Democrat Marion County Clerk Beth White said Monday that she will seek the Democratic nomination for secretary of state in 2014.
White, who is in her second term as clerk, said her role as chief election officer for the nation's 13th largest city is experience that qualifies her to be the state's top election official as well.
White has fought for expanded early voting hours and has testified before the General Assembly, urging lawmakers remove barriers to voting. She has also visited local schools to help students engage in the voting process.
"We started yVote! during the 2008 election to capture the enthusiasm to invigorate political interest in our young people," White said in a statement Monday. "Since then more than 2,500 students have registered to vote through this program, and I'm hopeful that bringing the constitution back to the classroom will lead to a more engaged electorate."
White lamented studies that show adults are not engaged in the political process and lack basic knowledge about government.
If White wins the Democratic nomination, she'll likely face incumbent Republican Connie Lawson.
Lawson was appointed to the post by former Gov. Mitch Daniels after the previous secretary of state - Republican Charlie White, no relation to Beth White - lost the position following a voter fraud conviction.
On Monday, Indiana Republican Chairman Tim Berry said that Beth White's tenure as clerk "has been plagued with botched elections, understaffed polling places, ballots not being delivered on time and voters getting the wrong ballots."
"And now she wants a promotion?" he said.
Problems with elections and polling places in Marion County have been common under both parties.
As clerk, White is also the record keeper for the Marion Superior and Circuit courts. Previously, she was an aide to Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and was a member of the Gov. Frank O'Bannon administration, serving as chief legal counsel and director of job training for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
"I've had the opportunity to work with public servants who understood the value of inclusiveness. They worked hard to make sure everyone had a seat at the table," White said. "As Indiana's next Secretary of State, I hope to follow in their footsteps and leave our state a better place for the next generation of Hoosiers."
More than two-thirds of people surveyed said they support congressional efforts to restore the Voting Rights Act to the way it was before the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the law last year.