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James V. Lacy

Republicans in Legislature should advocate online Initiative, Referendum and Recall petition signing

Republicans have not been very good this year developing a Legislative Strategy.  Legislation coming out of the State Senate elections committee is constitutionally toxic, with the Senate Republican Caucus in some cases just giving up the store.  Republicans need a strategy to deal with the mountain of bad election-related bills being imposed by the Democrat super-majority.  And one great idea that would put Republicans in front of Democrats with tech-savvy voters is allowing the qualification of statewide initiative, referendum and recall measures by online secure digital signature.

Why not? California has already enacted an online voter registration (“OVR”) system.  According to one account, the OVR system greatly boosted registration in the 2012 general election, including adding 500,000 new Democrats to the voter rolls, which must have played a role in the huge success of Democrats in the last election.  Democrats are inclined to expand and improve OVR, as it appears to be a success.  So why not expand the same idea to include the manner in which initiative, referendum and recall petitions are signed and collected?  A secure, online digital system could help empower the average citizen.  It would reduce the cost of qualifying initiatives, and make special interest money less of an issue because paid signature gathers would not be as necessary.  Paid signature gathers are something Common Cause and liberal groups complain of, and which have been cause for Democrats in the Legislature to enact a multitude of regulations.  Online secure digital petitions would eliminate all the nasty issues of a paid petition gatherer that liberals worry about.

Republicans ought to have a better plan to deal with the Democrats new election laws, rather than just issuing “Do Pass” edicts on patently unconstitutional bills, and making initiatives “go viral” is an idea they ought to consider.