Smart Voter
State of California June 2, 1998 Primary

Information Technology and Voter Participation

By Michela Alioto

Candidate for Secretary of State

This information is provided by the candidate
Michela Alioto sees vast potential for using modern information technology to increase voter participation and make voting more accessible. As Secretary of State, Michela Alioto will work to implement innovative technologies to increase voter registration and political participation.
Implement voter registration over the Internet. Michela Alioto feels that every eligible person should be able to register to vote at any time of day or night from a computer. Online registration will increase the participation of all voters, but especially young voters who have embraced technology as part of their lives.

Long the leader in political innovation, California is now behind some other states in online voter registration. Oregon and Florida, for example, have an online form that users fill out and e-mail to their Secretary of State’s office. The office then mails a completely filled-out voter registration card back to the user, who simply signs and mails it. In California, a registrant must download and print a file provided by the Federal Election Commission, fill out the form by hand, and then mail the card to the Secretary of State.

California needs to implement and promote an online voter registration project separate from the FEC site. Some technological challenges, such as the development "digital signatures," will need to be overcome.

Make more local election information available over the internet. Polling place locations, election dates, and a full list of ballot measures and candidates need to be available over the internet for every county in the state of California.

Presently, some private sites offer this service on a regional basis. Silicon Valley’s "Smart Voter" is a privately run site, and is a good example of the type of service that is needed statewide. A visitor to the site types in his or her street address and zip code, and a polling place, upcoming election dates, candidate information, and ballot measure information are returned.

As secretary of state, Michela Alioto will work to ensure that this type of service is available in every county in the state.

Conduct pilot programs for online voting. Michela Alioto sees a future in which people are able to vote online, and feels that if we are to prepare ourselves for the inevitabilities of the future, we must begin today.

Again, California is behind some other states in offering this service. Florida, for example, is conducting an online voting pilot program for the 1998 elections, which will enable absentee balloting over the internet. California, too, should begin work on a program that will allow online voting and that will ensure voter secrecy and electoral integrity.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 7, 1998 22:48
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