Part of the Bay Area News Group

Bowen wins JFK award

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 at 2:21 pm in Election reform.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award for her work on improving the integrity of voting machines.

Here’s the press release:

Boston MA – Two public officials who challenged the reliability of electronic voting systems in a bid to ensure the integrity of the vote in their states have been named this year’s recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage AwardTM, it was announced today by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Debra Bowen, Secretary of State of California, and Jennifer Brunner, Secretary of State of Ohio, will be presented the prestigious award for political courage by Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward M. Kennedy at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Monday, May 12.

A special Profile in Courage Award for Lifetime Achievement will be presented to former Mississippi Governor William Winter for his leadership in championing racial equality and educational opportunity in Mississippi.

“As we prepare to cast our ballots for the next President of the United States, our confidence in the integrity and reliability of the voting process has never been more important,” said Caroline Kennedy, President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “Secretaries of State Debra Bowen and Jennifer Brunner have each demonstrated exceptional leadership in working to ensure that voting systems provide a full and accurate count of the vote. Our democracy depends on voter trust. Debra Bowen and Jennifer Brunner’s efforts to earn that trust have made them true profiles in courage.

“Governor William Winter gives testimony to President Kennedy’s belief that politics can truly be a noble profession,” Kennedy continued. “His lifetime of public service, both to his country and his beloved state of Mississippi, has been distinguished by its devotion to equality and justice. We are proud to honor him with a Profile in Courage Award for lifetime achievement.”

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers, incurring the wrath of constituents or powerful interest groups, by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the Profile in Courage AwardTM in 1989 to honor President Kennedy’s commitment and contribution to public service. It is presented in May in celebration of President Kennedy’s May 29th birthday. The Profile in Courage Award is represented by a sterling-silver lantern symbolizing a beacon of hope. The lantern was designed by Edwin Schlossberg and crafted by Tiffany & Co.

Debra Bowen

Secretary of State, California

After a $450 million investment by California counties in electronic voting systems aimed at modernizing elections, newly elected Secretary of State Debra Bowen ordered an independent review of the new voting technologies to ensure they adequately protected the integrity of the vote. When the study revealed troubling flaws in the systems, Bowen strictly limited the use of direct-recording electronic voting machines, and imposed significant security and auditing requirements on systems to be used in California’s February 5 presidential primary election. Bowen’s decision was met with resistance by voting system vendors and many county elections officials.

Jennifer Brunner

Secretary of State, Ohio

A series of voting irregularities in several major Ohio counties that use electronic voting systems led newly elected Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to order that paper ballots be provided to any voter who requested one during the state’s March 2008 presidential primary. Furthermore, Brunner called for the replacement of all of the state’s electronic voting systems – used in 53 of Ohio’s 88 counties – with paper ballots and optical scan technology before the November 2008 presidential election. Critics have objected to the cost and questioned the necessity of Brunner’s proposals.

William Winter

Former Governor, Mississippi
As Governor of Mississippi in the early 1980′s, Winter called the state legislature into special session to pass a landmark education reform proposal aimed at bringing uniform quality and racial tolerance to public education in Mississippi. Winter’s Education Reform Act of 1982 was among the most radical pieces of legislation of its kind ever passed. In 1984, Winter ran unsuccessfully for Senate. He served on President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race from 1997 to 1998; more recently, he has been active in Gulf Coast recovery efforts following the coastal devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

Past recipients of the Profile in Courage Award include former President Gerald Ford; U.S. Representative John Murtha; former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora; the Peacemakers of Northern Ireland who negotiated the historic Good Friday Peace Agreement; Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko; U.S. Senators John McCain and Russell Feingold; Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin; former Governors Roy Barnes (GA) and David Beasley (SC); and former U.S. Congressman Carl Elliott, Sr. of Alabama. For more information about the Profile in Courage Award and all the past recipients, visit www.jfklibrary.org.

Bowen, Brunner and Winter were chosen as the recipients of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s prestigious award for political courage by a distinguished bipartisan committee of national, political, and community leaders. Al Hunt, Washington managing editor of Bloomberg News, chairs the 14-member Profile in Courage Award Committee. Committee members are Michael Beschloss, author and presidential historian; David Burke, former president of CBS News; U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi); Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund; Antonia Hernandez, president and chief executive officer of the California Community Foundation; Elaine Jones, former director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Caroline Kennedy, president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts); Paul G. Kirk, Jr., chairman of the board of directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; Shari Redstone, President, National Amusements, Inc; John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University; U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine); and Patricia M. Wald, former judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. John Shattuck, chief executive officer of the Kennedy Library Foundation, staffs the Committee. Mr. Shattuck is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and a former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service. For more information about the Profile in Courage Award and the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, visit www.jfklibrary.org.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • RR

    MS Bowen is courageous, jeopardizing her career by acting boldly regardless of hostile public opinion? Cut me a break!

  • RR

    MS Bowen is courageous, jeopardizing her career by acting boldly regardless of hostile public opinion? Cut me a break!

  • Teresa Blakely

    I am grateful to both Bowen and Brunner for their willingness to do the right thing by investigating and openly challenging the continued use of unaudited electronic voting machines.
    Countless credible research studies have demonstrated that electronic voting machines are fundamentally and irretrievably flawed. In the absence of meaningful federal oversight these brave state election officials challenged the bad old boy network of dishonest voting machine vendors and complicit Boards of Elections. Hopefully the California media outlets will support Bowen’s efforts and publicize the dangers posed to our democracy by unaudited electronic voting machines. In Columbus Ohio the Editorial Board of our only major newspaper, the Republican owned Columbus Dispatch advocates a position representative of the voting machine industry. The Dispatch Editorial Board has abandoned any pretense of civic duty or journalistic integrity by consistently downplaying the security risks posed by electronic voting machines. I would like to nominate the Columbus Dispatch for a Cowardice in Journalism award for its unpatriotic attacks on Jennifer Brunner as she attempts to secure the integrity of our vote.

    Teresa Blakely

  • Teresa Blakely

    I am grateful to both Bowen and Brunner for their willingness to do the right thing by investigating and openly challenging the continued use of unaudited electronic voting machines.
    Countless credible research studies have demonstrated that electronic voting machines are fundamentally and irretrievably flawed. In the absence of meaningful federal oversight these brave state election officials challenged the bad old boy network of dishonest voting machine vendors and complicit Boards of Elections. Hopefully the California media outlets will support Bowen’s efforts and publicize the dangers posed to our democracy by unaudited electronic voting machines. In Columbus Ohio the Editorial Board of our only major newspaper, the Republican owned Columbus Dispatch advocates a position representative of the voting machine industry. The Dispatch Editorial Board has abandoned any pretense of civic duty or journalistic integrity by consistently downplaying the security risks posed by electronic voting machines. I would like to nominate the Columbus Dispatch for a Cowardice in Journalism award for its unpatriotic attacks on Jennifer Brunner as she attempts to secure the integrity of our vote.

    Teresa Blakely

  • RR

    There are lots of ways to cheat in an election count. Electronic voting machines are not inherently flawed; some election officials are character-flawed. Old-fashioned polling fraud is inspired by the political climate of the place, not the technology.

  • RR

    There are lots of ways to cheat in an election count. Electronic voting machines are not inherently flawed; some election officials are character-flawed. Old-fashioned polling fraud is inspired by the political climate of the place, not the technology.