A new conservative super PAC hopes to proliferate more voter suppression laws by pouring money into secretary of state races. The group, SOS for SoS, is looking to spend $10 million in nine states in support of candidates who will champion “smart voting,” such as restrictive voter ID laws, voter purges, and proof of citizenship requirements. Secretaries of state set elections procedures and can determine mundane but crucial aspects like voting hours, provisional ballot rules, and recounts.
The announcement, per Politico, comes days after a judge overturned Pennsylvania’s hotly contested voter ID law because it could disenfranchise 750,000 voters. A Democratic counterpart, SoS for Democracy, launched in December to promote secretary of state candidates who are against voter suppression measures. Currently, 29 secretaries of state are Republican, while 21 are Democrat.
State secretaries have been instrumental in the voting rights war. Some, like Secretaries of State Kris Kobach (R-KS), Jon Husted (R-OH), Ken Detzner (R-FL), and Scott Gessler (R-CO), gained notoriety in the 2012 election for their persistent efforts to restrict early voting hours, purge voter rolls, throw out legitimate votes, and limit registration.
As demographics turn against Republicans’ favor, voter suppression efforts are expected to ramp up even more. A recent study found that states with higher minority turnout are more likely to try to pass voter suppression laws.