Part of the new Republican-led push to revamp the state’s election laws includes a proposal to make the Secretary of State role an elected position.
The move unquestionably is a response to last November’s shifting guidance in the weeks, days and hours leading up to the general election is worth consideration.
Remember though, had President Donald Trump won last November, it is unlikely this pursuit would exist. It’s born of the big lie.
Across the nation, there are 47 secretaries of State, including in Pennsylvania. Of that total, 35 are elected. The other 12 are either appointed by the governor — as is the case in Pennsylvania with Senate approval — or by the state legislature.
In some regard, it makes sense to have it an appointed and Senate-confirmed position, particularly when it comes to moving on from someone who is failing to do the job.
When former secretary Kathy Boockvar botched the state’s public advertisement of the constitutional amendment to open a window for sex abuse survivors, she resigned within hours of the announcement.
She likely resigned following pressure from the governor. Removing an appointee seems like a much easier proposition than an elected official.
Additionally, the role inherently should be non-partisan. According to the Department’s history — which predates the founding of America — the “Department protects the public’s health and safety by licensing more than one million business and health professionals; promotes the integrity of the electoral process; supports economic development through corporate registrations and transactions; maintains registration and financial information for thousands of charities, and sanctions professional boxing, kick-boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts.”
Nothing about that screams politics, or at least it shouldn’t. Putting the position on the ballot makes it a political position, like it or not. The same thing happens when it comes to electing judges; forcing judges to run for office makes them politicians.
There may be some validity to the argument, which makes it a discussion worth having. In the end, it feels like keeping it an appointee with legislative approval remains, particularly in the current climate, the most sensible for the residents of Pennsylvania.
The less politics, the better.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.