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P.O. Box 2192, Redondo Beach, CA 90278
March 2005


Next Meeting

Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 PM
David K. Hayward Center
2000 Artesia Boulevard
Redondo Beach

We’re working on a post-election program. Come and thank our wonderful candidates and volunteers; check the web for speaker updates.

Mike Gordon

The planned Open House for our wonderful newly elected Assemblyman Mike Gordon was postponed. As you have probably heard, Mike has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. We understand the prognosis is very good. He is a fighter and will win this latest battle. We look forward to having him back in Sacramento fighting for us. All our best wishes and prayers are with Mike. Send your cards to Mike’s office at 1700 East Walnut Ave., El Segundo, CA 90245.

Victorious
Jim Aldinger greets well-wishers in Manhattan Beach as the vote count returned him to office.


True Reform in the Secretary of State’s Office

BY SENATOR DEBRA BOWEN

There are few things more important in a democracy than the integrity of our electoral process.

That’s why it’s so important for California’s Secretary of State—the one person responsible for certifying election results for all state and federal offices in California, as well as all of the statewide ballot propositions—to conduct the duties of the office in a nonpartisan fashion.

The first step toward meeting that goal is to pass conflict of interest laws that prevent the Secretary of State from endorsing or campaigning for candidates whose electoral results he or she is responsible for certifying. The Secretary shouldn’t be co-chairing a presidential campaign and thanking donors for contributing to a particular candidate, which happened in Ohio in 2004, or chairing a presidential campaign while simultaneously ordering state elections boards to stop hand


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 State’s name won’t prevent him or her from getting involved in campaigns in a way that leads voters to question the Secretary’s impartiality. That’s because it doesn’t reduce or eliminate the inherent conflict of interest between the Secretary’s 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


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