Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary Matthew Dunlap to participate in Alabama voting rights tour

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA – Secretary Dunlap will take part in a three-day tour of Alabama later this week, experiencing multiple sites that have earned a place in the history of the civil rights and voting rights movements.

Hosted by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, this special tour is for Secretaries of State nationwide who oversee elections, and Secretary Dunlap is one of 20 secretaries who will be participating. This group of statewide election officials – eight Democrats and 12 Republicans – will spend three days experiencing the history of the voting rights movement, May 9-11.

The experience seeks to impart the important and sobering history of the civil rights and voting rights movement to the people who work to protect those rights for all Americans every day. 

Equal rights and access to our democratic form of self-governance has come at a tremendous cost, said Secretary Dunlap. This tour reminds us not only of that cost, but the stakes involved for all of us as Americans, and will serve to manifestly commit us to continuing the struggle to ensure that all Americans can participate in our democracy.

Participating secretaries of state will visit historical locations and museums that together tell the story of the struggle for voting rights and enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. They include 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Dexter Ave. King Memorial Baptist Church and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery.

The tour will culminate with a crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, deemed a National Historic Landmark as the site of the Bloody Sunday police attack on civil rights demonstrators in 1965.

The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is providing logistical and organizational support for this history tour in conjunction with the Alabama Department of State and the Michigan Department of State. This tour is made possible through the generous support of the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Ford Foundation, and the Democracy Fund.

Participating secretaries of state include:

John Merrill, Alabama (R)
Kevin Meyer, Alaska Lt. Governor (R)
Katie Hobbs, Arizona (D)
Denise Merrill, Connecticut (D)
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia (R)
Connie Lawson, Indiana (R)
Paul Pate, Iowa (R)
Scott Schwab, Kansas (R)
Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky (D)
Kyle Ardoin, Louisiana (R)
Matthew Dunlap, Maine (D)
Jocelyn Benson, Michigan (D)
Barbara Cegavske, Nevada (R)
Bill Gardner, New Hampshire (D)
Frank LaRose, Ohio (R)
Kathryn Boockvar, Pennsylvania (D)
Nellie Gorbea, Rhode Island (D)
Steve Barnett, South Dakota (R)
David Whitley, Texas (R)
Kim Wyman, Washington (R)

This experience is meant to be personal, meaningful, and fully nonpartisan. Secretaries of State will share their reflections on this journey on social media using the hashtag #SOSDemocracy2019. Secretary Dunlap will be posting to the department Twitter account, @MESecofState.