Tag Archives: election reform

Political bloggers should reveal funding

Jamie CourtWednesday, the California Fair Political Practices Commission takes up the question of whether political bloggers should have to disclose who pays them to blog in political campaigns. Sacramento’s consultant establishment, both on the left and the right, has been hiding behind free speech protections to propagandize and cut the legs out from under credentialed authorities on behalf of any interest group.

Because voters increasingly rely on information online, paid blogger-based attacks that masquerade as real journalism are one of the biggest rackets in Sacramento.

Journalists get fired for lying. Tax-exempt nonprofit groups can have their tax status revoked if they lie and propagandize. They are subject to disclosure requirements by the IRS, the state Fair Political Practices Commission and the U.S. attorney general. Political bloggers, on the other hand, can get paid to blog lies and are accountable to no one.

How does the paid-blogger racket work? A consumer group like mine finds itself in the crosshairs of a powerful industry. For example, this summer we qualified a ballot measure to regulate health, home and auto insurance rates that will be on the 2014 ballot. This fall, we successfully defeated Proposition 33, the $17.5 million campaign by one insurance company billionaire to deregulate auto insurance.

We were outspent 70 to 1 on the Prop. 33 fight, but we had a strong online voice and large lists of supporters. Our enemies know that our credibility as a consumer group is our main asset. So suddenly a new group was created to “watch” Consumer Watchdog by a Democratic Sacramento political blogger and consultant, Steve Maviglio.

He misstated facts about our funding on his blog and on his new website, made an expensive online video that showed a fake picture of our founder’s house to claim it was a mansion, and took out advertising on Google, YouTube and elsewhere around the Web. He claimed no one paid him for any of that work or advertising, but that he simply had a grudge. Remarkably, the day after the election, when voters rejected Prop. 33, the Google ads were no longer running.

Maviglio was joined in his online assault by a couple of Republican consultants and bloggers. None would disclose who, if anyone, paid them. A California Watch story noted an attack by “Republican consultant Rob Stutzman, who is working with an opposition research firm but wouldn’t say who is paying for the effort.” Republican blogger Jon Fleischman wrote an attack blog without bothering to check the facts, then forwarded it to our founder saying: “Thinking about you this holiday season. Happy Hanukah.” Very journalistic.

Who regulates Maviglio, Stutzman and Fleischman, or requires that they disclose their funding? That is the subject of the FPPC deliberations.

Not surprisingly, Maviglio and Fleischman are the most vociferous opponents of any changes to the status quo.

What should be done?

  • Political bloggers should be required to comport themselves with the ethics of journalists if they are claiming First Amendment protection. Bloggers on political issues in California should be required to disclose financial conflicts of interest or face sanctions by the FPPC and public prosecution. “Paid for” political disclosures are cumbersome for bloggers and websites but requiring simple disclosure of payments made by entities involved in political issues in the context of content is no more than we ask of journalists.
  • Legal loopholes allow monied interests to pay unlimited amounts to bloggers for attacks on their opponents. These payments are never disclosed so long as the bloggers don’t expressively advocate how to vote on the ballot measure. Bloggers should be required to disclose such payments.
  • Advertising on a blogger’s website paid for by an interest group with a dog in a political fight should be disclosed. This is one way to compensate someone voicing an opinion without disclosing it.

The good news about the new media is that anyone can create their own media outlet. The bad news is that without regulation it will be harder than ever to decipher whose opinions and voices we are hearing online.


Jamie Court is President of Consumer Watchdog and a director of the Consumer Watchdog Campaign

Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 14, 2012

States Move to Create Culture of Voter Engagement through Preregistration

By Erin Ferns

The rising levels of voter participation among the nation’s youth continue to be challenged by the current voter registration system, perpetuating the difficulty of fostering lifelong voters. Some states are proposing to take this challenge into their own hands by making voter registration accessible to citizens as young as 16. Already widely accessible at schools and departments of motor vehicles, the move would allow future voters in some states to automatically be enrolled on the voter rolls on their 18th birthdays, a change that advocates say could “close the registry gap between young voters and the rest of the population.”  

California and Rhode Island are among the states that have introduced legislation permitting 16- and 17-year-old citizens to register to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays. Rhode Island bills, SB 85 and HB 5005 show promise to pass the legislature – a prospect that is nothing new to the state, which has passed such bills three years in a row only to have them vetoed by the governor, according to research and advocacy group, Fair Vote.

“It’s good public policy to get young people involved as early as possible in the democratic process,” said Fair Vote Rhode Island Director Matt Sledge in Brown University’s Daily Herald last week. The preregistration bill, he said, would “close the registry gap between young voters and the rest of the population.”

Today, multiple states allow certain citizens under age 18 to preregister to vote, including Rhode Island and California. However, Hawaii and Florida are the only states to have enacted dedicated preregistration laws that permit all citizens as young as 16 to register to vote, which advocates argue is the best way to incorporate youth into the democratic process.

Institutionalizing preregistration not only makes it easier to conduct and participate in voter registration activities on high school campuses and DMVs since it captures more young people before they graduate, but it also helps “boost the effectiveness of civics education by tying it directly to civic participation through the opportunity to preregister,” according to a Fair Vote report. The report further notes that “uniform” preregistration laws, like those in Hawaii and Florida, help alleviate general voter registration ills by acting as a “cost-effective step toward greater standardization, which means a cleaner, more accurate data set. Pre-registration could also save money and minimize human error by allowing students to register year round at points of civic engagement and education…”

Advocates say California is a prime place to engage and enfranchise its diverse population, which is “especially apparent in high schools today.” According to a 2007 proposal for preregistration in California by the public policy group, New America Foundation, “if young people are not hooked into democratic institutions and practices while they’re in high school, it becomes more difficult to do so after they leave high school.”

The group emphasized that young people become more difficult to “contact or engage” directly after high school, resulting in a “‘disengagement cycle’ that becomes increasingly difficult to break. High school, in many cases, is the final opportunity to fully engage young people about participating in our democracy. Having common sense practices for engaging young people in high school is crucial. One of the most effective efforts is to lower the age for voter registration to sixteen.”

Although California has yet to pass a bill to lower the voter registration age to 16, there is still an effort underway. Last week, preregistration bill AB 30 was reported favorably out of committee last week. It is now pending in the Assembly committee on Appropriations.

California and Rhode Island also show that they are on the right track toward engaging young people by mandating schools to serve as voter registration agencies or to facilitate drives on campus, both effective ways to facilitate civic engagement through education. The next step is to combine those good laws with legislation to lower the “effective engagement age” in order to capture more future voters while helping standardize the voter registration system in general.

Rhode Island senator and sponsor of SB 85, Rhoda Perry agrees that preregistration would “get more people involved in the civic process,” the Brown Daily Herald reported. The only problem with the bill, she said, is that “the governor vetoes it.” There is hope for future voters in Rhode Island, however, as preregistration is increasing gaining support in the legislature, a change that Perry said may be just enough to override the governor’s veto.

To monitor youth voting bills in these states, visit www.electionlegislation.orgor subscribe to the weekly Election Legislation digest, featuring election bills in all 50 states, by emailing Erin Ferns at eferns [at] projectvote.org.  

Special Election Delays Make Yacht Party Happy Campers

CapAlert gets around to covering the issue we covered on Wednesday – how legislative vacancies on the Democratic side embolden the Yacht Party and make it more impossible to pass a decent budget.  What amazes me is that they get a Yacht Party leader to go on the record about it:

To this day, Ridley-Thomas’ seat remains unfilled. Democratic Assemblyman Curren Price of Inglewood finished first in the primary last week and is expected to take his place in the upper house after a May 19 runoff.

Of course, that will create a vacancy in the Assembly, which will likely last until early October by virtue of the state’s election-scheduling laws.

“Every vote we pick up, it is exponential for the Republicans,” said Assembly GOP leader Mike Villines. “It gives us a lot of ability to move the debate and navigate to issues that we care about.”

This is Yacht Party logic – they actually think a vacancy is a PICK-UP for them.  It’s the logic of an extortionist.  No sane person other than someone trying to exploit would agree that a less-than-full legislature for years on end makes sense from a public policy standpoint.  That’s why we could significantly reduce the time of the merry go-round AND save millions of dollars in special election costs by instituting Instant Runoff Voting for special election seats.

But the Yacht Party has no intention of fixing the policy.  They want to laugh as they see legislators walk out the door.

In Northern California, Rep. Ellen Tauscher has accepted an Obama post in the state department, though still faces the confirmation process.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, has already declared for the seat, and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, is said to be considering a run.

“Joan Buchanan should run for Congress,” said a laughing Villines, hoping for yet another vacancy in his house. “She’d be an excellent congresswoman.”

“It creates a better dynamic than having the ability of the liberal-controlled Legislature to just steamroll its own desires,” Villines said.

A better dynamic in the sense of being a fake dynamic, where the elected will of the voters is not reflected in the ability of the legislature.  I can’t think of a better argument to repeal two-thirds than these two quotes.

Ending The Special Election Merry Go-Round

Assemblyman Ted Lieu, who joined us at Calitics yesterday for an online town hall, has an op-ed with Gautam Dutta of the New America Foundation arguing for an election reform he will soon combine with a bill, to institute instant runoff voting for all special elections in California.

Here’s the root of the problem. On March 24, 2009 barely 6 percent of registered voters showed up for a special election to fill a vacancy for California’s 26th Senate District. In an area with almost 1 million residents and 400,000 registered voters, only 23,000 civic-minded citizens decided who would replace former State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas (newly elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors).

How much did this special election cost? A whopping $2.2 million of our tax dollars – nearly $100 per voter – according to the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder / County Clerk.

Unfortunately, we’re not even close to being finished. Since no candidate won a majority, we must hold a second election that will cost even more money. Because this is a heavily Democratic district, it is certain the Democratic nominee, Assemblymember Curren Price, will win. Yet Mr. Price must wait two months for a second election before he can be sworn in as State Senator.

Far from being “special”, special runoff elections cost millions of tax dollars to administer – at a time when governments have been forced to lay off schoolteachers and workers.

Obviously, the Assemblyman is making the fiscal responsibility argument for combining low-turnout special elections through IRV.  But there’s another crucial argument to be made – the irresponsible delay in proper representation in the legislature.  Mark Ridley-Thomas was elected to the LA County Board of Supervisors in November, and his replacement won’t take office until May.  That’s unacceptable, and especially so in California, where the Yacht Party uses the conservative veto to hijack the budget process.  With a faster resolution of the Ridley-Thomas seat, for example, Republicans would have one less vote to use as leverage for the budget.

And this is more acute in the case of special elections for Congress in CA-32 and CA-10.  Imagine, for example, if Sen. Gil Cedillo wins the Solis seat.  He could be replaced by a sitting Assemblymember, which is the logical scenario.  Then THAT Assembly seat needs to be filled.  By the time all the special elections and runoffs are complete, we’re well into 2010.

Enough.  Instant runoff voting is a perfectly acceptable way to divine the will of the people without the need for a separate runoff election.  The aforementioned Mark Ridley-Thomas has called for a feasibility study into IRV for these special elections.  Lieu and Dutta explain:

With IRV, voters get to rank their choices, 1, 2, 3. If your first choice cannot win, your vote automatically goes to your second (i.e., runoff) choice. It’s like conducting a runoff election, but in a single election. If IRV had been used last night, the election for the Senate district would be finished.

IRV has already been adopted by San Francisco, Oakland, Minneapolis, Memphis, and Santa Fe. Currently, Louisiana, South Carolina and Arkansas all use IRV for overseas voters. A number of prominent leaders have endorsed IRV, including: President Barack Obama, Senator John McCain, California Controller John Chiang, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. Influential civic groups also support IRV, including: Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles League of Women Voters, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Asian American Action Fund, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, and New America Foundation.

This is not only a budget issue, it’s the right reform for California.  Let’s end the special election merry go-round.

An Evening With Debra Bowen In Downtown LA

Last night I was fortunate enough to be present at a small-group discussion with Secretary of State Debra Bowen hosted by the California League of Conservation Voters.  Despite this being a hectic time for the Secretary of State (E-12, in her parlance), she took a couple hours to fill us in on efforts leading up to this year of three separate elections.

In the final two weeks for voters to be eligible for the February 5 primary, there was a surge of registration.  At a “midnight registration drive” in Sacramento, over 1,500 citizens registered to vote in one day (sadly, registrars in places like Los Angeles County resisted efforts to do the same because it would be “inconvenient” for them to update their voter rolls).  While she had no prediction on turnout in the primary, Bowen was confident that there will be a lot of excitement and potentially a good turnout.  One drawback is the fact that decline-to-state voters have to opt-in to receive a ballot for the Democratic primary (they are shut out from the Republican primary).  When I asked Bowen about this, she replied that counties are required to actually notify DTS voters of their rights, and that some precinct locations will have signage notifying them to that end, but that this is insufficient and her hands are tied by state law to some extent.  The parties who want to welcome DTS voters into their primary have a big role to play in this.  The Democratic Party, if they want to expand their base, should make a legitimate effort to let DTS voters know they can vote in the primary.  It will have the effect of getting them in the habit of voting Democratic and give them a stake in the party.  There are also legislative reforms, regarding mandatory signage inside the polling place, changes to the vote-by-mail process (nonpartisan voters must request a partisan ballot), that can be taken.


Bowen’s great achievements since taking over the Secretary of State’s office include an insistence on voter security, and outreach to young voters.  On the security front, despite the howls of protest from county registrars, Bowen will be limiting precincts to one touch-screen voting machine (for disabled voters) and will be undergoing increased security and auditing procedures.  A lot of these measures will be behind the scenes, like delivering voting equipment in tamper-proof bags so that evidence of changes to the equipment will be obvious.  And the auditing procedures, with an open testing process, may delay voting results, but are crucial to maintain confidence in the vote.  A court recently ruled in favor of Bowen and against San Diego County in implementing these changes, but she expects an appeal.  As Bowen said, “Since cavemen put black stones on one side and white stones on the other, people have tried to affect election results.”  But she is doing whatever possible to make sure those efforts will be supremely difficult in California.  None of her provisions so far are slam-dunks; it’s hard to create something foolproof, considering that memory cards for many machines can fit in your pocket, and so many machines are hackable.  But Bowen is making an excellent start.

Bowen was cool to this idea of voter fraud, which has been pushed by conservatives for years.  She described that there has only been one documented case of voter fraud in recent history, and that it’s a high-work, low-reward strategy for cheating.  Efforts to stop this non-existent problem include voter ID laws, expected to get a boost with the Supreme Court likely to allow the one in Indiana to go forward, despite Constitutional concerns.  While Bowen deflected many attempts to get voter ID laws enacted in California while on the Elections Committee in the Senate, she believed that such attempts would never pass this Legislature.

As far as reaching out to young voters, we all know about Bowen’s use of MySpace and Facebook to keep young voters informed (and yes, she also reads Calitics).  But one measure she talked about last night struck me.  On February 5, over 140,000 California high school students will engage in a mock election, featuring a Presidential primary and three mock ballot initiatives: 1) should the vehicle license fee be ties to auto emissions, 2) should voting be mandatory, and 3) should government do more to stop bullying on social networking sites.  This is an ingenious way to get people interested and excited in politics at an early age, and sounds like a model program.

We have a long way to go on national election reform; Bowen noted that only three Secretaries of State (her, and the two in Ohio and Minnesota) agree that there needs to be a federal standard for national elections.  What we need to do is elect more competent professionals like Debra Bowen and keep pushing the debate in the direction of reform and voter confidence.

Christine Pelosi’s thoughts on Prop 93

UPDATE: by Brian, I changed the title of this thread based on Christine’s comment.

This email, originally from Christine Pelosi, was forwarded to me yesterday.

From: Christine Pelosi

Dear Everyone,

It’s Veterans Day and here we are with the freedom to debate the future of our democracy thanks to the sacrifice of our service members.  Thanks to all of them past and present.

On the issue of Prop 93, I have been reading the posts with great interest (and respect). FWIW, here are my thoughts:

We CA Democrats rightly opposed the term limits initiative – it was anti-progressive, pro-privatization – and in part it worked.  It entrenched top-level insiders and lobbyists, and made incumbents more reliant on these entrenched interests to learn their way around the Capitol and get things done.  We can’t change this “imbalance of power” in our state government unless we remove artificial term limits and promote competitive election and ethics reform.

ARTIFICIAL TERM LIMITS break the pipeline of new people coming forth to serve and remove the people from the decision – if I want my legislator to serve 2 or 20 years that should be my choice as a voter.

continued after the flip

COMPETITIVE ELECTIONS require a strategy to run candidates across CA so that even people in deeply red or blue communities debate both sides of complex CA issues such as jobs, education, water and land use or immigration that we send legislators to Sacramento to address. That builds consensus – a 60% solution not a 51% position.

ETHICS REFORM is crucial to restoring open government from the anti-progressive pro-privatization forces. Even if 93 passes we still have those entrenched interests giving money through campaigns, nonprofits, charities and other venues – and ordinary people just can’t compete. I am a reasonably competent follower of state government and yet I can’t inventory all the ways I’d have to give money or counter the money someone else gave in order to be heard on an issue – and I shouldn’t have to learn. That’s not the democracy the veterans in my family or your families have been fighting for.

Our pro-93 legislators have ethics reform ideas sitting in committees right now – let’s hear how they will do their jobs better before we give them job extensions.

All the best (and warm wishes to all the veterans and military families for Veterans Day),

Christine Pelosi
Author, Campaign Boot Camp:
Basic Training for Future Leaders
Visit me online at www.PelosiBootCamp.com
OR text “bootcamp” (one word) to “35328”

“Presidential Election Reform Act” unconstitutional, says Slate.com

Really fabulous write-up in Slate this morning about how the GOP proposition to change how our electors are determined (i.e. the plan to steal 20-22 electoral votes) is unconstitutional:


A short excerpt:

“In Article II, Section 1, the Constitution declares that electors shall be appointed by states “in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” That’s legislature. California’s could scrap its current winner-take-all approach and adopt a district-by-district system for allocating electors (as only Maine and Nebraska currently do). But the voters-whom the initiative supporters have turned to because they don’t have the support of the Democratic-controlled legislature-cannot do this on their own.”

The more people know this the more likely it is to die a final death. “You can vote for it but all you’ll be doing is costing the state a lot in legal fees while it gets challenged all the way up to the supreme court!” is a pretty good argument against voting for it.

NYT: Hey Arnold, Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Today the New York Times weighs in with an editorial about the right-wing Electoral College power grab, and in fairly bold language excoriates it.

The Electoral College should be abolished, but there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. A prominent Republican lawyer in California is doing it the wrong way, promoting a sneaky initiative that, in the name of Electoral College reform, would rig elections in a way that would make it difficult for a Democrat to be elected president, no matter how the popular vote comes out. If the initiative passes, it would do serious damage to American democracy.

The editorial goes on to explain the damage this initiative would cause, rightly calling it a Republican power grab and explaining how their goal is to fool the public into giving away the election in the name of “reform.”  Obviously written before the news of the competing ballot initiative came to light, there’s a perfunctory paragraph approving of the idea of the National Popular Vote.  But the concluding paragraph calls out the Governor to show his true colors on this issue:

Leading Republicans, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been silent about the initiative to split California’s electoral votes, but they should be speaking out against it. The fight isn’t about Republicans vs. Democrats. It is about whether to twist the nation’s system of electing presidents to give one party an unfair advantage. No principled elected official, or voter, of either party should support that.

Most Republican politicians aren’t principled, but Arnold at least fashions himself to be.  He should be asked about this at every opportunity until he gives a satisfactory answer.

A Competing Initiative With The Right-Wing Electoral College Power Grab

A lot going on for a Tuesday in August.  Dan Morain at the LAT has the latest story:

Democrats proposed an initiative today aimed at having California embrace the movement to elect presidents by popular vote.

The initiative also is designed to head off a Republican effort to wrest away California’s electoral votes. Republican consultants are proposing a separate initiative to change California’s winner-take-all system of awarding its 55 electoral votes. Under the Republican measure, electoral votes would be awarded based on how congressional districts vote, an idea that could benefit the Republican nominee.

If the competing Democratic and Republican measures make it to the ballot next June, California would become a battleground over the electoral college system. The state has 55 electoral votes, more than any other state, and more than 10% of the 538 electoral votes nationally.

Chris Lehane announced the competing initiative at a press conference today.  And the initiative has been filed with the Attorney General.

I should add that there was another poll out today on this issue, by Rasmussen, which showed that the right-wing Electoral College power grab fails badly once people are given information about it’s implications, but that polling on a national popular vote concept is pretty favorable.  Numbers on the flip:

The proposal being pitched in California would award one Electoral Vote to the winner of each Congressional District along with two Electoral Votes for the statewide winner. In a theoretical sense, 45% of voters nationwide think that’s a good idea. Thirty percent (30%) disagree while 25% are not sure. However, even that tepid level of support dissipates when voters learn that a change in California could significantly increase the number of Republican Electoral Votes. Once that is factored into the equation, support drops to 31% and opposition increases to 43%.

It’s interesting to note that Republican support for the measure barely increases when told of the potential benefit to their own party. That may be due to a sense of fairness or a nagging realization that the same thing could happen in other states where the GOP would lose votes. Forty-five percent (45%) favor the concept in theory and 48% favor it after learning how it would impact the results in California. Among Democrats and unaffiliated voters, support plunges dramatically once the electoral implications of a change in California are explained.
Overall, 54% of voters would like to get rid of the Electoral College and have the winner of the popular vote become President. Thirty percent (30%) disagree. Democrats strongly support this approach while Republicans are evenly divided. Women are more enthusiastic about it than men.

I’ve been advocating for the National Popular Vote plan for some time.  If the Electoral College were enacted after the 14th Amendment, it would be found unconstitutional.  Every election in our system is majority-rule except for the one for the highest office in the land.  Californians are disenfranchised every year as they watch small states like Wyoming get an outsized portion of the electoral vote.

The GOP spin was predictable:

Kevin Eckery, spokesman for the GOP measure, said the Democratic-backed measure would leave Californians with little or no voice in national politics.

“If you ignore the congressional districts, there would be one big overwhelming national vote,” Eckery said. “What matters in L.A. or what matters in Santa Monica, won’t matter. It will be just one vote thrown into the mix.”

Um, what’s wrong with one big overwhelming national vote for a national office?  And did what matters in Santa Monica and LA matter in 2004?  2000?  1988?  That’s a ridiculous argument.

This is getting very, very interesting.

Lift the Shroud of Secrecy from Electronic Voting Systems

(Welcome Assemblyman! As per our policy of bumping diaries from electeds, up this goes. This issue is particularly important given SoS Bowen’s recent revelations. I hope we can get this bill to Arnold, and get him to sign it. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

On November 4, 2008, millions of Californians will go to their polling places to cast their votes using electronic voting machines.  By the end of that evening, we will know who will take office as our next President.  What we will not know that night – what we may never know with certainty – is whether our votes were in fact properly counted by those electronic voting machines.

More after the jump…

After the debacle of the election of 2000 focused the nation's attention on “hanging chads” in Florida, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, which encouraged the wide use of electronic voting machines.  Since then, corporate vendors of these machines, such as Diebold, have actively promoted them throughout the country.  Many county registrars are investing heavily in this new technology in an effort to streamline the voting process, and to provide greater opportunity for some disabled citizens to vote independently.

Despite their effusive claims of security and accuracy, however, Diebold and most other manufacturers keep the actual workings of these machines a closely held secret.  Although the public has an absolute right to observe every aspect of the process of counting paper ballots, the public is completely deprived of that right with regard to electronic voting. 

That is why I've authored AB 852, the Secure, Accurate and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act of 2007.  Simply stated, the SAFE Act would require public disclosure of the computer source code that runs our state's voting machines.  If a manufacturer refuses to disclose a voting system's source code for public scrutiny, that system would not be certified for use in California elections – period.  This important reform will ensure that voting rights advocates, computer scientists, the media, and any member of the public with an interest in technology and democracy, could analyze the source code and identify any potential errors or security risks. 

The risks presented by the current certification process are not hypothetical.  Secretary of State Debra Bowen has completed a laudable “top-to-bottom” review of voting systems in California, and that review has produced troubling results resulting in the decertification of several of California's voting systems.  For example, the review found that some voting machines in Los Angeles County contained software that was different than the software that the manufacturer had delivered to the Secretary of State for review and analysis.  More importantly, every voting system has proven susceptible to attacks that would disable or fundamentally alter the software on the system.  Voting system vendors have no incentive to fix errors in their code as long as the law favors their business interests over our public interest in a secure democratic process.  SAFE will correct this deficiency in our democratic process.

President Kennedy once observed that “the very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.  We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.”  Certainly any secrecy concerning the manner in which our votes are counted should be repugnant to us all.  The operation of our voting systems must be open and accessible to scrutiny so that the veracity of these essential implements of our democracy is always beyond reproach. 


If we don't act now, the cost could be democracy itself!  Now is the time to tell your elected officials that there has never been a better time to implement fundamental reforms to our election process.  Call, write, or email your State and Local officials and tell them to support AB 852, the SAFE Act, and take back our democracy from the voting system vendors!


To find your State Representatives, click here.


To email Secretary of State Debra Bowen, click here.


To find the election official for your county, click here.


For more info on AB 852, see: http://www.leginfo.c…