Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Disagreement is simply an inescapable part of living with one another. But we should all agree on one thing: The people are sovereign.

The practical question is, how is that sovereignty best instituted? Our experience with those organization and rules we’ve come to rely upon is that, too often, they work against our interests, even working mightily to limit our sovereignty.

Earlier this week, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that electronic signatures should be counted in a case involving an independent candidate for governor who was required by law to gather 1,000 official voter affirmations on a petition.

Of immediate concern is whether the same standard on e-signatures should apply to initiative petitions, which in Utah are required to number over 100,000. Utahns for Ethical Government is asking the AG to count electronic signatures on their measure.

There are certainly issues as to how best to authenticate e-signatures. But can there be any doubt as to the desirability of making it easier for voters to sign petitions and place issues they deem important before their fellow sovereign citizens?

There’s entrenched political opposition to that, though. Utah Governor Gary Herbert says “electronic signatures are part of the future” — but he hopes that’s the far distant future. He wants the legislature to weigh in. Which it may do, working around the judgment of the State Supreme Court.

Will popular sovereignty make it to the Internet, today’s dominant interactivity realm?

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Paul Veazey says:

    For Heaven’s sake, if there is doubt whether e-signatures count, why don’t these people just get hard signatures? If somebody is willing to sign, it isn’t that hard to put the paper and pen in front of them and let them sign.

  2. ForFreedom says:

    I disagree with Mr. Veazey. To put the pen and paper in front of 100,000 people will take quite a number of people driving to all these people to do so. Consider the cost and time.

    A better approach is to audit the electronic signatures. Taking a sample of them will allow the Secretary of State to determine the percent that are authentic, and also allow him to prosecute fraudulent signatures. Prosecution of fraudulent signatures will discourage such fraud, and help insure a high accuracy of the signatures.

  3. I don’t know about all States, but here in Texas we have a Voter Registeration Card with a number on it. It has to be shown with a photo ID whwnever we vote in person. I suggest that if e-voting is used then have a place on the ballot to enter that number, it can be easily checked by the powers-that-be in City Hall by looking at their computers.

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  5. Jay says:

    To Ms. Skidmore- I do not know about Texas, but here in Florida, i would not trust electronic voting-a few years ago, in one of the Miami/Dade County cities, there were votes recorded on a machine that was not used ( although, in all fairness, the number of total votes did equal the number of people who signed in to vote); in another municipality there- there were (local elections) numerous more people signed up to vote and signed in at the polls- then votes- and the lame excuse- people read the cnadidates, issues etc then decided not to vote. lame, considering the time and effort; perhaps Texas is more homest, but I would not trust FL.

  6. Pat says:

    The internet doesn’t recognize our sovereignty on any level. Allowing e-signatures only increases the opportunities for fraud or interference by outsiders. Popular sovereignty is needed but it should also be legitimate. Should Californians have a voice in Utah’s elections? How about foreigners? Either is possible, if not probablem, with e-ballots/petitions.

  7. In collecting e-signatures to qualify for ballot access we discovered that on average it took five to ten times the amount of work as standard paper signatures. The process is new and unfamiliar to most. That said the process was people empowering as most at home became fully familiar with the issues before signing in. The bigest boon was that my suporters from all across the state were able to participate.

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