We asked progressive icon and Speak Out California supporter State Senator Sheila Kuehl to share with us her thoughts on the races for statewide office this election year. The following is her typically thoughtful and articulate analysis of the priorities we progressives must express as we cast our ballots on the future of our state. With no other women on the statewide ticket, this is an opportunity to identify a new and rising star, but most importantly, to assure we protect the integrity of our democratic system, our vote. Here’s what Senator Kuehl had to say:
The most important election in the state this year is not the race for the Governor’s seat. It is the race for Secretary of State. State Senator Deborah Bowen, the only woman running in California for any statewide seat, is the Democratic nominee. The Republican is Bruce McPherson, who was appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger after the resignation of Kevin Shelley. As the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections have (hopefully) taught us, everything could be at stake, not only 2006 but, more importantly 2008, depending on the outcome of this race.
Deb is running a few points ahead and will win if she can raise the necessary monies. For more information about her campaign, Go now to her website at www.debrabowen.com or contact her at: Debra Bowen for Secretary of State, 578 Washington Blvd. #409, Marina del Rey 90292.
I have served in the Legislature with Deb, in both the Assembly and the Senate, for all the 12 years I have been there and there is no one smarter, more honest, more committed to public service and more attuned to the ways in which elections can be stolen, compromised or thwarted. She must be elected.
On the flip… some history on why this race is so critical in California:
Some background on planning
The circumstances of the investigation of Kevin Shelley’s sins leading to his resignation are interesting. The facts brought out about campaign contributions, use of funds and lack of anger management had been available and discussed for quite a time before the right wing radio shouters decided to go after him. Why? Before the election of Schwarzenegger, there would have been no gain. After the election, however, it became clear to election planners in Washington that a new chessboard existed. Bring up the old info about Shelley. Get him out of office. Get Arnold to appoint a likeable but easily-swayed guy to the job. Voila: Bruce McPherson.
Why is this important?
As we have seen in Florida and Ohio, the position of Secretary of State is key to the fairness of elections. Eveyone knows about Florida. And now Bobby Kennedy Jr. has documented the circumstances in Ohio that stole the election from John Kerry, as well as a number of huge discrepancies in the handling of elections in Texas and Georgia. (Rolling Stone 10/5/06: Was the 2004 Election Stolen?). In California, poll workers in the crucial Congressional special election in San Diego, took the machines home for a “sleepover” before the election. Since Congress helpfully provided money to install voting machines in every single one of America’s 180,000 voting precincts, with no requirement for paper confirmation, the stage is set for a complete meltdown of accuracy and dependability in American elections.
It’s the Machines, Stupid
Diebold machines, the easily hackable voting machines, have been certified for use in California by Bruce McPherson. Bowen, as Chair of the Elections Committee in the Senate, has been pressing for investigations, reconsideration of certification, paper confirmation, everything she can to make certain that the 2006 elections themselves are not stolen.
McPherson certified the machines despite the fact that the ACCURATE group of the National Science Foundation at UC Berkeley, at McPherson’s request, tested the machines and blasted them as completely unreliable. Every single entity that has tested the machines (except for the manufacturer, Diebold), has found major flaws in the machinery. McPherson has deferred to federal authorities, instead of what he is supposed to do: guarantee the accuracy of California’s elections.
Just last week, a study from Princeton chillingly detailed the ease with which the machines could be hacked and the results changed.
Involvement in the Secretary of State’s Race
There is no comparison between the candidates. Bowen is quick, intelligent, hard to fool, experienced, honest (she was chosen by the Cal Journal as the person “most likely to chair the Ethics Committee”), deep on all the issues, and the only person who will guarantee the honesty of California’s elections in 2008. McPherson will not and cannot. He is a nice guy and that’s all, easily manipulable by Washington and a sucker for Diebold’s cover-ups. Bowen can’t be fooled.
We must make certain that Deb Bowen is elected. For those who think this is a partisan pitch, it is not. This goes way beyond party and every party activist on either side should be very very concerned with whether or not there are accurate and honest elections in California. Bowen is the only candidate that can make certain of this. Get involved.