March 12, 2010

Pen And Paper Signatures v. Electronic Signatures

JOE MATHEWS, a journalist and Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation, has written on the electronic signature issue before. But now he has written an article in "Fox and Hounds Daily" on the lawsuit that has been filed over that lone electronic signature filed on a state initiative petition in San Mateo County.

The journalist writes, "Guess what? Electronic signatures aren't new to California politics. In most counties of this state, records of voter registration are kept in electronic form. So when the clerk's office checks to see if your pen-paper signature on an initiative petition matches the signature they have on file, the signature they're comparing it with is an electronic one."

"I learned more about this through reading the fascinating court filings in the case of Ni v. Slocum, a new lawsuit that asks a superior court judge in San Mateo County to find that an electric signature on the marijuana initiative - Michael Ni signed it electronically with the touch screen of his iPhone - is valid and should be counted. The county's chief elections officer, Warren Slocum, ruled the signature invalid."

Mr. Mathews goes on to say that "San Mateo County, Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Attorney General Jerry Brown are all on the same page. And that page is made of paper."

While that may be true in his eyes, it is absolutely true that the three parties are bound by what California law says and how those provisions have been interpreted by the courts and by election officials. In his article, Mr. Mathews does get this right, "If Ni wins and his signature is approved, this could be a very significant decision, making it much easier and cheaper to collect signatures on everything from voter registration to ballot initiative petitions."

> Read the Joe Mathews article here.

8 comments:

Marc Strassman said...

Watch and listen to an interview with Joe Mathews about Ni v. Slocum at: http://blip.tv/file/3536363

Watch and listen to an interview with Verafirma co-founder Jude Barry at:

http://blip.tv/file/3434565

Read an article about San Mateo County Chief Deputy County Counsel Brenda Carlson and her take on Ni v. Slocum at:

http://etopianews.blogspot.com/2010/04/chief-deputy-county-counsel-explains.html

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