Bill Jones' Plan of Action for His Top
Priorities as Secretary of State
Aggressive enforcement of voter misconduct and voter fraud:
There is no question that fraud-free elections must be the highest
priority of the Secretary of State. A host endemic problems dating back
more than a decade undermine confidence in our system. I have developed
a detailed, comprehensive 12-point plan to address these problems.
1. Institute a positive purge of voter rolls: An estimated 1 million to 2
million voters who are listed on voter rolls are illegal, dead or have
moved away. The potential for fraud is immense, and the cost of sending
these non-existent voters campaign materials is $3 million a year. That
money could be better spent on fraud prevention, enforcement and voter
outreach. Enacting this proposal is especially important before the
implementation of the National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter) when
we will add millions more to the voter rolls.
2. Modify federal law to allow INS data to be cross-referenced with state
voter rolls: The DMV has already successfully implemented the state law
requiring a check on immigration status to obtain a driver's license.
3. Require applicants for voter registration to provide their Social
Security Number on voter registration affidavits: Additional identifying
information is an essential part of fraud detection.
4. Require voters to present photo ID when voting: California is only one
of five states that does not already require this.
5. Require groups providing voter registration services to identify all
persons acting as an agent and require that those agents be provided with
oral warnings regarding non-citizen registration: Testimony at a Senate
Select Committee on Voting Practices and Procedures made it abundantly
clear that voter registration drives can become a vehicle, purposefully
or accidentally, for voter improprieties.
6. Establish a joint task force with the Attorney General to investigate
and prosecute voter fraud: Testimony at the Senate Select Committee
provided case after case of specific, serious breaches of election law;
without exception, those in positions of authority, did nothing. This
task force will provide the Secretary of State with investigative and
prosecutorial expertise in cracking down on fraud.
7. Restructure and expand a new "Motor Voter" fraud division: There are
now a total of three fraud investigators in California--a state with 14
million registered voters. When the National Voter Registration Act is
implemented, this unit will be even more critical.
8. Require voters to sign voter rolls, under penalty of perjury,
attesting to the fact that they are the person registered to vote: This
proposal addresses two of the fundamental weaknesses in our current
election system--a lack of meaningful penalties and a lack of voter
identification verification procedures.
9. Require ballots at the precinct level be reconciled so the number of
absentee ballots is recorded: This closes the loophole that prevents any
official record of how many ballots were actually received at the polls
from being kept.
10. Reinstate the request for a naturalization number on voter
registration forms: This information, which is readily available, was
required until 1976. It assists with voter identification and
11. Repeal laws allowing voter registration to be used to establish
residency: Voter registration should be for voting only. This law
actually provides an incentive for non-citizens and those in this country
illegally to register.
12. Require persons who assist others in registering to vote to attest
under penalty of perjury that they have read the registrant the
prohibition on non-citizen registration: This provision works in
conjunction with requirements for voter registration drive groups, and
serves as a reminder to their agents.
Election code reform:
As Secretary of State, I will continue to pursue an aggressive
legislative agenda to ensure that necessary reforms in election law are
enacted. I will build upon my legislative package from this year, including:
AB 3111, which calls for immediate removal from public office any
official convicted of political corruption charges.
AB 3224, which would have banned any cash contributions, banned monetary
transfers between candidates, banned off-year fundraising and banned
public funding of campaigns.
AB 3225, which prohibited free gifts in exchange for voting
AB 167X, which implemented the federal "Motor Voter" law in California,
in conjunction with a positive purge of existing voter rolls to prepare
for the new law
AJR 67, which calls for full federal reimbursement for the costs of
ACR 102, which called for creation of a bi-partisan commission to review
and recommend suggestions to update the 1974 Political Reform Act on its
I have also been actively involved in seeking to implement the campaign
contribution limits, and other reforms of Proposition 73, which has been
stalled by the courts.
Improving the State's Business Climate:
Repealing the $800 minimum corporate tax for start-up companies: The
state's minimum corporate tax increased from $200 in 1986 to $800 in
1990; the change in the law was part of the 1987 omnibus federal tax
conformity bill. Since then, new incorporations have declined by
19,000. We need to encourage job creation and business formation. I
propose to implement a graduated tax--no tax the first year of business,
increasing $200 each year until the maximum $800 fee is reached. This
will help corporations in the first years of life when their owners are
struggling hardest and capital is most scarce.
Amnesty for corporate deadwood: Many people who incorporated have
abandoned their companies rather than pay the minimum tax and the cost to
dissolve the company. These records make the Corporate Filing Division
less effective, and the Franchise Tax Board is sending out tax notices to
corporate officers that will never be enforced. I will implement an
amnesty program that reduces the dissolution cost for inactive
corporations to the original $200 so that they can be cleared from the rolls.
Create a one-stop shop for businesses seeking to incorporate: When
businesses want to incorporate, the first stop is usually the Secretary
of State's Office. The Secretary is the official keeper of all corporate
records--articles of incorporation, statement of officers, etc. It is
not the last stop for businesses, however. A whole host of taxing and
regulatory agencies must be contacted. I will implement my plan to make
the Secretary of State the one-stop shop for business start-up by linking
the state's taxing and regulatory agencies together through the Office.
The Small Business Advocate's Office at the Trade & Commerce Agency and
the California Chamber of Commerce already provide vital information and
assistance on starting a new business--those resources will be
coordinated with and incorporated into the one-stop shop.
Working closely with World Trade Commission Staff to boost exports:
Despite California's stubbornly high unemployment rate, there are bright
spots in our economy. California is home to more "gazelles"--fast-growing
companies--than any other state. While we are suffering the loss of
federal defense-related jobs, we also have a pool of talent that will provide
the genius needed to successfully complete our "defense conversion."
One of the keys to employment growth--which is the key to recovering from this
recession--is exports. Poised on the edge of the Pacific Rim, with NAFTA in
place, and with a new round of GATT negotiations, California is uniquely
poised to emerge as a dominant force in the world economy. I will work
closely with Trade Commission staff to speed California's economic recovery.
Automation of the Secretary of State functions: Despite dismal failures
to computerize key functions of the Secretary of State's operations, the
need to automate and modernize has not diminished. The Corporate Filing
Division and the Uniform Commercial Code systems--the site of
multi-million-dollar boondoggles--are still most logical places to
start. The positive impact on our business climate, and the money saved
by reduced staff time and effort, are too important to be ignored.
Automating the system will also be necessary to full integrate the
functions of disparate regulatory agencies into a seamless one-stop
shop. These same innovations can be applied to the elections division,
as well, to enhance accessibility and accountability of state government.
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