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Guest Contributors
Jeff Denham and Bruce McPherson

Restoring Integrity into the Elections Process
Bottled up in committee...

[Jeff Denham and Bruce McPherson] 3/10/06

Scandals, secrets and lies lead the headlines far too often for state and federal politicians. Yet, not all elected officials are “crooked politicians.” So, why is the public trust in government and our elected officials so low?

Too many times unscrupulous individuals make deals for their own political gain. If the public can’t trust the official entrusted to ensuring our election system is fair, who can they trust?

As elected officials, we take seriously the jobs we have been given to represent the people throughout the State of California. One way we can do that is to make the office of Secretary of State, the individual entrusted with our elections process, a non-partisan position. It shouldn’t matter whether this person is Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green or any other party affiliate. What matters is that this person leads and oversees an unbiased election system.

Despite a small spike in recent voter registration, nearly 30% of California’s eligible voters are not registered to vote. Nearly 6 million potential voters have not signed up for their protected right to express their opinion and vote for their future representatives, those elected individuals who will be setting policy and impacting their daily livelihoods.

Together, we are speaking out and garnering support to restore integrity to the elections process. We believe our proposed Senate Constitutional Amendment 4 is the right thing to do for California. This amendment will propose to the people of California that the office of Secretary of State be non-partisan, because the individual who holds this position must be trustworthy and above the political fray. By removing party politics, integrity can be restored and voter confidence will be increased.

We are focused on restoring the integrity that should be a hallmark of the Office of the Secretary of State in California. Modern-day Secretaries of State such as Bill Jones (1995-2003) and March Fong Eu (1975-1994), as well as historic figures such as the longest-serving Secretary of State, Frank Jordan (1911-1940), were all recognized and appreciated for their honest stewardship. We believe that not only electing honest individuals, but also eliminating any appearance of institutional partisanship, will help in this regard.

The precedent for this amendment has already been established. The Superintendent of Public Instruction is a non-partisan position. We believe that both education and elections should be politically neutral because they are so critical to the oversight and administration of state functions. In fact, many newspapers have already spoken out in support on this issue including: Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, Modesto Bee and Merced Sun-Star.

SCA 4 is currently bottled-up in the state Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendment Committee. We encourage you to write and call your elected state officials to show your support of SCA 4. Together, we can restore faith and integrity into our elections process. CRO

Jeff Denham is a California State Senator (R-Merced) and Bruce McPherson is California Secretary of State





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