By Zachary Roth
The fierce partisan battle over voting rights has both sides planning to pour massive amounts of money and resources into a handful of key 2014 campaigns for secretary of state.
The new-found attention for these once-obscure races is driven by an awareness on both sides that a state’s top election official can play a critical role in expanding or restricting the right to vote—meaning control of secretary of state offices in swing states could be crucial in the 2016 presidential contest.
On Thursday, a group of high-level Democratic strategists launched iVote, a political action committee that will back Democratic secretary of state candidates in four pivotal 2016 states: Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, and Nevada. All four Democratic candidates are strong advocates of expanding access to the ballot, and all are likely to face Republicans who are looking to make it harder to vote. The initiative is part of a broader move by Democrats and voting-rights advocates to push back against the wave of restrictive voting laws advanced by Republicans in recent years.
Secretaries of state are charged with administering most aspects of their state’s elections, giving them responsibility for everything from maintaining voter rolls to sending out absentee ballots to counting votes.
SENATORS HARRY REID AND MITCH McCONNELL
Over the last week, I’ve listened to my Republican colleagues come to the Senate floor to lament how little the Senate has accomplished during the 112th Congress.
I share that concern.
In fact, it’s a wonder we’ve gotten anything done at all, considering the lack of cooperation Democrats have gotten from our Republican colleagues.
I’ve said it before, but this bears repeating. In my time as Majority Leader, I have faced 382 Republican filibusters.
That’s 381 more filibusters than Lyndon Johnson faced during his six years as Majority Leader.
Time and again, my Republican colleagues have stalled or blocked perfectly good pieces of legislation to score points with the Tea Party – and they’ve hurt middle-class Americans in the process.
Even the most noncontroversial, consensus matters – items that would have passed by unanimous consent in the past – Republicans have obstructed or delayed.