Secretary of State

Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1594
(785) 296-4564


For Immediate Release
Wednesday, September 19 , 2001

Contact Information
Jesse Borjon, Communications Director
Office of the Secretary of State
(785) 296-4580

Nation’s Top State Election Officials Urge Americans to Express a Vote for
Democracy in Wake of Terrorist Attacks

Secretaries of state ask public to channel emotions into constructive displays of citizenship

Washington, DC—Following last week’s devastating terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the National Association of Secretaries of State is urging Americans to channel their feelings of anger, grief and helplessness into acts of patriotism and citizenship, including a trip to the ballot box. The association, which consists of the top state election officials in the United States, released today a “reminder” list of civic participation activities, including:

Exercising the right to register and vote
Volunteering to serve as a poll worker on Election Day
Displaying the American Flag
Helping to organize and support patriotic rallies & events

“Out of this tragedy, unity has blossomed. Flags are waving, and patriotism has returned,” said NASS President Ron Thornburgh, Kansas Secretary of State. “At the same time, there is a critical shortage of poll workers in this country and roughly half of our citizens don’t bother to vote. We want to remind folks that civic participation is a constructive way to pack a force for democracy.”

Currently, 38 NASS members serve as the top state election official in their respective states, which includes administering elections, helping local officials recruit poll workers, and carrying out voter education programs. Many secretaries of state had to make critical decisions about going forward with state primaries on September 11, 2001, the date of the terrorist attacks. NASS has posted relevant statements and other election information at

In many cases, the secretary of state’s office is also responsible for furnishing American flags (as well as state flags) to public schools, courts, and other appropriate entities of the state, counties, and municipal authorities. Some also provide information on proper flag etiquette. “Our members have always championed the flag and what it stands for,” remarked Leslie Reynolds, NASS executive director. “But now they are more important than ever. They are the means for our country’s reassurance and renewal.”

***Media note: NASS and its members are available throughout the country for further discussion of civic participation, citizenship, and the renewed fervor surrounding the American Flag. Please contact (202) 624-3528 for more information.

The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Founded in 1904, NASS is the nation’s oldest non-partisan government association, representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands.