Dem Group Aiming To Flip 5 Secretaries Of State Offices In 2020

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 25:  California Secretary of State Alex Padilla speaks during a press conference to discuss voting rights and voter registration hosted by Pepe Aguilar and Voto Latino at Gibson Brand Showroom on July 25, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 25: California Secretary of State Alex Padilla speaks during a press conference to discuss voting rights and voter registration hosted by Pepe Aguilar and Voto Latino at Gibson Brand Showroo... BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 25: California Secretary of State Alex Padilla speaks during a press conference to discuss voting rights and voter registration hosted by Pepe Aguilar and Voto Latino at Gibson Brand Showroom on July 25, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images) MORE LESS

The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State has set its sights on five secretaries of state offices it wants to flip in 2020 in an effort that explicitly cites GOP attacks on voting rights.

The organization unveiled the campaign on Thursday with a promotional video.

“Republican secretaries of state are helping Trump wage a Jim Crow-style assault on our voting rights targeting, students, seniors and people of color with what a federal court called surgical precision,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, chair of Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, said in the video.

According to the Washington Post, the group is specifically targeting races in Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia, where Republicans currently hold the secretary of state’s office, which typically overseas elections. The group will also work to keep Democrats in the secretary of state’s offices in North Carolina and Vermont, the Post said, and will lend its support to Democratic secretary of state candidates running in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi, which hold their elections for the office this year.

(In North Carolina, the state board of elections oversees elections.)

“For all of the talk about taking back the White House and the Senate, all the important races that people tend to focus more on, in my mind it starts with making elections fair again,” Padilla told the Post.

While many of the duties of a state’s chief elections officer have to do with the nonpartisan bureaucracy of making elections run smoothly, the role has become increasingly political, particularly with the voting rights controversies that have arisen in races where GOP secretaries of state were overseeing their own elections.

The current GOP to Democratic breakdown is 25 to 22 (with the office not existing in a few states). Going into the 2018 elections, Republicans controlled about two-thirds of secretaries of state office.

Attempts to restrict access to the ballot have made some GOP secretaries of state national figures, like former Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is now governor and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is running for U.S. Senate.

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