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Debra Bowen wins ‘Profile in Courage’ award

bowen.gifCalifornia Secretary of State Debra Bowen is among this year’s recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, cited for her imposition of strict new controls on electronic voting despite the political fallout. John F. Kennedy Library Foundation president Caroline Kennedy and U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., will present Bowen with the award at a May 12 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner received the same award for similar work to ensure the integrity of her state’s vote, while a special lifetime achievement award goes to former Mississippi Gov. William Winter for leadership in championing racial equality and educational opportunity.

“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,” Caroline Kennedy said in a news release. “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.”

Per the release:

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.

The JFK Profile in Courage Award goes to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. It’s named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, recounting the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers — incurring constituents’ or powerful interest groups’ wrath — by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the award in 1989.

More on the award, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Under: Debra Bowen, Edward Kennedy, Elections | 1 Comment »

California’s final pledged delegate count…

…based on the Feb. 5 presidential primary results just certified Saturday by Secretary of State Debra Bowen is 204 for Hillary Clinton, 166 for Barack Obama. That’s based on the final certified results by congressional district; if you want to see ’em by county, that’s here.

Hey, I was close!

California’s final results are part of how Obama widened his lead over this weekend. For the total, national delegate count, I find CNN‘s interface easiest to follow — they have it at 1,618 (1,411 pledged, 207 superdelegates) for Obama and 1,479 (1,242 pledged, 237 superdelegates) for Clinton. The Associated Press has it slighly different, at 1,617 to 1,498; that’s well presented by the Washington Post.

Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Debra Bowen, Elections, Hillary Clinton | No Comments »

Obama leads statewide student mock vote

Preliminary results of the 2008 MyVote California student mock election — involving more than 240,000 students from 450 middle and high schools across the state — show Barack Obama and John McCain are the picks of the next generation of voters.

Launched in November by Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, MyVote California is a hands-on civic engagement project for high school students that culminated in the statewide mock election, held this week.

bowen.gif“The MyVote mock election wasn’t just about taking the political pulse of California students; it was about engaging them in our democracy,” Bowen said in a news release. “I wanted to see how students would feel about issues that would directly affect their lives and their wallets, which is why MyVote included three simulated ballot initiatives dealing with issues that legislators are actually grappling with today.”

Students received one ballot that listed all 48 of the candidates certified for this election; the students then chose only one candidate. Students had the option of voting for a candidate in any of the state’s six recognized political parties, and apparently tilted heavily toward the Democratic side.

Barack Obama got 35.1 percent of the total presidential vote (27,845 votes, which is 55.6 percent of those who voted Democratic); Hillary Clinton got 22.5 percent of the total (17,813, or 35.6 percent of Democratic voters); and John Edwards got 3.7 percent of the total (2,945, or 5.9 percent of the Democratic voters).

John McCain got 4.8 percent of the total vote (3,773 votes, or 29.9 percent of those voting Republican); Mike Huckabee got 3.6 percent of the total (2,822 votes, or 20.1 percent of the Republican voters); and Rudy Giuliani got 3.0 percent of the total (2,345 votes, or 15.2 percent of the Republican voters).

The first ballot measure asked, “Should the registration fee that every car or truck owner is required to pay each year be based, in part, on the amount of pollution the vehicle emits?” The results: 45 percent (28,341) said yes, while 55 percent (34,665) said no.

The second ballot measure asked, “Should every eligible citizen be required to vote?” The results: 40.4 percent (25,232) said yes, while 59.6 percent (37,204) said no.

And the third ballot measure asked, “Should people who use e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging and the social networks to bully or harass others be allowed to do so as part of their constitutionally protected right to free speech?” The results: 41.4 percent (26,474) said yes, while 58.6 percent (37,529) said no.

“Some California high school seniors will cast their first ballots next week and many more students will become voters by the November general election,” Bowen said. “The MyVote mock election gives the next generation of California voters hands-on exposure to our democracy, and I hope they’re inspired to make voting the habit of a lifetime.’’

These preliminary results are based on returns from 280 of the 450 schools participating in MyVote. Complete Mock Election results are available on the Secretary of State’s MyVote California Web site, and will be updated as schools report their results.

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Debra Bowen, Elections, General, Hillary Clinton, Jack O'Connell, John Edwards, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani | 1 Comment »

Vote early, but not often.

In fact, don’t even think about it. This just in from Secretary of State Debra Bowen‘s office:

SACRAMENTO – A Weed man was charged today with one felony count accusing him of casting two ballots in the November 2005 Special Statewide Election following an investigation by Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s fraud unit. The voter allegedly cast one ballot by mail a week before that election and voted a second time at the polls on Election Day.

After conducting her official canvass for the special election, Siskiyou County Clerk Colleen Setzer noticed the apparent double voting and alerted the Secretary of State’s office. An investigation by the Secretary’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit concluded that Dennis Roy Roberts had indeed voted by mail and also at the polls. A forensic handwriting expert confirmed the signatures on the ballot and precinct documents both belong to Roberts.

The November 2005 special election ballot contained eight statewide initiatives. Also on the ballot in Siskiyou County was a Measure A, a local bond benefiting the Siskiyou Joint Community College District, which voters approved. Roberts is Athletic Director at College of the Siskiyous.

“The Presidential Primary Election is a week away and the message here is if you vote more than once in California, you will be caught,” said Secretary Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer. “Voter fraud is not acceptable, and I applaud Colleen Setzer and her staff for their vigilance in helping keep California elections clean.”

Siskiyou County District Attorney J. Kirk Andrus charged Roberts with one count of Elections Code Section 18560(b), voting more than once. It is punishable by up to three years in prison.

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
Under: Debra Bowen, Elections | No Comments »

A whole lot of swearing goin’ on…

So Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been sworn in for a second term, but other state constitutional officers have yet to take their oaths. Here’s the when and where for them:

  • Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi: 2 p.m. Sunday in the State Capitol’s Senate Chamber in Sacramento. The oath will be administered by California Chief Justice Ronald George; a reception line will follow in the Capitol Rotunda.
  • Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner: 11 a.m. Monday at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. The oath will be administered by former state Senator and current San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp. Former state Senator Jim Brulte and former Congressman Tom Campbell will also take part, as will former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery and Santa Clara University President the Rev. Paul Locatelli; a post-inaugural lunch will feature comedian Kevin Pollak, a Bay Area native and veteran movie actor.
  • Treasurer Bill Lockyer: 11 a.m. Monday at the Jesse Unruh State Office Building near the State Capitol in Sacramento. Keynoting will be futurist and business strategist Peter Schwartz.
  • Secretary of State Debra Bowen: 2 p.m. Monday in the Secretary of State’s auditorium in Sacramento. This one will be Webcast live at
  • Attorney General Jerry Brown: 3:30 p.m. Monday at San Francisco City Hall. The oath will be administered by his niece, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kelly. Brown watched his father, Edmund “Pat” Brown, sworn in at the same place 63 years ago as San Francisco’s District Attorney.
  • Controller John Chiang: 5:30 p.m. Monday at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
  • Posted on Saturday, January 6th, 2007
    Under: Bill Lockyer, Debra Bowen, General, Jerry Brown, John Chiang, John Garamendi, Sacramento, Steve Poizner | No Comments »