SB 360 will also allow the use of new systems in 'legally binding elections' as 'pilots' without any state certification at all
Clears way for full development, and then sale, of Los Angeles County's planned new 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2013, 3:37pm PT  

Over the weekend, Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed SB 360, a radical new election reform bill, that will, for the first time in decades, end all federal testing of new e-voting systems approved for use in the state of California.

The measure, sold dishonestly by its supporters to the public and lawmakers, is expected to have an impact across the rest of the nation as well. It's enactment paves the way for the final development of a new, unverifiable touch-screen voting system for use in Los Angeles County, where it is then slated to be sold for use in jurisdictions elsewhere in the state and country.

Before the adoption of SB 360, new voting systems in California required two independent levels of testing, both at the federal and state levels before they could be used in an election here. Even with those two independent testing regimes in place, the systems certified by the Sec. of State over the past decade or more have been riddled with errors and security flaws that were later discovered. For those reasons, and others, The BRAD BLOG had been calling, unsuccessfully, for Brown's veto of SB 360.

As we've documented on these pages, the new law also affords sweeping new executive powers to the Sec. of State to approve new e-voting systems for use in so-called "pilot programs" without any certification testing at all, even from state auditors. Those "pilot" e-voting and tabulation systems, according to the new law, may now be used in "a legally binding election" at the sole discretion of the Sec. of State.

The BRAD BLOG has reported in great detail on this dangerous new bill, which was eventually passed along partisan lines with almost no debate in either chamber of the state legislature. It was supported by all the Democrats in both the state Senate and Assembly, and opposed by all but one Republican.

The bill, granting unprecedented power to the California Sec. of State, was authored by state Senator Alex Padilla (D) --- himself a leading 2014 candidate for California Sec. of State. It was also supported by one of his two main rivals for that job, State Sen. Leland Yee (D), who has also gone on record calling for Internet Voting systems in California.

The only one among the top three Democratic contenders to replace CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen (who is termed out in 2014), who did not go on record in support of SB 360, is former Common Cause official Derek Cressman.

As we also reported, the bill was sold dishonestly by Padilla to both lawmakers and the public...

In both press releases and media appearances, Padilla argued that the bill was needed so that CA counties may own their own, non-proprietary voting systems. What Padilla did not make a point of explaining, is that counties may already do so, including L.A. County --- the largest voting jurisdiction in the nation --- which already owns its own e-voting system.

Now that the bill has been signed by the governor, Padilla's radical new election law, which rewrites, amends or redacts more than 70 sections of California's Election Code, will take effect in the Golden State on January 1, 2014.

Brown's signature clears the way for L.A. County to receive both federal and state money to step up its development of a new, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system which the county has said they also plan to sell to other counties across both the state and country. (See a video demo of the new system here.) Use of that new system may now take place in a "legally binding election" in Los Angeles, with real voters, without federal or state certification, breaking a years-long tradition of CA having amongst the most stringent security requirements for electronic voting systems in the nation.

Ironically, L.A. Counties Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, who has been leading the development of L.A.'s new system, tweeted his thanks to both Padilla and Brown today, describing SB 360 as "improving voting systems testing in CA". Perhaps by "improving", Logan means having less of it done, at least by fewer independent bodies, if at all.

Padilla has refused to respond to any of our several attempts to receive answers to questions about SB 360 since it was introduced in the spring.

Logan did discuss his reasons for supporting the bill during our interview with him about his plans for the new touch-screen voting system earlier this year, but he has declined comment to The BRAD BLOG in regard to the bill since its passage last month.

Logan did, however, speak about the bill to a "reporter" from, a business group whose leaders have included former Republican Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, in response to their request to write an article "to promote SB 360," according to email documents [PDF] obtained through a public records requests. The glowing article, "SB 360: A ticket to the 21st century for California voting machines" was penned by Ed Coghlan, a publicist who was previously found, according to the Los Angeles Times, to have created fake news sites and non-existent "reporters" to post positive news about a Municipal Water District in Los Angeles which had hired his company to represent them.

After publication of the incredibly positive SB 360 story --- which failed to detail any of the concerns about the measure, despite our having covered them in detail long prior --- Coghlan told The BRAD BLOG that neither he nor his employer,, received any remuneration in exchange for the publication of the story. The emails we reviewed between Coghlan and Logan would seem to bear that out, despite Logan thanking Coghlan for "the partnership [emphasis added] and the interest in what we are doing here in Los Angeles," in one of the missives.

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The full text of SB 360 is here. For more information on this disturbing new CA law, please see our previous coverage of SB 360, including:

Exclusive: L.A. County Registrar Says 'No' to Internet Voting, But 'Yes' to Unverifiable Touch-Screen Voting for New Election System (4/24/2013)

CA Legislature Approves Dangerous Bill to End All Federal Testing of State E-Voting Systems (9/10/2013)

CA State Senator Still Misleading About Election Bill That Ends Federal Testing of E-Vote Systems (9/17/2013)

'It Seems They Have Learned Next to Nothing': I'm Interviewed by OpEd News on CA's New Bill REDUCING Independent Tests of E-Vote Systems (9/23/2013)

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