Columnist Calls for Elimination of the Secretary of the State | CTVotersCount.org

Columnist Calls for Elimination of the Secretary of the State

But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

CTPost: ‘A Modest Proposal’ for the Secretary of the State’s Office, by MariAn Gail Brown <read>

And, if we’re really serious about finding savings in this tough economic climate, why not get rid of her entire office with its $8.4 million budget?

Three states — Hawaii, Alaska and Utah — get along just fine without any secretary of state. And Arizona is poised to eliminate its secretary of state, and have its responsibilities assumed by a newly created lieutenant governor…

Sure, it’s one of four constitutional offices, but just because it’s been that way for more than two-and-half centuries doesn’t mean it has to be this way. We can and we should get rid of it. Of course, in the Land of Steady Habits, the secretary of the state’s job is an elective office authorized under our state Constitution.

That means it will take a constitutional convention to change. And the last time the Nutmeg State did some constitutional soul searching was 1965. Forty-five years is a long time to go without this kind of checkup. Let’s demand that our General Assembly vote to convene a Constitutional Convention for the express purpose of nixing the secretary of the state position.

Where might government transfer the functions this elective office is responsible for — items like election law, campaign oversight, voter registration, corporate filings and licensing? Connecticut already has a State Elections Enforcement Commission and an attorney general’s office. Most, if not all, of the secretary of the state’s workload can be delegated between those two agencies.

Coming two weeks after April 1st, we assume the author is serious.  We point out that transferring the functions of the Secretary of the State to the Attorney General or the State Elections Enforcement Commission would hardly eliminate much of the Secretary’s $8.4 million budget, especially if we still want to register businesses in the state, keep records, comply with election laws, train election officials, total results, assist election officials, and maintain an independent enforcement function.

We also note that Hawaii has not been doing so well in elections without a Secretary of the State and is a case study in how not to outsource elections <read report, page 19>.

In a similar vein we could suggest eliminating columnists from newspapers along with the budget for editing, printing, and delivering their columns.  After all the advertising department can type and the billing department prints and delivers invoices already.

Update:  An advocate with experience in Utah points out:

Just because in Utah the Secretary of State’s office instead has the title “Lt. Governor” does not mean Utah does without all the functions of a Secretary of State. The Utah Lt. Governor is a member of the National Association of Secretaries of State. I would imagine that the other two states mentioned by the author likewise have officials who are members of NASS because they perform the equivalent functions despite not having the label of SoS. It is true that not all Secretaries of State handle elections. In Utah, the Lt. Governor hires a state Election Director but gets the final say re. elections but in some states there is a separate office having legal responsibility for elections.

just because in Utah the Secretary of
State's office instead has the title "Lt. Governor" does not mean Utah
does without all the functions of a Secretary of State.  The Utah Lt.
Governor is a member of the National Association of Secretaries of
State. I would imagine that the other two states mentioned by the
author likewise have officials who are members of NASS because they
perform the equivalent functions despite not having the label of SoS.
It is true that not all Secretaries of State handle elections.  In
Utah, the Lt. Governor hires a state Election Director but gets the
final say re. elections but in some states there is a separate office
having legal responsibility for elections.
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