Tag Archives: Bruce McPherson

Former SoS and Legislator Bruce McPherson Ditches GOP

Joins Asm. Nathan Fletcher as GOP exiles

by Brian Leubitz

Bruce McPherson was never really the vote that Republicans wanted to have to count on, but, he was a fairly reliable Republican. Well, a moderate Republican, of the sort that is currently getting pushed out of the GOP across the nation.  Well, count McPherson as one of the exiles.

The man long known as the only Republican who could get elected in Santa Cruz is no longer a Republican. Bruce McPherson said Tuesday he is dropping his GOP party affiliation and listing no preference, joining a growing bloc of California voters who’ve renounced party identification.

“That’s who I am,” McPherson said. “During my years in the California Legislature, I was widely recognized as the most independent voice in either the Assembly or the Senate. Now more than ever I think we need leaders who make decisions for the community and the people, not what’s best for the party.” (Merc News)

McPherson is currently running for a Santa Cruz county Supervisor seat, and will likely be elected in the run-off in November if he hasn’t already. (The votes are still being counted.) And in Santa Cruz, he’ll still be pretty conservative for the County. But in the end, he’s what he always was, a California Forward kind of guy.

As for the CA GOP…well, follow the registration numbers.

Oh No Not the Truth

(Maybe the truth will set Bruce McPherson free… to spend more time with his family. Debra Bowen is a star — she’s already got my vote, and she should have everyone’s. – promoted by jsw)

Sen. Debra Bowen is starting to get some attention on her excellent web ad, which demonstrates just how easy it is to break into Diebold voting machines.  The fact of the matter is that even though that particular model is not being used in California the ones that are have their own problems.

The Sequoia machines that are used in more than a third of CA counties have this nice little button at the back of the machine.  Press it and it restarts the machine and let’s you vote again.  What was McPherson’s and the registrar’s solution?  Tell, poll workers to get suspicious if someone lingers by the machine for more than a minute while they are voting.  Wow…that will work.

Back to the video and the “outrage”.  Salladay blogs about a packet and a green plastic alien head (yes he really did say that he got an alien in the mail).  It was from TheAlienseAreComing.com, which he believes is a nice bit of voting machine astroturfing.  They seem to take the Bowen video literally, which is pretty damn funny.

The whois lookup shows the domain was registered Aug 24th to a Henry Shinster in San Diego.  There is an yahoo email and a phone number, but I am not going to post it.  My searching didn’t turn up anything on the guy.  This could be a wingnut, but it would be a damn big story if this was connected to Diebold or ES&S.

Salladay contacted both Bowen and McPherson for a response.

Bowen’s office defended the video. “The fact is, Secretary McPherson continues to deny there are any problems with these machines, despite the fact that very reputable studies have been done showing there are vulnerabilities,” said Sandra Lloyd-Jones, spokeswoman for Bowen. “He asking for blind faith in the security and accuracy of these machines with no proof.”

But Beth Miller Malek, a spokeswoman for McPherson, said the video Bowen promotes lies about electronic voting systems and attempts to scare voters. “It’s pretty outrageous to be a candidate for secretary of state and feature a video where you are hoping to show vulnerabilities in the system. I think it’s shameful.”

Did she really just say that it is wrong for a SoS candidate to point out voting machines?  Why yes, I think she did.  That is really outrageous.  It is McPherson’s fault that we even have these machines in operation, since he didn’t stop and make sure they were secure before certifying them.

CA-Ticket: Help support Democrats over Greens in California

(Unfortunately, the two-party system dominates. A Green pulling votes could hand the election to a scary conservative, such as McClintock. – promoted by SFBrianCL)

So, we are holding a press conference tomorrow morning with Rep. Barbara Lee (D, CA-09).  We are going to highlight the importance of supporting the Democrat in a close race where a Green is running.

Especially when that Democrat has a Progressive message and agenda, such as John Garamendi and Debra Bowen.

This is late notice, but I wanted to get the message out.  We would like there to be as big a show of support as we can get.  Unfortunately, it is being held during business hours, so that will be a challenge.  It is being held at 9:30 tomorrow morning, but if you can make it please try and be there at 9:00AM to help set up.

The location is in Richmond, CA at 3431 D Macdonald Ave (at 35th).  This is our West Contra Costa County UDC campaign HQ.

Press release on the flip…

CONTACT:  Bonnie Jean von Krogh
November 1, 2006
(510) 594-0224 (W); 415-336-6176 (C)


(Richmond, CA) – Congresswoman Barbara Lee is joining with Mayor Irma Anderson to call on Richmond Mayoral candidate and Green Party member Gayle McLaughlin to publicly announce her support for the Democratic candidates for statewide office. McLaughlin has endorsed against Democratic statewide candidates.

“Four races in California are close enough that progressive support for Greens over Democrats could make Richmond the Florida of the 2006 election,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

Polling shows that four statewide races could be within the margin of error.  All four races have a Green Party candidate.
.    Lieutenant Governor between Democrat John Garamendi and Republican Tom McClintock
.    Secretary of State between Democrat Debra Bowen and Republican Bruce McPherson
.    Controller between Democrat John Chiang and Republican Tony Strickland
.    Insurance Commissioner between Democrat Cruz Bustamante and Republican Steve Poizner

WHAT: Barbara Lee, Irma Anderson & Contra Costa County Democratic Party leaders call on Gayle McLaughlin to endorse Democrats for statewide office
WHEN: Thursday, November 2nd, 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: West County Democrat/Irma Anderson Headquarters

3431 D Macdonald Avenue (at 35th)
WHO: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Irma Anderson, Democratic Party Executive Boardmember Gabriel Baty, and Community Advocates

Secretary of State Debate Liveblog

(check out the live blogging here or at Courage campaign – promoted by SFBrianCL)

(Cross-posted from The California Courage Campaign)

You can view the debate live HERE starting at 2pm. And please join the conversation in the comments.

[UPDATE]Bowen clearly won. She was passionate, knowledgeable, attractive and managed to put the sitting Secretary of State on the defensive. Do you get the sense that McPherson hasn’t had to fight for re-election much in his career, because he did a crappy job of it today. Winner by knock-out: Bowen.

Spread the word!

Also, h/t to Juls for reminding us to vote for Debra over at Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriot PAC

Technically, this debate is a live SF Chronicle editorial board meeting. Looks like they'll endorse based on this meeting. There's a controversy over this debate…they only invited the two major party candidates, not the additional 4 candidates that will be on the ballot. Good call, Chron.

The SOS and incumbent: Bruce McPherson

Democratic challenger: Democrat Debra Bowen.

Cue the opening remarks. 


He is boasting about cleaning up the office of Secretary of State up. He implemented the toughest voting system in the country. He visited all the counties and met with the registrars personally. And he reached out to voters. He established a fax ballot for overseas military. He restored the nonpartisanship of the office. Right.

He's talking about his endorsements now, including the Long Beach Telegram.

"My opponent is running for SOS for 2 reasons: Florida and Ohio." You sure you want to remind people of that, Bruce?


Opening up processes is very much what I'm about. I am running because of the crisis of confidence in our voting systems. Decided to run 2 years ago when problems in the office became clear to her. When McPherson was appointed, "I put partisanship aside and my own ambitions aside, so I voted to confirm Bruce McPherson."

I think California voters have not been well-served by Bruce McPherson." She's now talking about the state-wide voter registration database that he agreed to with the Bush administration. 43% of LA County voters would not have been allowed on the voting rolls. Also certified Diebold TSX voting machines despite security flaws.

Open up the process, far too many secrets regarding the voting systems and counting the votes. 


She's talking about the secrecy of the systems. And the disingenuousness of Bruce McPherson when he says that he has the toughest standards in the nation.

Oh yeah, props, "any of these keys can open a Diebold voting machine." 

The only way to reassure people is to open up this whole process. 

We out to go to open source code, open this all up. This problem would have been discovered long ago if there had been a public review."

McPherson is rebutting and is repeating his claim that he has instituted the strictest standards.

Ahh, he's addressing the Princeton report. He says the model that was tested in that report is the TS system and he certified the TSX. 

"We also have a paper trail requirement…in large part because of me…to have CA be the first state to have a paper trail requirement."  


McPherson: "I've overseen two successful elections and nobody's been disenfranchised in any election."

Bowen: "the security measures are always as good as the least effective person who implements them."

Damn, nice.

She's now talking about the sleepovers in San Diego County. "They could have been left unattended in cars, in a garage, anyware." And she pulled out the key again. Brilliant.

After the sleepovers, "the Secretary of State did absolutely nothing."

The minutiae of the voting machine issues are hard to follow but Bowen is coming across as the authority and McPherson seems like her apprentice.


She was asked if there is any electronic system that would be acceptable. She mentioned on that allows the voter to vote and prints a paper ballot which becomes the ballot of record.

"This is California, I have no doubt we can do even better than that…with open source software and that allows disabled voters to vote independently. We can do this, we just have to decide to do this."

McPherson used the "c" word, said Bowen is throwing out "conspiracies." Thing is she doesn't come off as a conspiracy theorist, she's totally credible.


He just said "I think she doesn't trust the county registrars, I do." OK, Bruce.

OK, got a little heated there. Bruce is on the defensive. Bowen is on the offensive.


Q: How do we deal with the increasing number of absentee ballots?

Absentee ballots are a big part of the election protection concerns on the right. They think CA absentee rules are too liberal.

He thinks the added check of the signature itself will add to the security of absentee ballots.

Bowen: "I introduced a measure in 1993 for people to become permanent absentee voters. It became law in 2000-2001. We can make that process better too." 

"This year, one barrier, there is more than a 39 cent postage in many counties. Leaving the SOS scrambling after the fact with the post office to ensure people's votes will be delivered. I'm still concerned about that."

Re the signature match, some counties are experimenting with automating the signature match, even using Diebold machines.

McPherson jumped in: "I don't make deals with the post master general or anyone else."

Defenisve much?


Q: If absentee ballots work so well, why don't we get rid of e-voting all together and go to paper like in Oregon.

Bowen: problem – in urban areas, people move a great deal. I have favored a system that allows people to register as permanent absentee but still allow them to go to the polls. I love to go to the polls. You feel like you're more a part of democracy.

McPherson: "I want 100% participation.  As interesting as all mail ballot seems, the fact is that the larger population still goes to the polls and they should be able to do that. "

He's saying that we should offer people all options for voting.


Q: Secretary, you say you support the ID law yet there's little evidence of fraud.

McPherson: "Not necessarily a photo ID but standards in assn w/HAVA — people could provide a variety of number of types of ID. I don't think it's too much to ask for the integrity of elections to present ID at the polls."

Q: Is there evidence that there has been evidence of fraud.

McPherson: "We have seen some, you hear about it every election. One person put his dog on the voting roll."

Bowen: "We actually do have a requirement that when people register they do have to present ID. I'm opposed to photo ID requirement at the polls. Have had to chase a birth certificate with her foster daughter — it took us a year and a half to get it, it's a good thing we didn't need it for her to vote." 

"Every court that's looked at voter ID laws have found them unconstitutional." 


Bowen: "Only 15 cases of voter fraud throughout the entire country were charged. If every citizen has a valid photo ID, I'd support it, but that's not the case."


Q: What can the SOS office do to promote participation?

McPherson: 6 million eligible voters who are not registered to vote. He's been all over the state to encourage people to register including a student voter program. "In particular, young people are a concern to me."

"Fundamental core of democracy is on election day when we get to choose our representatives."

He's talking about problems that have occured and litigation involved. "I will prosecute those cases to the fullest extent."

Bowen: 1. SOS makes a deal of voter reg projects in ethnic communities but fact is that 43% of voters who registered in LA County during a few months of this year were predominantly women or ethnic voters w/Asian-American or Latino surnames. 

2. "I go back to this key" (yeah prop!) "and the Diebold machines. People are tech savvy and they are skeptical. We have to fix this problem of confidence. Young people approach me about open source software."

3. "How we fund campaigns. The amount of money going into the legislature and constitutional officers keeps people home. In states with clean money participation has gone way up."

Nice plug for Prop 89! 




McPherson: "This thing about the 26,000 voters who couldn't vote have been mentioned twice and that's two too many." Was that supposed to be some catchy sound byte, Bruce?

He's defending the LA County disenfranchisement plan.

Bowen:  "Plenty of ways to prevent duplicate registrations that doesn't disenfranchise anyone." There were 26,000 did not get a sample ballot so they weren't told where their polling place was. I can see why it is that only 263 of those 26,000 voters cast provisional votes.


Bowen to McPherson: Do you personally believe that there are any serious problems with counting and auditing of any of the electronic systems you certified?

McPherson: "The proof is in the elections that I have overseen. We can trust the systems I put in place."

"Votes have been counted accurately and systems have performed well."

No matter how many ways you say it doesn't make it anymore true, Bruce.

He is now talking about disabled voters: they can only vote with electronic machines.

Bowen: There is a system called Vote Pad that your office did not certify does allow disabled voters to cast a ballot without an electronic voting machine."

And then "I DID NOT HEAR AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION." Aww yeah. "I don't know whether you believe the Princeton study and other tests are things are not serious."


McPherson to Bowen: You'd decertify electronic voting machines that allow disabled and blind to vote independently. 


Bowen: "You are scaring people in a way that is really shameful. For you to assert that if I were to win…when I do win…that I would disenfranchise voters is really shameful. Bruce, you and I have been friends for a long time, this is not your finest hour."



Closing statements.

McPherson: My opponent has said she is running for the nation. I am running for California. He is now quoting the alarmist SacBee editorial that called her aggressive. He's just reading stuff now. Calling her an armchair quarterback. He said she's never offered a playbook of her own. Is he kidding?

He's literally just reading off editorials of other papers.

Bowen: Yes the editorial said "Support Debra Bowen, she'll secure your vote." 

"What we see now is hastily certified unsecure systems, record low voter turnout (only 33% cast votes in primary.)..I've been an innovator, I'll work to expand the safe at home program (protects battered women, he opposed it), I have the technical expertise and know how to restore confidence and openness to our voting systems and I respectfully request your endorsement."


Sac Bee Gets it Wrong, Endorses McPherson over Bowen


Appointed early in 2005 after former Secretary of State Kevin Shelley resigned under fire, McPherson has restored integrity, civility and order to an office that had descended into chaos under Shelley.

This is an unfortunate mistake from what I would otherwise view as the major newspaper of politics in this state. Somehow the certification of diebold voting machines that lots of people recognize as faulty isn’t a big deal for them. They say some nice things about his style, but McPherson’s substance is tainted.

ACTION: Diebold Fails Another Security Test — Demand Answers From S.O.S.

( – promoted by SFBrianCL)

(cross-posted at The Courage Campaign)

On Wednesday, the Center For Information Technology Policy at Princeton University released a report that proves that the Diebold Accuvote-TS voting machines can be easily infected with an untraceable malicious virus that steals votes and gives a result different than the true vote tally:

This paper presents a fully independent security study of a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its hardware and software. We obtained the machine from a private party. Analysis of the machine, in light of real election procedures, shows that it is vulnerable to extremely serious attacks. For example, an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities — a voting-machine virus.

Go here for the full paper.

UPDATE: The video that accompanies the study is below:

I contacted Chuck Hahn, Assistant Secretary of State Policy & Planning to get Secretary of State Bruce McPherson's response to this latest indictment of the very technology that he himself certified for use in California's elections. Remember that McPherson certified Diebold even after a study that his very own office conducted found "serious flaws" in the Diebold software. His certification was "conditional" apparently on their insistence that they would fix the vulnerabilities.

At the CA GOP summer convention, I asked McPherson directly what reassurances Diebold had given him that these flaws would be fixed. He simply said "I wouldn't have certified them if I didn't think they were secure." And when I asked if there's anything online or in the public record that can reassure voters of Diebold's good faith efforts, he told me that they held public hearings that anyone could attend. That's when Hahn stepped in, gave me his card and asked me to give him a call and he swept McPherson away.

So in the wake of this new revelation I did call him and e-mailed him to make sure they were aware of the report and to get the Secretary's response. I received a return e-mail from Hahn not long after that, which, while swift, was still quite dismissive UPDATE:he prefers not to be on the record so I’ve taken down the text of the e-mail. He’s been helpful and responsive so far. Hopefully we’ll get a swift response from McPherson soon. This is about keeping pressure on him to answer for his decision to re-certify these machines. As I say in the comments, it appears from his certification announcement that CA may not even be using the machine tested. But that’s not the end of the story, nor is it the end of the explaining we must demand from McPherson.

Yawn, more GOP cheating…Fraudulent voter registration in SoCal

It’s getting a bit tired isn’t it?  In yesterday’s Sac Bee, it was reported that some fraudulent registration applications from their SoCal grassroots people. 

Several GOP voter-registration workers created fake individuals in documents submitted to the California Republican Party, which said Thursday that it discovered the fraudulent activity through an internal review and forwarded its findings to Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.

GOP spokesman Patrick Dorinson said the party caught the undisclosed number of falsified voter affidavits early enough that it avoided registering any fraudulent names with the state. (SacBee 9/1/06)

Uh, yeah, sure you did.  I’m sure you caught all of the fake people, the dead people, etc. You know, that large spike in GOP registration did seem a bit on the large side.  How many of those people really registered?

And Mr. McP says’s he’ll be all over this scandal, just as soon as he’s done campaigning on the state’s dime. Yeah, I’ll buy that promise right after I finish completing my “Facts of Life” Tootie Video Montage.  Which is to say, the 12th of Never.  So, need I mention that Debra is on the Calitics ActBlue page?

CA-SOS McPherson Attacks with Lies

(Not only will Debra be, like, the coolest Secretary of State, EVER, but Bruce is a big fat liar. – promoted by SFBrianCL)

Schwarzenegger appointed California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson went negative against his opponent Senator Debra Bowen of the California Elections Committee last night when he sent out an email claiming that Sen. Bowen is funding her campaign with Wal-Mart stock.

So, how is it that the current Secretary of State, who is in charge of all of the official records – i.e. reporting for candidates and lobbying, how is it that he could have received such bad intelligence??Could McPherson just not find the right FPPC file?    

I think Mr. McPherson must have used a DIEBOLD electronic search to get his information!  OOPSY!

McPherson sent this email to his supporters yesterday afternoon:

Accusing Senator Bowen of not only possessing Wal-Mart stock, but using that stock to fund her campaign for fair elections in California.

McPherson went so far as to make up a quote from Senator Bowen – saying

“I realize that makes me a hypocrite since it runs counter to my Democrat ideals but, hey – the ends will justify the means when I’m Secretary of State!” – Brucie Mc`P’ doing a really pathetic impression of Sen. Bowen

What Mr. McPherson failed to mention is that:
1.  Senator Bowen DOES NOT own Wal-Mart stock.
2.  If Senator Bowen DID own Wal-Mart stock – in California it is NOT permissible to loan stock to a campaign. (how does he not know this again?)
3.  Senator Bowen, unlike Mr. McPherson, has actually been voting in support of working people for the last 14 years – and is endorsed by the California Federation of Teachers, the California Nurses Association, AFSCME, the United Teachers of Los Angeles, and the State Council of Laborers.  

Mr. McPherson, on the other hand – (according to Project Vote Smart a non-partisan, non-profit group that catalogues and tracks votes and rankings from various groups)
in 2003 had a 4% Rating with the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
in 2005 had a 20% rating with the California School Employees Association
McPherson approved Diebold voting equipment even after computer scientists declared the software possibly illegal and has security holes

Does this guy just not get it?

Or is he just bought and paid for by the right wing extremist machine to disenfranchise working people??

If asked these questions Mr. Mc “p” (now little “p”) might respond:

“I realize this makes a mockery of our voting system and our Constitution and runs counter to the ideals of every voter who cares their vote is counted accurately, but HEY – the ends justify the means when I certify the count!” -Me pretending to be Mc “p”

For goodness sake – CONTRIBUTE to stopping these lies!!  or use ActBlue and get some good government over there in California… ya’ll are killing me!! Little P frightens me!

CA-SoS: The unions split on McPherson vs. Bowen

( – promoted by SFBrianCL)

Bruce McPherson was appointed as a “moderate”, someone who could clean up the Secretary of State’s office after the Kevin Shelley mess.  He wants to make the SoS office less partisan, which would be a good thing.  In fact, he sponsored a bill when in the legislature to make the election for SoS non-partisan, and apparently he still feels that way.  Well, it’s been a mixed bag for him.  We still haven’t fully resolved the Diebold crap and many of the counties are in terrible shape for the next election.  The Alameda County last-minute switcheroo which forced the county to use paper ballots is just a symptom of that.  Other counties are struggling to determine what machines are acceptable and continually have to buy new machines.  But at least he hasn’t hired any of his supporter’s sons (or at least we don’t know of any shenanigans like that).  So, all in all, I’d say a pretty middling run as SoS.

Now, Debra Bowen has the potential to be a great SoS.  She understands the issues that are involved in the job, specifically the Diebold issues.  She has reached out to grassroots support and has promised that she will work for greater transparency in the election process.  But some of this stuff might be too technical for everybody to understand, or require too much effort to understand.  That is why we need Debra Bowen.  She would be an excellent voice nationally on election reform and would be a great voice for the public.

However, the unions seem to have split on Bowen’s candidacy. 

Republican Secretary of State BruceMcPherson’s election bid has received a boost from an unlikely source–several of the state’s leading unions, including the powerful California Teachers Association, which has endorsed a statewide Republican for the first time.
This fall, McPherson is expected to count the wellheeled California Teachers Association ($11,100), California Professional Firefighters ($1,500), and the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) ($5,600) in his corner. All those groups are members of the labor coalition that spearheaded the 2005 campaign against the governor. Another member of that labor alliance, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association ($5,600) endorsed McPherson in the primary.
Bowen’s campaign counters with the labor endorsements of the California Federation of Teachers, the California Nurses Association ($3,000), AFSCME ($6,000), the United Teachers of Los Angeles ($2,000), and the State Council of Laborers ($10,000).

Bowen says that fighting through a tough primary has prepared her–and her campaign–for the general election. “I have already created an energized grassroots and ‘netroots’ presence,” she said.

Some, more cynical Republicans, say the unions’ endorsements of McPherson are only token support for a statewide Republican to give the left-leaning groups political cover for their solidly Democratic agenda. It doesn’t hurt that McPherson, the only GOP incumbent besides Schwarzenegger, has a solid chance in the fall, they add.(Capitol Weekly 7/6/06)

I can’t really fault them.  McPherson hasn’t really done anything all that drastic that would harm them in any way.  However, McPherson hasn’t really done much of anything.  I don’t think that’s really a compliment to him.  But, I suppose if you want to show token GOP support, some people would think that this is the race to do that.  It is not.  Our elections are too important.  Debra Bowen is the right choice to be our next ELECTED Secretary of State.

California Blog Roundup, 3/29/06

On the flip, one will find the Californa Blog Roundup for today, if one is so inclined. Teasers: Absolute disaster with McPherson voter registration database, Reiner resigns, CA-50 polling and Busby immmigration policy, Arnold’s new consultants and their classiness, lots of immigration, a little Doolittle, Some CA-2 and CA-11, Kid Oakland, and a good lawyer.