Indiana secretary of state to lead national association

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, left, took over as president of the National Association of Secretaries of State during a ceremony Monday at the Indiana Statehouse. She succeeds Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, right.

Dan Carden, The Times

INDIANAPOLIS — The future of voting rights and election administration across the United States could be determined, in large part, by two Hoosier Republicans.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson was sworn in Monday as president of the National Association of Secretaries of State for a one-year term.

In that role, Lawson will speak about ballot security and other voting issues on behalf of an organization composed of the chief election officers for most states.

"These folks need to be represented fairly and bipartisanly, and I'm going to do my best to do that," Lawson said.

Her voice may resonate unusually loud this year, since Lawson also is a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, led by former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — now vice president of the United States.

That commission, set to hold its first meeting July 19, has been charged by President Donald Trump with assessing which laws promote or detract from public confidence in election outcomes and evaluating the vulnerability of election systems to fraud.

Lawson said she and her fellow secretaries of state agree "we need to take a look at our laws, our processes and the other things that we can do, not only to prevent voter suppression but to increase voter turnout as well."

Though Lawson was quick to add, "The states have the constitutional responsibility for running our elections, and we want to keep it that way."

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.