Leland Yee Announces Run for Secretary of State

Leland Yee Announces Run for Secretary of State
Author of online voter registration law declares candidacy for state’s chief elections officer
SAN FRANCISCO – Inspired by his latest law to allow Californians to register to vote online, today Senator Leland Yee used the internet to launch his run for Secretary of State. 
This morning, Yee told his followers on Twitter and Facebook that he opened a committee for the office of Secretary of State, which will become vacated in 2014 when current Secretary of State Debra Bowen is termed out.
“After many discussions with my family, friends, and supporters, I am excited to announce my candidacy for Secretary of State,” said Yee. “In this election cycle, we significantly increased access to our democracy through online voter registration. As Secretary of State, I want to expand on this success and explore the possibility of one day not just registering online, but in fact voting online. If we can safely pay our bills via the internet and board an airplane with a smart phone, we should be able to securely and easily vote electronically as well.”
California’s record setting number of registered voters – 18,245,970 – for the November 6 election was significantly boosted by Yee’s law (SB 397) to allow citizens to register to via the internet or a mobile device. 1,023,775 people used the system to register or re-register leading up to the registration deadline, with at least 780,688 people added to the voter file.
61.5 percent of those who used the online registration system were under age 35 (30.8 percent age 18-24, 30.7 percent age 25-34) and 79 percent registered to vote for the first time.
“Despite efforts by some to suppress the vote, we were able to dramatically increase our voter rolls,” said Yee. “I am proud to see the success of online registration, especially the tremendous boost to young people and first time voters.”
Yee is also considered the Legislature’s strongest advocate for open government, dubbed “Senator Sunshine” by the public access organization Californians Aware for authoring dozens of transparency laws. As California’s Chief Elections Officer, the Secretary of State is responsible for ensuring transparency of the political process including campaign and lobbyist financial information. 
This year, Yee authored a law (SB 1001) to increase fees required of lobbyists in order to finance the maintenance and upgrade of the state’s database that tracks campaign contributions and lobbying activity known as Cal-Access. 
“Through the years, we have made major reforms on government transparency and campaign financing, and I look forward to discussing these important issues with voters throughout California,” said Yee.
Among Yee’s legislative accomplishments:
  • SB 8 (2010) the Higher Education Transparency Act which subjects University of California and California State University foundations and auxiliaries to the public records act
  • SB 1696 (2008) to ensure greater access to government contracts as well as audits and reviews of public agencies
  • SB 190 (2007), the Higher Education Governance Accountability Act, to require all executive compensation packages at the UC and CSU to be voted on in an open session; and
  • AB 1207 (2006) to protect LGBT candidates from unfair campaign practices.
  • AB 2581 (2006) to make California the first state to specifically prohibit censorship of college student press.
Yee has also authored several bills dealing with campaign finance reform, election integrity, international business development, California’s diverse communities, and consumer protection – all integral responsibilities of the Secretary of State, who is responsible for maintaining business filings, assisting international businesses wanting to operate in the state, safeguarding the State Archives, protecting consumers from corporate fraud, and serving as trustee of the California Museum for History, Women & the Arts.
Yee immigrated to San Francisco at the age of 3. His father, a veteran, served in the US Army and the Merchant Marine, and his mother was a local seamstress. Yee graduated from the University of California – Berkeley, then earned a Ph.D. in Child Psychology, and later served in various mental health and school settings. He and his wife, Maxine, have raised four children who all attended San Francisco public schools. Yee has served in the State Legislature, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and San Francisco Board of Education.
Photo Credits: From Leland Yee’s Recent Campaign

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