California Secretary of State Candidates Court Voters in San Diego

May 6, 2014 12:00 am

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With the June 3rd Primary around the Corner, The Race to Watch is Heating Up

May 6, 2014

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The specter of political corruption – due to former Secretary of State candidate Leland Yee’s criminal indictment – has cast new significance on the Secretary of State’s race. While Yee will not participate in an upcoming candidate forum in San Diego Tuesday night, it has generated a great deal of interest in what was once a low profile state office.

The seven candidates in the race will be in attendance tomorrow evening at a forum held at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. The event will be moderated by the U-T San Diego’s courts beat reporter, Dana Littlefield.

The forum series is sponsored by the ACLU of California Voting Rights Project, the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund, and Common Cause of California. The organizations hope to draw attention to the importance of the office and the dismal shape of voting rights in California.

“Out of the fifty states, California ranks in the bottom ten for turnout,” said Lori Shellenberger, director of the ACLU of California Voting Rights Project. “If you combine that shameful ranking with poor voter registration rates, fewer than half of the state’s eligible voters are making decisions about critical local and statewide issues.”

As of 2012, only about 65% of California’s eligible voters were registered, placing the state 45th in the nation in voter registration rates. That amounts to eight million Californians who are eligible to vote but are not registered. In the 2012 election, California placed 43rd nationwide for voter turnout.

“A healthy and thriving democracy is when all Californians have equal access to information and tools to be active in all levels of civic life,” said Melissa Breach, executive director of the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund. “The Secretary of State should lead the effort to make voting easier and more accessible for all Californians.”

The upcoming election on June 3rd will narrow the field down to two candidates. The forums will highlight the important role the Secretary of State plays in building a bigger and more informed electorate by implementing election reforms that could increase voter registration and participation and ensure the right to cast a ballot that is counted.

With the influx of so much money and special interests in politics, picking the right person to ensure our elections are open and fair is critical,” said Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause.

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