counting ballots, which happened in Florida in 2000.
A second important reform would be to preclude the Secretary of State and candidates for the office from accepting campaign contributions from voting equipment manufacturers and vendors whose systems he or she is charged with certifying for use in California. The 2002 passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) created a new political player in the electronic voting machine manufacturers who are vying to get their voting systems installed in polling places throughout the country. Since the enactment of HAVA, the four major electronic voting machine manufacturers have given more than $652,000 to candidates running for office, including Secretary of State candidates in four states.
Simply eliminating the party label next to the Secretary of States name wont prevent him or her from getting involved in campaigns in a way that leads voters to question the Secretarys impartiality. Thats because it doesnt reduce or eliminate the inherent conflict of interest between the Secretarys responsibility to ensure elections are conducted in a fair and nonpartisan manner, and partisan activities, such as supporting a candidate whose very election the Secretary of State will certify.
To minimize that conflict and instill confidence in voters that the Secretary is focused solely on the integrity of the electoral process, we need reforms that will change the very nature of how a Secretary of State is allowed to operate while in office. That means doing more than the political equivalent of putting a