Secretary of State Project

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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.

2010 election

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.[1]


The following work for the organization:[2]

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.[6]

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:[7]

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Election officials should not place onerous requirements on or attempt to intimidate non-partisan voter registration groups.
  5. 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.
  6. 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,[8]

"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."

Election Results


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."[9]


The SoSP website provides a place to donate to the project through ActBlue.

2006 cycle

The SoSP received at least $219,483 in donations from individual contributors or Political Action Committees in 2006 for the 2006 election cycle.[10]

Amount Donor Organization City, State Date
$10,000 Gerard Leeds Institute for Student Achievement Boston, MA 10/31/06
$7,722 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 10/22/06
$20,664 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 11/01/06
$14,440 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 11/05/06
$10,000 Daniel Berger Berger & Montague Philadelphia, PA 11/03/06
$10,000 Lilo Leeds Institute for Student Achievement Boston, MA 10/31/06
$8,031 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 10/25/06
$5,000 Susie T Buell Retired San Francisco, CA 10/26/06
$20,000 Gail Furman Consultant New York, NY 11/09/06
$1,304 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 09/10/06
$1,010 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 09/24/06
$32,000 Michael Kieschnick Working Assets Long Distance Palo Alto, CA 08/06/06
$10 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 08/27/06
$302 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 09/04/06
$500 Rebecca Bond Working Assets Long Distance San Francisco, CA 07/31/06
$5,235 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 10/08/06
$25,350 Arthur Lipson Western Investment Salt Lake City, UT 10/11/06
$2,974 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 10/15/06
$5,523 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 10/01/06
$3,448 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 09/17/06
$5,000 Arts PAC Arts PAC New York, NY 10/25/06
$20,000 SoSP-Ohio SoSP-Ohio San Francisco, CA 11/01/06
$10,306 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 10/29/06
$164 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 11/07/06

2008 cycle

The Secretary of State Project received at least $288,016 in private donations in 2007-08 for the 2008 election cycle.[11]

Amount Donor Organization City, State Date
$10 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 01/07/07
$2 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 01/15/07
$4,620 SOS Project - Ohio SOS Project-Ohio San Francisco, CA 01/29/07
$31 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 02/04/07
$7 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 02/19/07
$6 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 03/04/07
$5 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 03/11/07
$58 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 04/01/07
$24 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 04/29/07
$1 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 05/06/07
$483 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 05/20/07
$24 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 05/28/07
$1 ActBlue ActBlue Cambridge, MA 06/03/07
$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

External Links