Secretary Candidates Want Voting Reform

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The successful candidate for the office of Arizona Secretary of State will be acting governor when the elected governor is out of state. And, as recent history has shown, the secretary of state takes over the office in the event of the governor's resignation or removal from office.

Vying for the Secretary of State's job are Jan Brewer, Republican, Chris Cummiskey, Democrat, and Sean Nottingham, Libertarian.

The Secretary of State also is the chief election officer, who must certify candidates and election results.

Voting reforms are on the agenda of all three candidates.

The office is the official keeper of records where administrative rules of state agencies are filed, and the adopted official rules of state agencies are maintained, under the Arizona Administrative Procedures Act.

The secretary of state's office registers trade names and trademarks, and issues certificates of registration. The term is for four years.

Jan Brewer

Jan Brewer, 56, has four main goals for the Secretary of State's office:

Ensure the integrity of the election process;

Assist military personnel to vote;

Protect consumers; and

Increase voter participation

To assist military personnel to vote, Brewer has authored legislation to streamline the voting process for service men and women at duty stations outside the state. She plans to create a system that allows the military to cast and receive a ballot by fax, as well as receive confirmation that the local election office received the absentee ballot.

Instead of creating new consumer protection laws, Brewer would rather work with law enforcement and better business bureaus to identify scam artists and incarcerate them.

Brewer has been a member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, first elected in 1996, and chairman in 1998 and 2001. She resigned from the board in February to run for Secretary of State.

She also was a member of the Arizona Legislature for 14 years, working as a representative from 1983 to 1986 and in the senate from 1987 to 1996.

Chris Cummiskey

Chris Cummiskey, 37, promises that his themes, if elected, will be inclusion and the rise of new state leadership.

His priorities are:

Promoting the use of elections technology to improve voter participation;

Economic development in greater Arizona;

Advocating for consumers in fending off telemarketers and other invasions of privacy;

Making it easier for businesses to navigate the governmental maze; and

Re-energizing youth participation in Arizona government.

In regard to elections technology, Cummiskey is an advocate of online voting.

While Cummiskey talks about bringing new leadership to the state, he has been in Arizona politics since 1991, serving in both the house and senate.

Sean Nottingham

Sean Nottingham, 36, is a former public relations assistant at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and retired Army officer, serving in both the Reserve and on active duty.

He is currently teaching government and history at Camelback High School, and has been in the education field for 10 years.

He said the strength he would bring to the office of secretary of state is the fact that he is a Libertarian and his party is not in power.

"Impartiality and objectivity are the hallmarks of a fair election and since I have no obligations to powerful party bosses or office-holding friends, I believe that I am the best suited candidate to oversee Arizona's elections," Nottingham said.

The goals he has set for himself as Secretary of State include:

Improve elections by phasing out faulty punch card voting machines

Audit all Arizona voter registration rolls

Implement a "no call" list to protect citizens from harassing telemarketers

Lobby to change Arizona's primary from September to May, providing for a longer general election period and creating more interest in elections.

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