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Democrat embarrasses himself by saying he's running for Illinois secretary of state to 'protect' elections. The office doesn't handle elections, an independent board does.

Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis via Getty Images

It appears one Democratic candidate for Illinois secretary of state may have neglected to carefully read the job description before launching his campaign.

What happened?

Alexi Giannoulias, who formerly served as the state's treasurer, argued on Twitter recently that it is "critical" for Illinois voters to keep the secretary of state's office blue in order to "protect" the state's electoral process.

But should he be elected, Giannoulias will be disappointed to find out that the secretary of state's authority does not extend over elections. Rather, Illinois's independent Board of Elections manages them.

"Illinois is not nearly as blue a state as people think," tweeted Giannoulias on Sunday. "It's absolutely critical we keep the Secretary of State's office blue to protect our elections. That is why I'm running to keep IL blue. Can you [retweet] this & follow this account to help keep Illinois securely Democratic?"

According to the Illinois secretary of state's website, while the office is tasked with a diverse set of responsibilities "from issuing driver's licenses and registering vehicles, to promoting organ/tissue donation awareness, [to] overseeing the Illinois State Library and administering the state's literacy efforts" — managing state and local elections is not among them.

Drew Savicki, a former 270toWin contributor who reports on elections in Illinois, broke the news to Giannoulias in a reply tweet.

"If you're running for elected office, you should know what the office [does]," wrote Savicki. "The Illinois SoS has nothing to do with elections. Illinois has a board of elections. The Secretary of State's primary job is running the DMV."

What else?

"The [Illinois secretary of state] doesn't administer elections or have anything to do with the elections process, that's all the SBE whose members are appointed by the governor," confirmed another commenter.

"I wonder if he knows?" asked another.

Axios reporter Lachlan Markay chimed in to note that even when setting aside Giannoulias' incorrect assertion, the candidate's message is a bit confounding.

"Putting aside the fact that IL elections are overseen by an independent agency, not the sec of state, 'I'm running for the office that oversees elections to ensure Democrats keep winning' is maybe not a great campaign theme," Markay tweeted.

Journalist Joe Uchill responded to Markay, saying, "Don't put that aside. Linger on the fact Giannoulias is advertising a service he can't possibly provide."

As of Monday afternoon, Giannoulias had yet to respond to criticisms.

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