The Georgia race highlights the national transformation of the office of secretary of state since the disputed 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Once a low-visibility, uncontroversial job, focused on administering voting laws in a nonpartisan way, secretaries of state in many places have become politicized.
This year, two of the most activist-minded Republican secretaries of state are running for governor: Mr. Kemp of Georgia and Kris Kobach of Kansas, who was the face of President Trump’s commission that unsuccessfully sought proof of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election.
Both are in statistically tied races, according to polls. Should the vote on Nov. 6 be so close in either state that a recount is necessary (or, in Georgia, a runoff if no one wins a majority), the candidates would face a conflict of interest in the determination of the victor.
The issue is not academic. Mr. Kobach awoke the morning after his Republican primary in August leading an opponent, the incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer, by just 121 votes.