Secretary of State Project
The Secretary of State Project is a program to raise funds to help elect progressive and Democrat Secretary of State candidates to office in targeted states across America. According to the founders of the Secretary of State Project, this project was started by concerned citizens and activists to develop a user friendly online vehicle to solicit donations for key Secretary of State races across the United States.
The 2010 elections will bring about the Secretaries of State elections in most states, but the SoSP has chosen to support Mark Ritchie in Minnesota, Debra Bowen in California, and Jocelyn Benson in Michigan.
The following work for the organization:
- Becky Bond works for a socially progressive mobile telephone company based in San Francisco. She serves on the board of the New Organizing Institute and ActBlue.com.
- Megan Hull was a Project Director for Democracy Reform at the Center for Civic Participation. In 2004, she was a co-Director of the coalition that investigated polling place problems and vote counting irregularities in Ohio and New Mexico. Her father is Chicago millionaire Blair Hull, founder of the Hull Family Foundation, which helps to fund the Secretary of State Project.
- Michael Kieschnick is a social entrepreneur based in San Francisco. He is also a board member of the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the Ballot Initiatives Strategy Center's foundation and Sojourners, among other progressive organizations. Michael is President of Working Solutions, a company that provides credit cards and mobile phone services to progressive organizations.
- Laura Packard, most recently worked as the New Media Director for the Bill Halter for U.S. Senate campaign, and has worked and consulted for many campaigns and organizations around the country. She also served as an election worker in the city of Ann Arbor for several years. She has spoken at the 2009 and 2010 Netroots Nation conventions.
Candidate Selection Process
The Secretary of State Project (SOS Project) evaluates candidates based on their positions on election issues - primarily support for a voter-verifed paper trail and transparency of the voting process, strict enforcement of laws preventing voter intimidation, opposition to any and all barriers to voting by and registration of citizens, and a committment to increasing voter turnout rather than suppressing the votes of traditionally disenfranchised groups. While a progressive enterprise at its heart, the Secretary of State Project does not screen candidates for issue positions unrelated to the duties of the office of Secretary of State, including but not limited to the war in Iraq, gay marriage, pro-choice sentiments, or U.S. trade policy.
Criteria for Endorsement
The Secretary of State Project evaluates candidates based on their positions on election issues and requires that they support the following principles:
- 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.
- 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.
- Universal, automatic, and portable voter registration should be the goal of every state. Our election officials should endorse state and federal legislation in support of this ultimate goal.
- Election officials should not place onerous requirements on or attempt to intimidate non-partisan voter registration groups.
- 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.
- 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.
Requirement 5 states, "Efforts to suppress the vote through onerous requirements, such as unconstitutional photo ID laws, must be opposed." However in a 6-to-3 ruling in 2008 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Indiana's Photo ID requirements were constitutional. The New York Times stated,
- "Because Indiana’s law is considered the strictest in the country, similar laws in the other 20 or so states that have photo-identification rules would appear to have a good chance of surviving scrutiny."
In 2006, the Secretary of State Project raised over $500,000 to help elect five Secretaries of State in key presidential battleground states.
|State||Project-endorsed candidate||2006 vote total||Opponent||2006 vote total|
|Ohio||Jennifer Brunner||1,994,276 (54.78%)||Greg Hartmann||1,482,064 (40.71%)|
|Minnesota||Mark Ritchie||1,049,434 (49.09%)||Mary Kiffmeyer||944,004 (44.16%)|
|New Mexico||Mary Herrera||291,563 (54.0%)||Vickie Perea||248,020 (46.0%)|
|Nevada||Ross Miller||279,499 (48.73%)||Danny Tarkanian||232,691 (40.57%)|
|Iowa||Michael Mauro||538,108 (53.6%)||Mary Ann Hanusa||465,871 (46.4%)|
|Michigan||Carmella Sabaugh||1,560,934 (41.94%)||Terri Lynn Land||2,090,651 (56.17%)|
OHIO: SoS Project candidate Jennifer Brunner won
Jennifer Brunner 1,994,276 (54.78%)
Greg Hartmann 1,482,064 (40.71%)
In Ohio the the Secretary of State Project contributed over $167,000 directly to the Brunner campaign, we also spent over $30,000 in a highly targeted, independent expenditure campaign that focused on reaching Ohio college students and unmarried women voters.
Jennifer Brunner writes: "My sincere thanks to everyone for supporting my campaign for Ohio secretary of state. None of this would have been possible without the support of grassroots donors who came together through the Secretary of State Project. Working together we will bring free, fair, open and honest elections to Ohio in 2008. My election is also historic for the fact that I am the first woman to be elected secretary of state in Ohio. I will utilize my sense of fairness I learned as a judge and my years of election law experience to create an elections system that will become a model. When the eyes of the Nation look to Ohio in 2008, you will have confidence in our system. Thank you again for your support and your trust in me to carry out this most important mission.
MINNESOTA: SoS Project candidate Mark Ritchie won
Mark Ritchie 1,049,434 ( 49.09%)
Mary Kiffmeyer 944,004 (44.16%)
Also thanks to SoS Project donors, Minnesota's Mark Ritchie- a true champion for democracy - was able to defeat a two-term incumbent Republican by less than five points. The Secretary of State Project spent targeted funds to support Mark Ritchie with cable television ads targeting women and seniors.
Mark Ritchie writes: "I want to thank the Secretary of State Project and its thousands of grassroots donors for helping to push my campaign over the top. Your wonderful support - both directly to my campaign and through generous expenditures by the strategic fund - helped me get our election reform message to Minnesota voters. And the voters overwhelming cast their ballot to protect our democracy on election day."
NEW MEXICO: SoS Project candidate Mary Herrera won
Mary Herrera 291563 (54.0%)
Vickie Perea 248020 (46.0%)
In New Mexico, Secretary of State Project contributors provided Democrat Mary Herrera with more than 10% of her budget, and our strategic fund put statewide radio ads on the air.
Mary Herrera writes: "Your support made a big difference to my campaign. New Mexico has a history of close elections - the presidential vote was decided by just 6,000 votes here in 2006. Thanks to the help of the Secretary of State Project and its donors, we can make sure every voter is able to cast a ballot that counts on Election Day."
NEVADA: SoS Project candidate Ross Miller won
Ross Miller 279,499 (48.73%)
Danny Tarkanian 232,691 (40.57%)
Ross Miller writes: "I want to extend my gratitude to all the donors who gave generously to my campaign via the Secretary of State Project web site. It was a hard fought campaign, but thanks to contributions from concerned citizens like you, the Secretary of State office under my direction will ensure fair and transparent elections in Nevada for years to come."
IOWA: SoS Project candidate Michael Mauro won
Michael Mauro 538108 ( 53.6%)
Mary Ann Hanusa 465,871 (46.4%)
Michael Mauro writes: "Thank you for protecting our election process. Without your support and dedication to ensuring every vote counts in this country, true democratic efforts such as the Secretary of State Project would not be possible. My campaign would not have been successful without your help and dedication. Thank you."
MICHIGAN: SoS Project candidate Carmella Sabaugh lost
Terri Lynn Land 2,090,651 (56.17%)
Carmella Sabaugh 1,560,934 (41.94%)
Carmella Sabaugh writes: "My heartfelt thanks to the donors of the Secretary of State Project who supported my campaign to bring election reform to Michigan. Even though we did not win, with your help we were able to take our message of free and fair elections for all Michigan citizens to every corner of the state."
The SoSP website provides a place to donate to the project through ActBlue.
The SoSP received at least $219,483 in donations from individual contributors or Political Action Committees in 2006 for the 2006 election cycle.
|$10,000||Gerard Leeds||Institute for Student Achievement||Boston, MA||10/31/06|
|$10,000||Daniel Berger||Berger & Montague||Philadelphia, PA||11/03/06|
|$10,000||Lilo Leeds||Institute for Student Achievement||Boston, MA||10/31/06|
|$5,000||Susie T Buell||Retired||San Francisco, CA||10/26/06|
|$20,000||Gail Furman||Consultant||New York, NY||11/09/06|
|$32,000||Michael Kieschnick||Working Assets Long Distance||Palo Alto, CA||08/06/06|
|$500||Rebecca Bond||Working Assets Long Distance||San Francisco, CA||07/31/06|
|$25,350||Arthur Lipson||Western Investment||Salt Lake City, UT||10/11/06|
|$5,000||Arts PAC||Arts PAC||New York, NY||10/25/06|
|$20,000||SoSP-Ohio||SoSP-Ohio||San Francisco, CA||11/01/06|
The Secretary of State Project received at least $288,016 in private donations in 2007-08 for the 2008 election cycle.
|$4,620||SOS Project - Ohio||SOS Project-Ohio||San Francisco, CA||01/29/07|
|$3,000||John Cawley||Pacific Gourmet||San Francisco, CA||07/13/08|
|$333||Lawrence Litvak||Lawrencelitvak||Mill Valley, CA||09/21/08|
|$10,000||George Soros||Soros Fund Management||Katonah, NY||09/30/08|
|$500||Catherine Coates||Retired||Oakland, CA||09/30/08|
|$25,000||Blair Hull||Matlock Capital||Chicago, IL||09/30/08|
|$15,000||Paul Rudd||Adaptive Analytics LLC||San Francisco, CA||09/30/08|
|$10,000||Scott Wallace||Linowes & Blocher||Bethesda, MD||09/30/08|
|$4,000||Steven des Jardins||Retired||Washington, D.C.||09/30/08|
|$25,000||Judith Avery||Retired||San Francisco, CA||09/30/08|
|$1,000||Robert Stein||Retired||Washington, D.C.||09/30/08|
|$300||Ashindi Maxton||Democracy Alliance||Washington, D.C.||09/30/08|
|$5,000||Albert Dwoskin||AJ Dwoskin & Assoc||Fairfax, VA||09/30/08|
|$10,000||Lee Fikes||Bonanza Oil||Dallas, TX||09/30/08|
|$10,000||Scott Wallace||Linowes & Blocher||Bethesda, MD||09/30/08|
|$500||Conference Management Group||Conference Management Group||Washington, D.C.||09/30/08|
|$25,000||Robert Bowditch||MB Management||Brookline, MA||09/30/08|
|$222||Michael Brightwood||Therapist||San Diego, CA||09/30/08|
|$25,000||Chirs Findlatter||Entrepreneur||Cheyenne, WY||09/30/08|
|$400||Jane Jervis||Retired||San Rafael, CA||09/30/08|
|$400||Nancy Kurtz||Homemaker||South Dartmouth, MA||09/30/08|
|$5,625||"Aggregate below threshold"||"Aggregate below threshold"||San Francisco, CA||09/30/08|
|$200||John Gilbert||Habsel||Brookline, MA||10/07/08|
|$800||Celia Gilbert||Unemployed||Cambridge, MA||10/09/08|
|$200||James Daley||Retired||Richmond, CA||10/11/08|
|$200||Irene Weigel||Partners Healthcare||Lincoln, MA||10/11/08|
|$300||Yoko Ax||Musician||New York, NY||10/11/08|
|$200||Stefan Frembgen||Ingmar Medical||Pittsburgh, PA||10/11/08|
|$200||Robert Southwood||Fulcrum Microsystems Inc||Chatsworth, CA||10/11/08|
|$250||George Miller||Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett||New York, NY||10/20/08|
|$200||Katherine Brady||Immigrant Legal Resource Center||Berkeley, CA||10/23/08|
|$200||James Mullins||University of Washington Medicine||Seattle, WA||10/23/08|
|$10,000||Michael Kieschnick||Working Assets Long Distance||Palo Alto, CA||10/24/08|
|$200||Barbara Grasseschi||Puma Springs Vineyards||Healdsburg, CA||10/28/08|
|$200||James Murphy||Group Health Inc||Seattle, WA||10/29/08|
|$5,000||Drummond Pike||Tides LLC||Mill Valley, CA||10/30/08|
|$10,000||EMILY's List||EMILY's List||Washington, D.C.||10/30/08|
|$2,500||Christine Uribe||Consultant||San Francisco, CA||10/30/08|
|$25,000||Alida Messinger||Philanthropist||Minneapolis, MN||10/30/08|
|$25,000||Rob McKay||Sacramento Street Partners||San Francisco, CA||10/30/08|
|$250||Maria McVarish||Architect||San Francisco, CA||10/30/08|
|$2,500||Steve Phillips||Attorney||San Francisco, CA||10/30/08|
|$5,000||Megan Hull||Consultant||Washington, D.C.||10/30/08|
|$10,372||"Aggregate below threshold"||"Aggregate below threshold"||San Francisco, CA||11/24/08|
|$2||"Aggregate below threshold"||"Aggregate below threshold"||San Francisco, CA||12/31/07|
|$40||"Aggregate below threshold"||"Aggregate below threshold"||San Francisco, CA||12/31/08|
- 2010 SoSP candidates
- "Secretary of State Project Website About Page"
- "Secretary of State Project Gives Dems a Bigger Say in Key Battleground States
- Speakers list
- Netroots Nation website: Speakers at 2010 Conference (accessed on July 26, 2010)
- Act Blue: Secretary of State Project
- Secretary of State Project website: About (accessed on Nov. 10, 2010)
- NY Times: Supreme Court Upholds Voter Identification Law in Indiana, April 29, 2008 (accessed on Nov. 10, 2010)
- "Official Website of the Secretary of State Project"
- Center for Responsive Politics, OpenSecrets, SOSP donations 2006
- OpenSecrets.org, Center for Responsive Politics, Secretary of State Project