Thursday, May 22, 2014

Jeff Drobman for California Secretary of State!

On June 3d, Californians will vote in the state’s Primaries. Among the many offices and issues will be the vote for Secretary of State (SOS). If one of the half dozen candidates receives over 50% of the vote, he (no women in that contest) will likely take the office in the November 4th general election. But if no hopeful gets over half the vote, then the top two contestants will compete for the spot in the general election.

One of the SOS’s primary responsibilities is to supervise the state’s election process. This state has numerous election related problems. There are more than 8 million Californians who are eligible to vote but not registered. The state ranks 47th in the US for voter turnout. For example, about $19M was spent in a highly contested election for the mayor of Los Angeles in 2013, but a paltry 21% of registered voters turned out to vote.  

Boosting Turnout
All the current SOS candidates agree that both turnout and registration are too low. They all agree that California’s efforts to have all registration done online is a positive step. But they differ over ways to boost turnout. Have a Voting Holiday? Hold the election on a weekend with polls open on Saturday and Sunday? Start early voting at polls a week before Election Day? Let people register and vote at the polls on Election Day? Have polling places open for 24 hours?

Duh! If we can bank online, shop online, guide the flight of satellites a million miles in outer space, why can’t we vote online? If voting had 21st Century convenience, doesn’t it stand to reason that more people would vote? The trek to the polling place can be time consuming, with traffic and finding parking, only to wait in line to vote, and then take the return trek home. What about all those folks who have to rely on public transportation? Should they have to give up work just to wait all day for busses, and then stand in line to vote?

Costs of Election Administration
In every election more and more voters are voting by mail, because they appreciate the convenience. But the administrative expenses for the state are huge. Paper, printing, extra clerks to count it, ballot storage. Add these expenses to the costs of renting and staffing polling places, and the various electronic machines that have to be maintained and securely stored when not in use. According to a report by the experts at CalTech, such administrative costs for California in a presidential election can easily exceed $300M.  

Ms. Bowen’s Flop
Unfortunately, termed out Secretary of State Debra Bowen did nothing, zip, to improve the state’s embarrassing level of voter participation, or to make voting more convenient, or less costly. Bowen was captured by anti-Internet voting extremists, and frightened by them into supporting the silly notion that every vote should have a paper record, or Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail. She needed this Paper Security Blanket to feel comfy. But in reality, all the problems of boxes and boxes of paper continue - even though SOS Bowen’s self-deception made her feel good. Besides the aforesaid costs, paper ballots in big piles can get lost, selectively discarded, misplaced, or miscounted by blurry-eyed clerks working late. Fake records can be slipped into the piles.

But with the right precautions, such as using military style encryption and dedicated servers, Internet voting can be phased in by each county using it only when its voters are ready for it. At first it can be used to supplement vote by mail, and polling place voting. That is what scores of cities in Canada are doing. This year, 89 cities in Ontario will employ online voting along with voting by phone, and paper ballots at a few polling places. Debra Bowen was so snug in her Paper Security Blanket, that she, like Dean Logan, Registrar of Voters in Los Angeles, could just pretend the Canadian experience doesn’t exist. Such intentional ignorance by an elected official is unacceptable.

A Sampling from the Field of Candidates
Alex Padilla
I’m not voting for Alex Padilla. He, like Bowen and Dean Logan, is misinformed about, and thus afraid of, online voting.  For example, when asked about online voting, he told Fox News, “We don’t want to live in a world where people know how you voted.” But, in truth, voter privacy has never been violated in an online election for public office!

Also, I agree with an LA Times editorial which warned that “Padilla sees the job merely as a steppingstone to higher office.”

David Curtis
Although I’m a registered, card carrying Green Party member, I’m not voting for David Curtis. He is too wishy-washy. And tries to be all things to all people.

For example, when I asked him, he told me, “I am in favor of an online voting option for people who are comfortable doing that. The state could issue PINs to voters.”  

I happily put that out on Facebook and Twitter. But then, when the criticism came, he flip-flopped, and wrote on his blog, “I have no position on online voting.”

Anyone who caves so easily has no leadership in him!

Pete Peterson
The LA Times Editorial Department has endorsed a Republican for the office, Pete Peterson. What?! The Party of Voter Suppression, Voter IDs, restrictive ballot access laws, Karl Rove and the Koch brothers? Oh yeah, lets put the Party of the Fox in charge of the Hen House! What were they thinking? I’m definitely not voting for him.

Jeff Drobman
I’m voting for Jeff Drobman in the June 3d Primary, and here’s why:
Jeff is the only candidate with vision and courage.

A Software Engineer with a Ph.D. from UCLA, Drobman understands the online voting security issues. He knows that it’s been done over 100 times around the world without security breaches, and he knows that it can be done in California, too.

Drobman told The Daily News that his top priority will be to bring online voting to the state. “I have been working on this for 10 years, and it became apparent to me the only way to change things is to run for secretary of state,” Drobman said. “My attitude is we need an engineer and a software developer who can bring this about.” 

The SOS office is a “Bully Pulpit,” as Teddy Roosevelt used to say of the presidency. Drobman is the only candidate to show that he has the guts to get out in front of a needed voting reform and lead. In SOS Candidate Forums, Jeff pulls out his cell phone and challenges the other candidates to say why Californians can’t vote on this. Needless to say, they are all too busy texting or checking the shine on their shoes to answer.


To learn more about Jeff Drobman, check his really cool slide show at,

He is on Facebook at,

Ballotpedia at,

Best of all, he cites this Blog at,

William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Political Scientist, author, speaker,
CEO for The Internet Voting Research and Education Fund
Twitter: wjkno1

Author of Internet Voting Now! 
Kindle edition:


Post Election Update   6-7-14
Jeffrey H. Drobman     150,624  4.5%
David Curtis                98,199   2.9%

Top Two:
Alex Padilla (DEM)          1,005,865     30.0%
Pete Peterson (REPUB)   1,003,686     29.9%

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