation, October 28, 2010.
2. "Outside GOP groups already planning for 2012 elections", Holly Bailey, Yahoo News, November 1, 2010.
3. "DISCLOSE Act dies again", Steve Benen, Washington Monthly, September 23, 2010.
4. "Historic Movement on Fair Elections", Sam Waterston, Huffington Post, September 23, 2010.
The Secretary of State Project has been one of the best grassroots organizations fighting to keep our elections fair and honest. Please support them.