IN Focus: Secretary of state candidates make their case to voters

INDIANAPOLIS - Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R) and her opponent Jim Harper (D) appeared on this week's edition of IN Focus to discuss the race for Secretary of State and some of the key issues making news on the campaign trail, including election security.

"We could upgrade our voting machines, we just haven't the leadership out of the secretary of state's office," said Harper. "Frankly (she) should have been working since election day in 2016 to upgrade our resources and get it done."

"I'm not going to respond to his criticism," said Lawson, who declined to participate in a debate this past week. "This is America, anybody can be a candidate, and I welcome the campaign."

Lawson said she has worked tirelessly to ensure election security and to increase voter turnout in Indiana, using money budgeted by the Indiana General Assembly for voter outreach.

And while Democrats have recently questioned whether some of that public messaging crossed the line into campaign-style material, Lawson says that's not the case and feels the approach has been effective increasing turnout.

"We have used that money, and in fact, I think it's working," said Lawson.

In a statement this week, Lawson's campaign manager said:

"It is extremely troubling Indiana Democrats are willing to suppress voter turnout by attacking election outreach programs in an attempt to score cheap political points... (Secretary Lawson) is proud to lead the way in promoting voter turnout through a non-partisan outreach campaign, reminding all Hoosiers their vote is safe, secure and equal."

Lawson was elected Secretary of State in 2014 after earlier being appointed to the position after former Secretary Charlie White ran into legal troubles.

Lawson also served on the President's controversial commission on voter fraud, which was later disbanded.