Posts Tagged with “politics”

Meeting the California Secretary of State

March 18th, 2010

Last week at an Open Source Digital Voting Foundation event I had the chance to meet Debra Bowen, the California Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is the elected official responsible for the integrity of the electoral process — making sure that our voting system is accurate and honest and counts every vote correctly.

After talking to Secretary Bowen I ended up quite happy that she was elected to this role. Secretary Bowen is deeply interested in transparency, openness, and privacy. She is also a strong advocate for using open source software as the basis for digital voting equipment. Not long after she was elected she commissioned an independent review of the reliability of voting equipment and the auditing process, and found some disturbing facts. She’s been active in trying to fix these to bring more accuracy and trustworthiness to our system.

It was really fun to meet an elected official who understands implicitly that software code can effect our lives in much the same way as legal codes can.

I also learned that one of the big surprises I had at my local polling place recently is due to Secretary Bowen. The average age of the people who donate their time to run the polls in California is — again according to Secretary Bowen — 77 years old. But last time I went to vote there was a young woman there. We talked to her a bit — she was a high school student. It turns out that Secretary Bowen has a program to encourage high school and college students to participate in making the voting process possible. It seems a giant step forward from how I grew up, which was simply taking the whole process for granted.

Election Day

November 4th, 2008

I have to confess that today working is sort of a background task; concentrating on anything other than the election is very hard. Not many people in the office yet today; I suspect that voting lines are causing this.

Voting By Mail

November 3rd, 2008

Last Monday I voted by mail, for the first time ever. I thought I would be traveling on election day so I voted by Absentee Ballot. I’ve voted this way before, but always before I’ve physically delivered the Absentee Ballot to a voting official by dropping it off at the voting office. This is the first time I’ve actually put my ballot in the mail. It was creepy. I didn’t like it. The idea that my vote now depends not only on the election mechanism but on the postal service as well is disconcerting. I probably put double the amount of postage necessary. I kept looking out my window to watch for the mail truck stopping at the mailbox. I at least wanted to see my vote get out of the mailbox; but somehow I missed it.

Next time I’m going to skip the mail.

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