Sonora, CA — Candidates hoping to be the next Secretary of State brought their message to Twain Harte.
Three candidates hoping to be the next Secretary of State, California’s top elections official, spoke at Eproson Park. On hand were State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco, Senator Alex Padilla of Los Angeles and former VP of State Operations for the group Common Cause, Derek Cressman.
Yee spoke about authoring a bill two years ago that paved the way for online voter registration. “In counties like here, you find that it is quite a distance between one’s home and city hall,” says Yee. He touted that the legislation played a part in registering 800,000 new voters. Yee has also recently introduced a bill requiring county election officials to open a polling place on a Saturday leading up to Election Day. He says it’s also important for the Secretary of State to work with schools and organizations to teach the importance of civic participation to the younger generation.
Senator Alex Padilla says he is in the process of visiting all of California’s 58 counties and meeting with local election officials. Yesterday he was in Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties, and today he is visiting Calaveras and Amador Counties. “Each community is different, and I want to speak with registrars directly about what’s working and what’s not working,” he said. Padilla noted that technology can play an important role in educating voters. He also feels the day is coming soon when voters will be able to track whether their absentee ballot was received and accounted for on Election Day.
Derek Cressman says he has been a leader in the fight for fair elections, expanded democracy, and more transparent government. He is disappointed that a new census report shows California ranks 48th when it comes to voter participation. “One thing I’d like to do is take the 147 page voter’s guide that comes in the mail and turn it into an online app that you can get on your smart phone or tablet,” he says. “In addition to giving candidates the 200 word statements, let’s give them all a couple of 60 second videos so that they can make their case to voters in a more interesting and interactive way.”
The three spoke at a dinner put on by Tuolumne County Democrats. Around 140 people were on hand. Padilla and Yee are the two current frontrunners for Secretary of State when it comes to fundraising. They are hoping to fill the seat of Debra Bowen, who is not seeking re-election due to term limits.