FROM:   Kim Alexander
DATE:   August 6, 2003
RE:   CVF-NEWS roundup: Recall, CA campaign databases, paper trail

Hi Folks,

In this CVF-NEWS round-up:

* CVF publishes Recall Information Page
* Searchable contributions and expenditures database now online from CA Secretary of State
* Election security concerns covered in CA newspapers, Washington Post editorial

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* CVF publishes Recall Information Page

The California Voter Foundation's web site now features a new "Recall Information" page featuring links to resources and information about the recall. One particular link that is helpful goes to the "Statements of Intent" prospective candidates have filed with the California Secretary of State's office. These statements must be filed in advance of a candidate forming a campaign committee. In this statement candidates also declare whether they will abide by the state's voluntary campaign spending limit. Candidates who agree to the spending limit will be allowed to purchase space to place a statement in the official ballot pamphlet mailed to all registered voters. So far most of the prospective candidates have said "yes" to the spending limit. The Statements of Intent are updated every day and provide a good idea of who may be considered to be a serious candidate for governor since the statements indicate which candidates plan to raise money for the campaign.

CVF's Recall page also includes links to campaign web sites and links to special coverage of the recall being provided by many California news organizations on their web sites. CVF's recall page is at . If you have any suggestions for additions to this page, please email them to us at

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* Searchable contributions and expenditures database now online from CA Secretary of State

Last week California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley and his staff unveiled a new, searchable database of campaign contributions and expenditures available through his agency's campaign finance disclosure site, .

To use the database, visit the Cal-Access web site above and click on the link "Advanced Reports". You will need to allow the site to set cookies in order for it to work. It will take a little time to become familiar with the interface so be patient and keep clicking. Please note that the feature "Expenditure Code Search" allows the public to search expenditures in several ways and not just by the expenditure code used. The expenditure code search is a great feature that will help journalists and the public quickly determine where those hundreds of millions of dollars raised for California campaigns go.

By producing this database and bringing it online in July Secretary Shelley fulfilled one of the earliest commitments he made after taking office in January. As many longtime CVF-NEWS subscribers know, California has had online disclosure since 1998, and mandatory electronic filing since 2000, but no searchable database until now. The new feature is a great development and CVF congratulates Secretary Shelley and his staff for bringing the database online to the public.

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* Election security concerns covered in CA newspapers, Washington Post editorial

Many newspaper articles have been published recently about election security concerns in the wake of the Johns Hopkins study exposing problems in Diebold voting software that was found on an Internet web site earlier this year. "Report Critical of Security in Vote Machines was published in the San Diego Union Tribune August 4 and is online at "Security disputed in touch-screen voting" was published in the Los Angeles Daily News and is online at,1413,200%7E20954%7E1550347,00.html

In addition, Sunday's Washington Post featured an editorial titled, "A Soft Touch -- for Voter Fraud?" stating that the warnings raised by the Johns Hopkins study deserve to be taken seriously. Here's an excerpt: "No purely electronic system is fail-safe; most technological experts agree that an old-fashioned paper trail is the best defense against fraud and failure. Unfortunately, a paper record that a voter could remove from a voting site would open the door to vote buying or other coercive tactics.... A failure in an electronic voting system could pose a far greater threat than hanging chads. "

The editorial is online at

Links to many more news stories from around the country are available on CVF's Voting Technology Resources page, at .

-- Kim Alexander, President, California Voter Foundation

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This page was first published on August 7, 2003 | Last updated on August 7, 2003
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