Secretary of State Questionnaire

  1. What are the current responsibilities of this office?

    Doug La Follette:
         The SoS office currently oversees a handful of duties regarding the maintenance of state records, stewardship of the state seal, and the issuance of apostilles. The Secretary also serves as one of the three members of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, where they help manage the normal school fund.

    Alexia Sabor:
         Currently, this office has three important responsibilities. One is serving on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, which oversees 77,000 acres of natural areas in Wisconsin and manages $1.1B in trust funds. Protecting and managing those lands is critical because they provide funds for Wisconsin’s school libraries and because climate change is a real threat to every species, including us.
         The second important function is issuing apostilles, which are frequently required to conduct business overseas or complete overseas adoptions.
         Lastly, the office is responsible for filing and keeping records of official actions of the governor and legislature.

  2. What is the importance of the office – why is it valuable to keep it an elected office rather than an appointment by the Governor?

    Doug La Follette:
         The position of the Secretary was created with the ideal of being an independent keeper of records that could answer specifically to the voters. While these duties have decayed since the beginning, the Secretary’s position as an independent administrator gives the office a strong, independent advocate and spokesperson.

    Alexia Sabor:
         This statewide office performs vital functions for businesses and individuals and should be answerable to the people. The governor still has the power to appoint someone to fill a vacancy in this seat, but voters get to choose at election time. To have this position appointed rather than elected would also concentrate power in our constitutional offices, which we should avoid given current right-wing trends toward authoritarianism. As a statewide office it’s also immune to partisan gerrymandering, which means people still have the power to hold the Secretary of State accountable.

  3. What responsibilities that were stripped from the office would you try to restore, and how? Are there other responsibilities that could be incorporated into this job?

    Doug La Follette:
         The most important duties to restore would be oversight over the corporations, notaries, and trademarks. These duties were removed without much thought and have created multiple areas of inefficiency and overlap between the SoS office and the Department of Financial institutions. This would need to be done through an act of the legislature, which makes for an incredibly difficult task with our current Republican majority.
         If we were to create a wishlist, I would like to eventually see the reintegration and expansion of record-keeping authority to the office, as that was the initial thought behind its creation.

    Alexia Sabor:
         I plan to review the responsibilities that have been removed from the office over the last 40 years and examine to whom those responsibilities have been moved and how much more that costs taxpayers in additional salaries or reduced capacities for other services. I think it’s a fine idea to grow the office and restore some of its past responsibilities but that’s going to happen in conversation with voters, who should have a voice in reshaping the office, and not because right-wing extremists want to manipulate the office to their advantage.
         I’m running for fairness and transparency for all the people of Wisconsin, so I oppose partisan oversight of our elections and would not want the Secretary of State to be the only person to certify election results, as the Republicans are seeking. It would be a dangerous concentration of power to have elections certified by a single person. Instead, we should bring back the Government Accountability Board, which was a national model for nonpartisan election oversight.

  4. Why are you the best choice to fill this role?

    Doug La Follette:
         I am the best choice because I will win against any Republican this November. The office is being seriously threatened by Republicans who would see the reintroduction of elections powers into the office, thereby creating a system that would shift this state into full Republican control. I have a proven track record of winning this office even in years where the Republicans win the governorship and every other constitutional office.

    Alexia Sabor:
         I will bring a fresh perspective and new energy to this office. I’ll elevate the importance of the Secretary of State by using it as a loudspeaker for democracy to educate voters and push back on attempts to undermine our elections.
         I have a Masters degree in Conservation Biology & Sustainable Development and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology & Management. I’m also currently Chair of the Democratic Party of Dane County, and as such I have successfully worked to increase voter turnout, help voters understand how governments and political parties work, and protect our elections. For more info visit

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