Job Posting:

Secretary of State

Job Description

Starting Salary: $146,854

The state of California is seeking a new administrative secretary. Duties include record keeping (namely, all acts passed by the Legislature, business filings, and the original state Constitution) and event planning (namely, statewide elections). The ideal applicant will be well-organized and, as the third in line of succession for the position of governor, prepared to take on greater responsibilities if need be.

Qualifications

Key responsibilities:

  • Administer elections and maintain election-related data
  • Publish campaign finance records
  • Safeguard state archives and other important documents
  • Regulate notary publics
  • Register lobbyists
  • Spend a lot of time answering questions about California’s virtually non-existent voter fraud problem

Hiring Update

The contest between the incumbent Alex Padilla, a Democrat, and his challenger, Republican Mark Meuser, is shaping up to be a question about election law enforcement.

Padilla is among President Donald Trump’s critics, defending California’s elections in the face of allegations by the Republican president of voter fraud in the 2016 elections. He has spent his efforts assuring voters that California’s decentralized system of voting makes it incredibly difficult for a bad actor to hack or manipulate vote tallies.

In the campaign, Meuser has charged Padilla with failing to enforce basic election laws, specifically ensuring that counties update the voter rolls when a voter dies or moves away. Meuser has also argued that updating the voter rolls would allow Republicans to win statewide, falsely suggesting that California Democrats owe their electoral success to fraud.

Meet the Applicants

Party
Republican

Mark Meuser

Mark Meuser is an attorney who started his own law firm, The Meuser Law Group, a civil litigation firm that represented both individuals and small businesses.

Before he earned his law degree from Oak Brook College of Law, he owned his own pizza restaurant, which he bought when he was 21.

Critical of the secretary of state’s office, Meuser says he would draw on his experience in Silicon Valley to modernize the way businesses register in California and update the ballot initiative process. He also claims without evidence that the state’s “bloated voter rolls” have given California Democrats an electoral advantage and vows to “clean” them as secretary of state.

Recommended by: California Republican Party, California Impact Republicans, California Republican Assembly, California Congress of Republicans, and the Southern California Republican Women & Men’s Club

Party
Democrat

Alex Padilla

Alex Padilla is seeking a second term as Secretary of State, a post he has used to encourage voter registration and provide Californians more ways to vote.

He is a former member of the Los Angeles City Council, where he served as president, and a former state senator. He is an alternate member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Election Critical Infrastructure governance council, where he has called for more timely information to flow to states about potential cyber threats.

Padilla describes Trump’s advisory council on election integrity as a sham and led an effort by states to refuse the federal government’s request for voters’ private information. He is an outspoken advocate of cybersecurity and is lobbying the Legislature this year for money to help counties upgrade voter equipment.

He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he lives with his wife, Angela, and their three sons in the San Fernando Valley.

Recommended by: California League of Conservation Voters, Equality California, U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris

Data

Contributions to candidates for secretary of state

Going Deeper

Valid voter fraud complaints in California? Dozens, not millions

Voters cast their ballots at a polling place in Mountain View. Image by Danny Howard

With President Donald Trump alleging serious voter fraud in California, and the state’s top election official calling his claim untrue, how much voter fraud is actually under investigation in the Golden State? Not much.

Read More

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Protect the vote, with Jason Kander

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Trump out to 'sabotage' U.S. Census, Alex Padilla tells Democrats

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Alex Padilla: California will soon make voting easier. Here's how