Responding to an inquiry from Etopia News, Republican candidate for California Secretary of State Pete Peterson today issued the following statement:
“To give a somewhat fuller answer to you, upon election I will form an e-signature working group to explore the security and feasibility (i.e., ability to match signatures with voter rolls) of implementing an e-signature system for ballot initiatives. Some of this, no doubt, will be contingent on the implementation (after too many years!) of implementing VoteCal – the statewide voter database. The latest on this, is that the vendor (the same one that is behind the failed HealthCare.gov rollout) will have this ready by 2015...
“We will see.”
The Coalition for an E-Initiative, which is leading the campaign to introduce Smart Initiatives/e-signatures/online signature gathering in California, has called for using the same basic technology currently being employed by the incumbent Secretary of State Debra Bowen to allow eligible California citizens to register online to vote right now, by transferring their digitized signatures from the DMV database into the online voter registration system, even before the inauguration of the long-awaited VoteCal database.
Individual counties already have complete and presumably up-to-date voter registration lists/databases, so signatures collected online could be checked for validity against these county lists, without requiring the completion of the long-delayed statewide VoteCal system.
“Having a perfected statewide voter database will certainly make validating online-gathered signatures easier, but waiting for it to be ready isn’t necessary when there are complete lists of registered voters available for verification of a voter’s status at the county level,” according to Marc Strassman, Executive Director of the Coalition for an E-Initiative. “Still, it’s gratifying to hear that Secretary of State candidate Pete Peterson is open the idea of looking into the possibility of implementing Smart Initiatives/e-signatures/online signature-gathering in California in or after 2015.”
(Full disclosure: this article was written by the aforementioned Marc Strassman, who, in addition to being the Executive Director of the Coalition for an E-Initiative, is also a reporter for Etopia News.)