By Alan Breslauer on 5/25/2008, 2:56pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

On Thursday, The BRAD BLOG interviewed Ron Shepston, who is running for Congress in California's 42nd District. The current holder of the seat is the ethically challenged Republican, Gary Miller (R-CA), who is regularly named as one of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress.

We first asked Shepston, an airplane engineer, about election integrity issues. Interestingly, despite running in the extremely "red" Orange County against the Republican Miller and expressing concern for election integrity issues in general, Shepston was not worried about the fairness of elections in his own district:

"I vote in my district and I do think we have fair elections there... I do worry about election integrity in general. I wonder what Republicans are afraid of when they don't want to have fair elections. I don't want to have to guess, I don't want to have to trust that my vote or that voters' votes count. I want verified ballots."

Unfortunately, as Orange County is one of two counties left in California where unverifiable DRE (usually touch-screen) voting machines have been allowed for use by all, Shepston seems somewhat out of step with the ability, or lack thereof, to verify even a single vote cast on such machines in his own district. Almost inexplicably, CA SoS Debra Bowen decertified use of almost all DRE systems in the state, other than one per polling place to meet federal accessibility voting standards, and DRE machines made by Hart InterCivic. Shepston's Orange County still uses those wholly unverifiable Hart voting machines.

Shepston, who says he considers himself part of the netroots movement, is a political newcomer who was encouraged to run for office by fellow bloggers at the Daily Kos website. Yet despite the fact that many of these bloggers are helping with Shepston's campaign, he directed some harsh words towards the Daily Kos:

"It's not the community that it used to be... And what's happened is that now that I've been there for so long I know the good writers and I go to just them. I don't branch out because it seems like every other diary that I get to it's just not worth it to me anymore. I don't learn anything... It's turned into a shouting match sometimes. It's not the same community that it was when I was there before."

Our complete interview (6:46), shot this week at a fund raising event here in Los Angeles with Ambassador Joe Wilson (more videos to come), follows below. You can find out more about Shepston at his Ron Shepston for United States Congress website...