Ideally, secretaries of state are best seen and not heard. As the overseers of elections in each state, these officials are supposed to protect the process, so that voters don't have to worry about the integrity of the franchise.
And Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler has performed well until now, which has been reassuring in an era in which federal officials concede that Russia has tried to infiltrate many state voting systems.
Yet the latest news out of the Schedler's office isn't remotely reassuring.
A lawsuit filed last week by an employee, alleging a creepy pattern of sexual harassment by Schedler, is a concern not just for the obvious reasons — although it is certainly that — but also because of what it says about Schedler's overall leadership of the office. The suit alleges that Schedler repeatedly propositioned the woman over the course of a decade, bought a town home across from hers and had his security staff monitor her activities, and retaliated when she rebuffed his advances.
Schedler's initial explanation is cause for deep concern too. He said he engaged in a consensual affair with his subordinate, which she denies. Even if true, that alone would raise all sorts of red flags.
You never want to have to wonder whether constituents can rely upon the judgment, professionalism, honesty and focus of an elected official.
You particularly don't want to have to wonder what's going on at a time when the very integrity of the vote is at stake.