SoS Class of 2018 at Full Capacity: Raffensperger, Ardoin Win GA, LA Runoffs

[Image via cutthroatcrossfit]

The Class of 2018 for secretaries of state officially got its last two members last week with the victories of Georgia’s Brad Raffensperger and Louisiana incumbent’s Kyle Ardoin in their respective state runoffs. The Associated Press has the story from Georgia:

Republican state Rep. Brad Raffensperger was elected Georgia’s secretary of state on Tuesday amid a debate over access to the polls and election security.

Raffensperger, 63, defeated Democratic former Rep. John Barrow in a runoff for the office, which had been held by Republican Gov.-elect Brian Kemp. The runoff was made necessary after neither candidate polled more than 50 percent on Nov. 6, with Raffensperger leading by about 16,000 votes out of more than 3.8 million cast…

Raffensperger said he would make preventing voter fraud his priority, pledging to continue Kemp’s practice of strictly enforcing voter ID laws and pruning registration rolls of inactive voters. Any changes to state elections laws must be approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature for Kemp’s signature.

NOLA.com has the news from Saturday’s Bayou State contest:

Interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican, will keep his job for at least another year. The Republican beat Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup in a special election for secretary of state held Saturday (Dec. 8). Ardoin received 59 percent support statewide, with more than 516,000 votes cast.

“The secretary of state’s office is turning the page and entering a new chapter, a chapter I believe will be the most meaningful and impactful in history,” Ardoin said in his victory speech. “Our administration will not be defined by change. Rather, we will continue to expand upon the excellent work of the women and men of our office.”

Ardoin’s honeymoon after this victory may be short. If he wants to keep his job past 2019, he will have to run again next fall for a full term.

Saturday’s contest was a special election held outside of the normal cycle. It was necessary because Republican Tom Schedler, who had been secretary of state for 10 years, stepped down in May after one of his employees sued him for sexual harassment. The regular election for secretary of state will take place in 2019.

Ardoin has occupied the post since Schedler left it. Before that, Ardoin served as first assistant secretary of state, the number two position in the agency. He previously worked for the Louisiana House of Representatives and ran his own lobbying firm. His prior experience as an elected official was on the West Baton Rouge School Board.

Both winners have considerable challenges to face from day one: Georgia is not only preparing to replace its voting technology statewide but is also facing criticism and litigation over the fairness of the state’s election system in the wake of the Peach State’s 2018’s bitter race for Governor, which will have all eyes on Georgia for 2020. Louisiana is in the middle of a disputed procurement for its own voting equipment upgrades – and has a statewide election in 2019 (whether or not the SoS chooses to run again) even before 2020 rolls around. That means the victory parties will have to end quickly so the work can begin. Stay tuned …

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