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Opinion: Our Democracy Needs Saving

Secretary of State position on midterms ballot vital to the country’s future
Photo by Matteo Winandy
Political signs line the entrance of University Park United Methodist Church. The church serves as one of the polling sites for this year’s midterm election.

The infamous Capital Riot that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021 is a great example of a tragic trend in American politics.

 A trend where democracy is being valued less and the party matters more than the country. Those who expressed strictly liberal or conservative viewpoints have doubled over the past two decades as well as the share of voters with negative viewpoints of their opposing party. This trend is seeping into every aspect of American politics, including the most important position in any midterm election, the Secretary of State. Currently, multiple candidates who have denied the results of the highly-contested 2020 election or are backed by election-denying groups, are on the ballot for this position in November.  

In America, the position of secretary of state applies to two positions, either in the White House or in State Capitols. At the national level, the Secretary of State is defined as being the President’s Chief Foreign Affairs Adviser. However, at the state level, the Secretary of State covers many different duties including publishing state government rules and regulations, and in 47 states, are in charge of certifying election results. 

In states, election results are initially certified by local election administrators before being sent to the Secretary of State for final certification. The Secretary of State, who also verifies all voting systems used in the process, attempts to locate any discrepancies in the tallies before preparing official certificates with the signature of the governor that get sent to the Archivist of the U.S. However, if those who don’t agree with certain election results are placed in positions of power, valid voter tallies can be contested and overturned in dubious faith. 

In this position, it is beyond important that someone puts their party aside and enact the will of the American people. Michigan Republican candidate Kristina Karamo and Arizona Republican candidate Mark Finchem are running for the position. Both of them have historically backed up Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen or are endorsed by election-denying political factions, one of these being the America First Secretary of State Coalition. This coalition is an American conservative organization formed to support certain candidates in the secretary of state elections. 

In the primaries, such factions backed 14 of these kinds of candidates, including Doug Mastriano, a Republican candidate running for governor in Pennsylvania who was photographed at the capitol during the Jan. 6 riots. Among the election-denying candidates running for Secretary of State is Finchem, who tweeted on Jan. 6, “[This is] what happens when the [People] feel they have been ignored”. 

In Michigan, Karamo, who lacks any previous political experience, has pushed the alt-right theory that Donald Trump won Michigan in 2020. If elected, she has said she would continue investigating election fraud claims. 

If these two are able to win their seats then it’s not crazy to assume that rightfully won elections could be overturned. Arizona and Michigan have become must-win states in presidential elections, a development that will be extremely important in 2024. As swing states, the results of Arizona and Michigan’s Secretary of State races have large weight in the outcome of elections and the party distribution in our government. In those states, it would be a disaster to have candidates who value party loyalty and stopping “voter fraud” in place of doing their job and certifying the will of the American people. With people like Karamo and Finchem in power, the people of America could be at risk for living in a nation built on voter fraud and corrupt politicians. 

This could be the first step toward ending American democracy. America is shifting and it’s shifting fast. We aren’t simply red and blue states, we are one nation, but continued division has blurred the line between the two. The nation has become so divided that it can’t see straight and would rather have rightful elections overturned than have the other party win. Everyone, not just the citizens of Michigan, Arizona and other important states, has a responsibility to go and vote, to have their voices heard and to potentially save the fundamentals of democracy in this country.  

About the Contributor
Camden Coale
Camden Coale, Reporter
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