Three states in the US have Black women Democrats at the helm of their election processes, serving as Secretaries of States. All of them have publicly committed to protecting voters at the polls.
Shirley Weber made history last year, becoming the first African American to hold the office of Secretary of State in California. Weber is the daughter of sharecroppers and her grandparents were barred from voting in Arkansas during Jim Crow.
"To look at that, and see how difficult life was ... and know that my parents were so committed to voting, that to have their daughter really responsible for over 20 million voters in California is quite a hallelujah moment," Weber told NBC BLK.
In Pennsylvania, Leigh Chapman and Tahesha Way of New Jersey are also Secretaries of State who oversee voting rights in their respective states. In their roles, all three of the women are responsible for supporting the infrastructure for voters to cast ballots.
"Throughout our history, Black women have really faced so many challenges," Chapman told the outlet. "We're one of the biggest voting blocks in the country. The way Black women vote really determines the outcome of many elections at the state and at the federal level, and we are not represented equally in political office," she continued, adding that it's "an honor to serve with my fellow African American Secretaries of State."
Virginia Secretary of State Kay Cole James, a Republican, was appointed my Gov. Glenn Youngkin. According to the outlet, James previously spoke out against two key pieces of federal voter protections bills but also said she has "zero interest in disenfranchising or suppressing the vote of any portion of the population."
Given the crucial midterm election season upon us, and previous attempts to thwart elections at the state and national level, the secretaries of state are standing directly in between voting rights and continuing the democratic practices of this nation.