Thursday, May 19, 2016

Liddell, Silva, and Hougo organize to put democracy on a sounder technological footing

In the 1990s, as the Internet was first emerging as a powerful tool, I proposed using it to democratize politics by letting ordinary citizens use it to register to vote, sign initiative, referendum, recall, and in lieu petitions, and vote, all online.  You can access a voluminous record of my efforts in this regard here.

Flash forward 20 years to 2016, and It’s now legal to register to vote online in California.  Just go here, provide some of your private information (driver’s licence number, date of birth, last four digits of your Social Security number), and the DMV will transfer a copy of your digitized signature from its records to the Secretary of State’s office and voter database and you’ll be registered to vote in California.

Now, with the Internet infinitely more central to our economy and society than it was in the 1990s, campaigns are emerging in California to expand the range of political acts that can be transacted online beyond mere voter registration to encompass online signature-gathering on official initiative, referendum, and recall petitions and, in the case of Von Hougo’s campaign for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer, to provide registered voters with a direct digital means of determining their new U.S. Senator's votes on bills before the United States Senate.

Mike Liddell, a chiropractor from Placerville, and his collaborator Gabriel Silva, have organized a campaign for CIRRRA, the “California Initiative, Referendum and Recall Reform Act of 2016,” which would allow registered California voters, including those who’ve already used the Internet to register online to vote, to use the Internet to add their official signature to official documents qualifying initiatives, referendums, and recalls for subsequent electoral ballots.

You can find out more about the CIRRRA campaign here.

You can learn more about the efforts of Hougo, a science teacher at Arroyo Seco Junior High in Santa Clarita, to get elected to the U.S. Senate on a platform centered on his pledge to vote on bills according to the will of ordinary voters as expressed through a secure and easily-accessible web portal, using their desktop, laptop, and smartphone computers and the Internet, here.  Hougo calls this “Democracy 2.0.”

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