'His strong voice will be echoed in the continued work of thousands of others'
PLUS: Tributes continue to pour in from across the nation...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2009, 1:10pm PT  

It's been of some comfort seeing statements from public officials who John Gideon worked with --- sometimes in collaboration with, sometimes in opposition to --- issuing statements on his tragic passing.

Among the first I received was the following statement and note of condolence this morning from Nicole Winger, spokesperson for CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen...

We here at the Secretary of State's office send our deep sympathies for the sudden loss of John.

In case you are collecting special thoughts or developing a public message board, Secretary Bowen wanted to send along this contribution:

John Gideon was a tireless advocate who contributed greatly to the election integrity movement. President John Kennedy noted that "true democracy... will not condemn those whose devotion to principle leads them to unpopular courses, but will reward courage, respect honor, and ultimately recognize right." John Gideon was courageously devoted to his democracy, and his strong voice will be echoed in the continued work of thousands of others. My deepest condolences go out to John's family and his entire circle of friends.

Debra Bowen
California Secretary of State

The Secretary's warm thoughts are greatly appreciated, and we are doing our best to ensure that John's son Rick is able to collect so many of the tributes that have been pouring in for John, for the day his grandson is old enough to read and understand them, to learn what a giant his grandfather was.

Towards that end, Joyce McCloy, of NC Coalition for Verified Voting, has dedicated a page linking to numerous tributes to John, as posted from around the country. She has told me she intends to do her best to keep that page updated, as new tributes are posted to commemorate John's extraordinary legacy.

As well, if you haven't gotten the chance to listen, Desi and I dedicated yesterday's "Green News Report" to John, who was instrumental in encouraging us to both begin, and then expand on those reports. We offered a brief tribute in the final minute of yesterday's episode in his memory.

I imagine John would be nothing short of stunned by the outpouring from so many citizen activists, public officials, and the public at large from across the nation, at his passing. While he understood the general importance of his work, I can't imagine that he truly understood how many recognized it, were touched by it daily, and what a quiet, but absolutely central role he played in an entire national movement.

I confess that even I hadn't truly appreciated the size of the gaping hole which would be left in his absence, both in the community at large, and here at The BRAD BLOG as I have found myself, over the last day or two, struggling to find footing without the benefit of his regular, and generous counsel, on all manner of things, as colleague, friend and partner...

UPDATE 4:22pm PT: And this just in from Rosemary Rodriguez who was, until very recently, the chairperson of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC):

I am so sad to learn that John Gideon has left us. John was the voice of the voter. He succeeded in educating us about the need to keep integrity and transparency at the forefront of elections--at both the policy and operational levels.

I know, too, that he was passionate about military and Veteran voters, and was offended, as we all should be, about the difficulty they have in accessing their right to vote.

There is a big gaping hole in the election community today and I'm not just referring to John's size, but to the effect of his work. He will be missed.

Rosemary Rodriguez

While John was dogged in his years-long criticism of the EAC --- frustrated expressions about which can be seen in the many pieces on various failings of the EAC filed here over the years, by and with John --- and continued to press its commissioners regularly via email, in hopes of holding their feet to much-needed fire, he shared an admiration for Rosemary, as one of the few commissioners of that body who seemed to have some understanding of how bad things have gotten and how much the EAC had dropped the ball over the years. He was very sorry to see her leave recently, before her chairmanship had ended, for a new job working for the state of Colorado. Her heartfelt thoughts are greatly appreciated.