Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

An App for That

We’ve had debit cards for most of my adult life. Regularly, people sign their names on electronic pads to obtain medication, credit, what-have-you. You can order books and music and nearly anything online, from your computer, your smartphone, or your new iPad.

It’s high time to take democracy into this new era.

At least, Michael Ni thinks so. And I agree.

Last year, Mr. Ni brought a signed ballot initiative to the clerk’s office in San Mateo County. He did not use anything so archaic as ink. Or a pencil. He signed the document using the screen of his iPhone, and he delivered it to the designated agent via flash drive.

It was rejected.

And so began a lawsuit, Ni v. Slocum, to upgrade the State of California’s initiative process. Mr. Ni runs Verafirma, a company that has produced technology that, you might say, puts another “i” (or is that the “e”?) in “initiative.” The technology works on the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the Verizon Droid, and is slated for other smartphones and similar post-PC devices.

Mr. Warren Slocum, named defendant/respondent, admits that the technology “is transformative.”

Recently, Twitter and Facebook have helped foment and organize revolutions. But the statewide citizens initiative, a bulwark of democracy in half the states, is lagging behind, technologically.

It’s time for government to accommodate the habits and desires and sheer convenience of the masses.

It’s time to say, “Democracy: There’s an app for that.”

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Jim Fitzpatrick says:

    Might want to consider what you are asking for. This sword cuts both ways. With all the outright voter fraud and other methods being used by the Soros sponsored groups, I would think having electronic signatures being added to voter iniatives would be very dangerious, unless it can be verified and authenticated.

  2. Paul Jacob says:

    Valid point. In this case, it is clear that electronic signatures are more easily and accurately verified than pen on paper the old-fashioned way.

    See our amicus brief here:

  3. Jake Witmer says:

    I completely agree with this. I am downloading the brief, and reading it. Other than referencing it in my book, how can I help this process along? This is a logical step, and while I don’t think it’s as important as overturning the recent bans (IL, MA, MD) on videotaping government agents, I think it’s probably in the top ten most important things we can “put a hustle on”.

    I also think that fears of allowing democracy in such a stultified and undemocratic environment are unfounded. Secrecy and obstruction of the will of the people tends to consolidate power. Even if the general class of “leftists bleating for slavery” occasionally use the initiative process to create more tyranny, they have a willing helper in most of government anyway. Moreover, the initiative process is there for the slow and incremental creep towards individual freedom. Don’t expect too much, too quickly, though: United States voters were deprogrammed by the government youth propaganda camps when they were kids, so they have virtually no knowledge of history or philosophy.

  4. Terry De Pew says:

    Sorry. Can’t abide by no more fiddlin’ with all these new gee-gaws and gim-crackies as it is.
    But I’m just an old hippie (NOT like the ones mostly in charge these days), the kind who realizes that people need to go to work to support themselves & such.
    My biggest fear is that the machines, while not evil by themselves, are much more easily
    manipulated, and humans, (ESPECIALLY Americans) are too influenced by our toys already (just look at all the people you see walking about with phones stuck to the sides of thier heads, our staring at devices they are pounding messages into, like brain dead automotons).
    Maybe I have been around too long, and am deeply disappointed in how our technology has been used, and a severly disillusioned that I do not have my flying car, or I cannot plan on retiring on mars.
    I would rather submit my signature on a piece of paper signed in ink, thank you.

  5. […] add extra burden, legislators have passed Senate Bill 165, outlawing citizens from using electronic signatures for just such […]

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