Use of New Signature Technology by California Initiative Promises to Open up Petition Process Nationwide

Wed, Jan 13 2010

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a transpartisan national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented The Citizen Power Campaign with the January 2010 John Lilburne Award.  The group is being recognized for making the initiative process open & accessible to citizens by utilizing new technology in signature gathering campaigns.

Silicon Valley technology company Verafirma recently debuted a new application for certain smartphones that allows citizens to sign an initiative petition electronically; much like signing the electronic box at a department store checkout.  This new technology allows citizens to make their voices heard from anywhere, and currently works for iPhone, iPod Touch, and Verizon Droid phones.

“This type of forward thinking is a tremendous benefit to the initiative & referendum process around the country,” said Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob. “There will be legal and security issues to work out, but new technology like this can create a better system for everyone in the end.”

Allowing petitions to be signed electronically will make the initiative process more open, accessible and less expensive. By using the technology in an official petition signature gathering drive, The Citizen Power Campaign is spearheading its development, helping to work out any technological and legal issues, and ultimately making it easier for citizens to effectively use their initiative rights.

The Citizen Power Campaign is currently the only initiative campaign that is utilizing the new phone technology, but other campaigns will soon follow. According to Verafirma, a progressive labor organization will be using the technology in the near future to place a measure on the ballot.

“We hope the use of this new technology is accepted and fully implemented by California authorities and eventually expands beyond California, helping to open up the process in other states as well,” added Jacob.

Each month, Citizens in Charge Foundation presents the John Lilburne Award to a citizen, or citizens, working to protect and defend the First Amendment petition rights of Americans.  John Lilburne was a 17th Century English pamphleteer, political activist, and champion of individual rights who advocated constitutional government and pioneered the use of petitioning and referenda for redress against government power and abuse. For a complete list of past Lilburne Award winners please click here.

Citizens in Charge Foundation is the only national transpartisan voter rights group dedicated to protecting and expanding the ballot initiative and referendum process. We believe good government starts with the voter. For more information visit us