Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Senator Yee agrees to take Smart Initiatives proposal "under advisement"

A staffer in the office of California State Senator Leland Yee, author of SB 397, which, since September 19, 2012, allows eligible Californians to register to vote online, today responded to my suggestion that the right of online signing be extended to initiative and other official petitions, thereby implementing what I call "Smart Initiatives."

In an e-mail entitled "Online Petition," the staffer wrote:

"We have not determined what our bill package will look like next year. Your requested proposal will be taken under advisement."

I replied with an e-mail of my own:

"Thanks for your note, and for taking my proposal for 'Smart Initiatives' under advisement.

"There would be many advantages to a system that allows Californians to sign initiative, referendum, recall, and in lieu petitions online, many of them similar to those of the system for allowing them to register to vote online that was implemented by Senator Yee’s SB 397.  These include ease of use for signers and reduced cost and effort for state and county election officials.

"You can read a short defense of Smart Initiatives that I wrote in 2000 at:


"You can read a lot more about Smart Initiatives at:


"Please feel free to contact me as you proceed to consider Smart Initiatives as part of next year’s bill package.  I’d be glad to discuss its advantages and how it might be implemented with you at your convenience.

"Now that the Secretary of State has implemented a system for transferring official voter signatures from DMV records to electronic versions of the voter registration form, most of the technical work needed to create Smart Initiatives has already been done.  Modifying this system to allow the use of these digitized signatures on initiative and other official petition forms would likely not even require as much work or expense as was already needed to develop and deploy  the new online voter registration system.

"Thanks again for your consideration of this important electoral reform proposal."


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