Below is a collection of some of the news stories about the California Voter Foundation's projects and efforts, and about politics and the Internet in general. An additional collection of stories relating specifically to electronic filing and online disclosure is available at CVF's Digital Sunlight web site. All articles featured in CVF's web sites are copyrighted and may not be redistributed without permission of the publisher.

March 19, 1999 -- The California Voter Foundation is a Proud Winner of the 1999 Webby Award!

This prestigious award, hailed as the “Oscar of the Internet” was awarded to 24 web sites in a variety of categories, such as travel, fashion, news and art. CVF’s web site,, won in the Politics and Law category...(continued) (Acceptance Speech by Kim Alexander)

March 18, 1999 -- California Takes Up Issue of Online Voting
By Rebecca Fairley Raney, New York Times Cybertimes

In the first state-level effort to study the feasibility of an Internet voting system, California's Secretary of State convened a task force on Wednesday to examine the issues involved with casting ballots online.

Secretary Bill Jones opened the group's first meeting by telling the panel of two dozen technologists, political scientists and election officials: "Technology and people's expectations are going to force us to deal with these issues. The rest of the country expects California to lead on this." (continued)

March 16, 1999 -- Presidential Candidates Plug Into Internet
By Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

Though Vice President Al Gore claimed credit for helping invent the Internet, he will be among the last White House candidates to plug into it. Most of the dozen presidential aspirants already have their own Web sites, but Gore's campaign office said Tuesday it will not be online until at least next week.

Earlier Tuesday, publisher Steve Forbes, a Republican, became the first person to ever announce his candidacy on his own Web site. (continued)

March 16, 1999 -- Campaigning on the Net
By Elizabeth Arnold, National Public Radio

On March 16th, Steve Forbes announced his candidacy for President on his web site (, and in light of this announcement, NPR's Morning Edition featured a report by Elizabeth Arnold on how politicians are using the Internet as part of their campaigns. The report includes comments by CVF President Kim Alexander, and also focuses on how Jesse Ventura relied on the Internet for his successful gubernatorial campaign in Minnesota. Tune in with RealAudio at:

March 14, 1999 -- Financial, personal connections raise questions in Davis appointments
By Scott Lindlaw, Associated Press

While Terry M. Giles' four-page resume lists one success after another in law and business, there is no trace of environmental experience. Giles himself says his backgroundis not particularly "green."

Even so, Gov. Gray Davis has named Giles to the powerful governing body created by Congress to halt environmental deterioration in the Lake Tahoe region. (continued)

March 2, 1999 -- Seven Local Elections Canceled
By Kim Alexander, for the California Report

Today is election day in many California cities. But voters in seven southern California cities won't be going to the polls today. That's because their local elections were canceled due to a lack of competition. The cities of Lakewood, Beverly Hills, Hidden Hills, San Gabriel, City of Industry, Monrovia, and Rolling Hills had originally scheduled municipal elections for March 2, but canceled because no candidates stepped forward to challenge city council incumbents.

State law allows cities to cancel elections when there is a lack of competition as a way to save money. Some observers cited voter apathy, the high cost of running for office, and a general contentment with the status quo as prime reasons for the canceled elections. But there's more to it than that. (continued)

February 25, 1999 -- High-Tech Entrepreneurs Dive into California Politics
By Rebecca Fairley Raney, New York Times Cybertimes

Last November, Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, announced a political campaign with a high-tech twist: His so-called "cyber-initiative" for school choice in California would rely on the Internet to collect signatures.

In a press release promoting the initiative, Draper, managing director of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, pledged that "the use of the Internet and electronic signatures will show how the people's voice and technology can be used in a positive way to create change."

Despite Draper's enthusiasm, his plan to use the Internet to collect half a million signatures has run up against political reality: Digital signatures are not legal on California petitions. In fact, even though the technology exists, it could take years to build the political consensus to establish such a system. (continued)

February 9, 1999 -- Record Chesbro-Jordan spending; candidates' expenses totaled $6.4 million
By James W. Sweeney, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

The state Senate contest between Wes Chesbro and John Jordan shattered California spending records, according to a final accounting of campaign expenses that shows combined expenditures of more than $6.4 million.

Jordan, the heir to a natural gas and wine fortune, made loans and contributions totaling more than $2.6 million of his own money in a losing cause. Family members chipped in another $575,000. (continued)

February 5, 1999 -- Internet may reshape California ballot initiatives
By Rebecca Fairley Raney, New York Times Cybertimes

These days, Californians are hard-pressed to enter a grocery store without hearing the cry, "Sir! Ma'am! Can I get your signature? Are you registered to vote?" Shoppers are regularly accosted by signature collectors, aggressive pitchmen who get paid by the name. They are the by-product of a high-priced ballot initiative system that has outgrown its intent to defeat the influence of special interests in politics.

Now, if high-tech political activists have their way, these sidewalk hawkers may eventually be replaced by the Internet as a means to collect the hundreds of thousands of signatures required to get a measure on the California ballot. (continued)

January 25, 1999 -- Do S.F. mayor funds skirt laws? Willie Brown raises millions for gifts, junkets, activities
By Erin McCormick, San Francisco Examiner

Mayor Willie Brown, perhaps the most astute political fund-raiser in California history, has found a multimillion-dollar way around the tough disclosure laws governing public life in San Francisco and the state.

Three nonprofits set up to fund mayoral junkets to foreign cities, gifts and events have been collecting money from secret donors at a rate of $3.5 million a year, according to reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service covering parts of 1997. (continued)

January 14, 1998 -- A New Guard Emerges: Savvy, pragmatic young leaders are reshaping the non-profit world
Chronicle of Philanthropy

A new guard of non-profit leaders is emerging that will shape the charity world in the next century. This latest crop of leaders looks distinctly different from those of previous decades. Many have come to the non-profit world after holding government or corporate jobs. A high number have graduated from Ivy League colleges.

In general, these new leaders gravitate toward solving local problems rather than striving to change national policies. Yet they want to do more than simply provide meals or shelter to people in need. They seek new ways to blend non-profit, government, and corporate work that will generate quick, quantifiable improvements to problems. (continued).

Profiled in "Leading the Way": CVF's Kim Alexander, 33. (continued).

January 5, 1999 -- A Message From the Governor Breeds Political Email Debate
By Jamie Murphy and Stephen C. MacDowell, Wall Street Journal Interactive

Last Halloween, Bob Bownes, an official with NeWorks Networking Inc., a New York network-management firm, received an e-mail message with a puzzling subject line: "A message from Governor Lawton Chiles."

Why was the governor of Florida apparently sending him e-mail?

Mr. Bownes opened the message, thinking it might have something to do with his previous work with the Florida Internet Service Providers' Association. It didn't: The e-mail was a plea that Mr. Bownes vote for Lt. Governor Buddy MacKay in Florida's upcoming governor's race against Republican Jed Bush. (continued)

December 29, 1998 -- Nothing open to public for Davis inauguration
By Zachary Coile, San Francisco Examiner

Members of the public hoping to witness Gov.-elect Gray Davis' inauguration, be warned: Your best bet to see California's 37th governor sworn in will be on C-SPAN.

If you don't have tickets yet for any of the eight major Gray Davis inaugural events starting this weekend, you're out of luck. For one thing, the events are sold out. For another, all the events are by invitation only. (continued)

November, 1998 -- It's the Net, Stupid!
By Kim Alexander, for Wired Magazine

"How many votes do I get because I maintain an updated Web site?" Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) asks during a sparsely attended photo op in San Francisco's South of Market district. "I can't tell you."

The online release of Kenneth Starr's report may have been a milestone for the Net, but on the campaign trail, Boxer's answer typifies the uncertainty of many politicians who are poking around on the Internet in search of a viable online constituency. (continued)

October 26, 1998 -- Tech's elite pony up
By Corey Grice, CNET

Political contributions by the technology elite are on the rise, another sign that Silicon Valley is waking up to the world of politics.

High-tech heavyweights are climbing the political contribution ladder, according to a new report compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics and published by Mother Jones magazine.

The list details the country's top 400 political contributors, who gave a combined $36 million in individual contributions, political action committee funds, and soft money--money given to political parties for "party building"--between January 1, 1997 and June 30, 1998. (continued)

October 19, 1998 -- Internet matures as voter resource, but political impact is a relative mystery
By Dana Wilkie, Copley News Service

On days when it seems Trudell Een is a lonely missionary -- peddling her religion of Web links and mouse clicks -- appreciative letters from people like Denise Lanning make it all worthwhile.

Lanning is a Riverside mom whose son just turned voting age. She wanted to know more about this year's candidates. Her son wanted to know more about how to cast a ballot. So the two fired up their PC, got on the Internet and typed this: (continued)

October 19, 1998 -- Every vote counts
By Bob Kolasky, Intellectual

Ballot initiatives are not simply the domain of the political right. This year in Massachusetts and Arizona, voters are considering campaign-reform proposals. Medical marijuana is on the ballot in Washington, D.C., and Colorado. In California, movie director Rob Reiner is leading a charge for a cigarette tax.

Perhaps a more accurate description is that ballot initiatives are the domain of those who cannot stand the invariable compromise of politicians that dominates many legislative bodies. (continued)

October 17, 1998 -- Politicians set their sites on the web
By William Booth, Washington Post Staff Writer

Last Thursday afternoon, Rob Patton, director of technical operations for the Barbara Boxer Senate campaign, sat down at his keyboard and sent an e-mail message to 3,000 supporters across the country, alerting them that Republican challenger Matt Fong would be appearing that evening online at a virtual town hall meeting hosted by NBC's affiliate here. "Please stop in and let him knw your opinions," he wrote to Boxer's wired troops. And this they did.

Whatever else this "historic chat" accomplished, it was a filcker of the possible future of the virtual politics promised by the revolutionary power of the Internet. (continued)

October 17, 1998 -- County donors pass on governor campaigns
By Timm Herdt, Ventura County Star

If you've wondered why the candidates for governor haven't spent much time in Ventura County in this campaign, one good reason is that the money trail doesn't pass this way.

That's one revelation to be gleaned from the most comprehensive campaign-finance information ever to be made available in the state -- an Internet database that went online this week, sponsored by the California Voter Foundation in partnership with Compaq's Network Systems Lab in Palo Alto. (continued)

October 15, 1998 -- Campaign finance data posted on new web site
By Tracy Seipel, San Jose Mercury News

California voters now have a way to "follow the money" behind candidates for statewide office and ballot measures on the Internet.

The 1998 California Campaign Contribution Database, launched Wednesday, is the joint project of the non-profit California Voter Foundation and Compaq Computer Corp.'s Network Systems Laboratory in Palo Alto. It increased the amount of information already provided by the secretary of state's own campaign finance data web site, which went online last week.

"There's no better way for voters to make informed choices than to find out who's funding a candidate or measure," Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, said of the CVF site. (continued)

October 8, 1998 -- Political sites explode on the Internet
By Tracy Seipel, San Jose Mercury News

Judi Koeper is a registered Republican and Roman Catholic, but she's planning to vote for Gray Davis for governor because he is pro-choice and Dan Lungren is not. "I don't like his opinions, and I get angry," the Mountain View technical writer said of Lungren. "I didn't even visit his Web site."

William Belport is "biased against mainstream politics" and often visits Web sites devoted to Green Party candidates and their issues. "It's empowering because I can go to a site of my choosing rather than having it fed to me by somebody else, like television or mailings," the Palo Alto legal assistant said. (continued)

October 8, 1998 -- Silicon Valley voters may find these Web sites useful
By Tracy Seipel, San Jose Mercury News

At least three new political Web sites debuted on the Internet this week, all of which may be of assistance to Silicon Valley voters on Nov. 3.

Launched Monday, the Institute for Silicon Valley Public Affairs' Digital Democracy site caters to residents of Silicon Valley. Founded by 23-year-old Santa Clara resident Jed Stremel, the site includes more than 200 pages of written analysis, almost 40 multimedia presentations and an interactive video debate involving 12 Silicon Valley candidates running for Congress and the state Assembly. (continued)

October 6, 1998, 10pm ET -- The :30 Second Candidate: An adventure into the world of political advertising
A PBS documentary broadcast

The 30-Second Candidate traces the history of the political TV ad, from its beginning during the 1952 presidential campaign of Dwight D. Eisenhower through the last presidential campaign of 1996. The documentary explores the evolution of this political art form, its growth and some possible options for reform. (continued)

October 2, 1998 -- Tech industry's chance to be a good citizen
By Dan Gillmor, San Jose Mercury News Technology Columnist

Some light will shine into the swamp of campaign finance beginning Monday, when California voters will be able to fire up their Web browsers and discover who's trying to buy whom, and for how much, in statewide political campaigns.

Technology has given us this valuable, timely window into the fortress of corruption that passes for politics today. Now let's use technology to batter down the fortress walls.

This is a job made to order for the wealthiest industry on the planet. And if the technology crowd could be prevailed upon to show some real civic-mindedness -- beyond bludgeoning Congress to curb shareholder lawsuits and to raise visa limits for foreign workers -- California's early experiments in campaign candor could be a powerful model for the nation. (continued)

October 2, 1998 -- Campaign finance data will go online Monday
By Tracy Seipel, San Jose Mercury News

The brave new world of online campaign finance reporting begins Monday in California, when voters will get unprecedented electronic access to information on how big, and little, money is flowing to statewide candidates and ballot propositions.

"This Monday will be a landmark day in the history of campaign finance reform," Secretary of State Bill Jones said Thursday during a visit to Silicon Valley. "From the comfort of their own homes," he said, "voters will finally have access to the names of the contributors who fund the 30-second sound bites on TV." (continued)

October 1, 1998 -- Is the Internet changing California politics?
By Justine Kavanaugh-Brown, California Computer News

The Internet is not only allowing voters to become more informed, it's actually beginning to change some political processes for the better.

With the election less than 30 days away, we're now deep in the midst of campaign frenzy. For months now we've seen the commercials, heard the radio announcements and watched the political mud being slung about. But lately it seems something is changing on the political landscape. Without a doubt, some of that change can be attributed to the Internet. (continued)

September 21, 1998 -- Free ads give spot of hope to campaign-reform backers
By Tracy Seipel, San Jose Mercury News

A San Diego area cable television company will make political history today when it begins broadcasting 30-second political ads at absolutely no cost to the candidates.

The nominees for U.S. Senate -- incumbent Barbara Boxer and challenger Matt Fong -- were surprised and pleased by the free offer from cable magnate Bill Daniels.

But for Daniels, the forfeiture of almost $90,000 in ad revenues from the two candidates and those running in three other congressional races is worth every penny. Like a growing number of Americans, the cable pioneer is worried that the exorbitant cost of campaigns is threatening U.S. democracy. (continued)

September 12, 1998 -- Tangled web tangles up the world wide web
By Amy Harmon, New York Times

The downloads were slow, the error messages were many, but in the first experiment in electronic communication between the United States Government and its citizens on a massive scale, millions of perservering Internet users were devouring the Starr report yesterday within hours of its release.

Across cyberspace, the response ran the gamut: "Impeach the hypocrite!" demanded the subject line of an America Online message board. "Keep this President!" came the immediate reply. (continued)

September 10, 1998 -- Making of an e-celebrity
By Steve Scott, for Intellectual Capital

Anyone who has ever kept pace with political spending in California knows the drill. Trundle over to the nearest elections office, sit down with a list of candidates and campaigns, and slog through stack after stack of paper campaign reports, some for candidates, others for political action committees. In a state where campaign fund raising routinely tops a quarter-billion dollars every election cycle, it can be quite literally a mind-numbing task.

Six years ago, Kim Alexander was all too familiar with the drill. As a 20-something staffer for California Common Cause, Alexander's job was to compile and parse the paper blizzard in an effort to document the influence of money on the political process. But unlike the older boomer babies who populated do-gooder circles around that time, Alexander had an edge: She knew her way around a spreadsheet and a modem. (continued)

August 28, 1998 -- Many disgusted with California campaign
By Scott Lindlaw, Associated Press Writer

Many Californians clearly were disgusted with the spring mudslinging melee in the gubernatorial primary. But it's not clear anyone's any happier now that the general election campaign has swung to the other extreme.

The campaign has become a dizzying dissertation on arcane legislative history, with leading candidates Dan Lungren and Gray Davis picking apart each other's record in the kind of excruciating detail that only two men who have spent a combined 41 years in public office could. (continued)

August 24, 1998 -- Simi, Moorpark candidates get message out on the Internet
By Dana Bartholomew, Ventura County Star

There are hokey avenues meandering through the Internet Web sites of local politicians.

Consider Simi Valley Councilwoman Sandi Webb's link to the Green Bay Packers. Or her Grandmother Vanderhoof's classic chicken 'n' dump-lings recipe (made with sweet milk), or tipsy cherry pie (made with half a cup of brandy).

Or how about Councilman Bill Davis's cartoons and music? (continued)

August 18, 1998 -- Cyber-tsunami boils the virtual water cooler
By Matt Beer, San Francisco Examiner

President Clinton's historic on-air mea culpa was followed by a historic on-line tidal wave of instant reaction.

News and "portal" Web sites like Yahoo logged a crushing record number of visits from Web users, who unleashed an outpouring of sound and fury that most agreed signified, well, not much. (continued)

August 17, 1998 -- The Internet and politics
By Larry Abramson, National Public Radio

In the latest in a series on how the Internet is changing society, NPR's Larry Abramson reports on how it is affecting politics. Many candidates have Websites, some more sophisticated than others. And advocacy groups make good use of the Internet, posting voter guides. Until now though, it's been hard to target specific groups of voters, such as property owners, retirees, or college students. But that is beginning to change and the Internet is likely to play a more important part of the political process. (continued)

August 16, 1998 -- Proposed five-minute debates have pros and cons for voters
By Dan Weintraub, Orange County Register

Dan Lungren and Gray Davis have been moaning all year that television news has all but ignored their race for governor, making it hard for them to get their messages across.

Now the two candidates are being given the chance to go beyond the 30-second commercials that cost them so much money but do so little to inform voters.

A national group trying to raise the level of political discourse is offering to sponsor eight televised "mini-debates" in September and October. (continued)

August 6, 1998 -- Campaign finance reports may be posted online quickly
By Mary Anne Ostrom, San Jose Mercury News

Pushing the reporting of campaign finances to the electronic frontier in California, Secretary of State Bill Jones on Wednesday urged all statewide and legislative candidates in November races to electronically submit reports. Jones promised he would post the information quickly on the Internet, for the first time giving the public free and broad access to the names of contributors and how much they give.

In a strongly worded statement, Jones said voters and the media should "vociferously encourage'' candidates to participate. He has given the campaigns until Aug. 21 to respond. (continued)

August 4, 1998 -- Readers split over suggested change in voting
By Sue Hutchison, San Jose Mercury News

Readers were divided over California Voter Foundation director Kim Alexander's suggestion that voters be allowed to vote "I Don't Know" on ballot propositions. Many thought this would send a long-overdue message to legislators, while others thought it would undermine the democratic process. (continued)

August 3, 1998 -- Nationwide, candidates spin the web
By John Martin,

Phil Noble predicts that before 1998 is over, some unsuspecting, well-entrenched elected official - probably from a university town or high-tech region - will be toppled from office by a young, under-funded challenger using the unlikeliest of political slingshots.

The Internet.

When that happens, says Noble, a Democratic consultant who has lectured about politics and the World Wide Web, online campaigns will finally establish themselves as indespensable electoral tools. (continued)

July 31, 1998 -- Lungren, Davis finally get some air time
By Timm Herdt, Ventura County Star

In May, the joke circulating in California political circles was that the only way the candidates for governor in the June primary could get television coverage would be to hold a debate on an L.A. freeway with a high-speed chase going by.

But the primary is over, the state's television industry has been heavily criticized for its paucity of political coverage in the spring, and there are growing signs that TV is going to become engaged in the fall campaign. (continued)

July 28, 1998 -- Ballot measures are all pops and buzzes to me
By Sue Hutchison, Columnist, San Jose Mercury News

Three months from now, conscientious voters will try to decipher a gizillion ballot initiatives in the November 1998 election guide, and they'll end up either drinking heavily or bursting into tears. Or both. That's what passes for the democratic process in California these days. We are expected to decide highly complex issues written in a dialect understood only by sadistic attorneys while we elect legislators to enact laws we end up having to make ourselves.

We're lousy with democracy in this state, and it's got to be stopped.

Certainly Kim Alexander thinks so. She's the director of the online California Voter Foundation in Sacramento. When the head of a non-partisan voter information clearinghouse based in the state capital thinks we have too much democracy, I think we can agree something has gone seriously wrong. (continued)

July 22, 1998 -- Bulk e-mail becomes the politician's tool
By Rebecca Fairley Raney, New York Times' Cybertimes

Every day, Jim Hodges sends e-mail to his supporters. It always starts with a countdown against his opponent, David Beasley, the Republican Governor of South Carolina. A recent mailing started like this:

"Wednesday, July 15, 1998 Days until David Beasley returns to Society Hill, SC: 112"

The message continued with these remarks: "After running one of the nation's worst public school systems, Governor David Beasley traveled to Iowa this week to preach about -- what else -- education.

"The subject of campaign cash may have also come up."

With the daily mailing, the Hodges campaign has seized a concept that is becoming commonplace this year among Net-literate political candidates and officeholders. Mass e- mail lists -- once the exclusive domain of techno-activists -- have hit the mainstream of politics. (continued)

July 15, 1998 -- Virtual campaigning
By Marian Currinder, Center for Responsive Politics

Minnesota gubernatorial contender Ted Mondale quietly made history last October when he became the first candidate to buy advertising space on the World Wide Web. His ad, which ran for three months, appeared on Checks and Balances, a Web site that covers Minnesota politics. Editor-in-Chief Shawn Towle says Mondale paid $100 per month. (continued)

July 9, 1998 -- City cuts Web link with councilman's page
By Susan Gembrowski, San Diego Union-Tribune Staff Writer

Officials here have disconnected the link between the city's World Wide Web site and the campaign Web site of a city councilman running for mayor.

Some residents, among them former Mayor Jim Rady, had complained that the link to Councilman Keith Beier's site was inappropriate.
"I would consider it irregular, and I also want to know how this was approved," Rady said yesterday.

Beier said he paid for the development and maintenance of his Web page and received approval from the city's computer specialists to link his site to Escondido's taxpayer-funded official page. (continued)

July 1, 1998 -- A New Kind of Party Animal: How the Young are Tearing up the American Political Landscape
Authored by Michele Mitchell, published by Simon & Schuster

June 2, 1998 -- Expanded election coverage
By Molly Wright Steenson, Wired News

While today's California primary offers up the first major event of the 1998 electoral season, it also ushers in a significant milestone: the first truly wired election.

With 80 percent of the state's candidates using Web sites to promote their campaigns, the Internet has become an integral tool in the campaigning process -- in both positive and potentially not-so-positive ways.

"Web sites have become a mainstay in political campaigns in California," said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation. "Weâve watched them move from a novelty to a necessity." (continued)

June 2, 1998 -- Political consultant decides not to send bulk e-mail
By Rebecca Fairley Raney, New York Times Cybertimes

In a move hailed as a step toward preserving political discourse on the Internet, a California political consultant has decided not to send unsolicited political e-mail messages to voters.

The consultant, Robert Barnes, said he changed his plans in response to negative feedback from the public and the concerns of the Democratic candidates who paid for positions on the slate. (continued)

June 1, 1998 -- Net a center for election info
By Courtney Macavinta, Staff Writer, CNET NEWS.COM

Online voting may still be a long way off, but a quick sweep of Net sites for tomorrow's elections show that digital democracy is definitely catching on.

Home to a high percentage of Net users, it's no surprise that California is leading the way in posting online real-time election results, extensive voter guides, and campaign contribution reports. And this year the state will hold its first open primary, meaning voters' plates are stacked with more issues and candidates to consider. This climate has inspired an array of sites dedicated to state's ballot. (continued)

May 27, 1998 -- Spam in California political race may backfire
By Rebecca Fairley Raney, New York Times Cybertimes

Sometime this week, in the final days before the California primary, a young political consultant is planning to e-mail half a million voters with political advertising promoting Democratic candidates.

This high-profile test of the Internet's political uses has brought praise from traditional campaign consultants who say political spam is inevitable and warnings from advocates of online politicking who say such mailings could destroy political discourse on the Internet. (continued)

May 25, 1998 -- Cyberspace getting crowded with candidates
By Ken Leiser, Copley News Service

SACRAMENTO -- Traditionally, political campaigns have taken to the mailbox, the airwaves and the telephone to reach out to voting Californians.

This year, a record number of candidates also are turning to the World Wide Web to pitch positions, raise money and, yes, trade barbs to an electorate increasingly dialed in to the Internet.

No longer the quirky domain of the techno-geek candidate, the customized campaign Web site is emerging as the political lawn sign of the future, some say.

"It has moved from novelty to necessity," said Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation. "A campaign would be crazy not to have a presence on the Internet. It doesn't cost very much. It is a great way to get your message out." (continued)

April 27, 1998 -- Candidates are using the Internet to plug into ...A WIRED ELECTORATE; Digital citizens' use of technology is having the Net effect of changing politics, bit by bit
Article by Philip Trounstine, Political Editor, San Jose Mercury News

Californians who are plugged into the Internet -- already more than four in 10 registered voters -- are enjoying an unprecedented explosion of information sources this year as cyber-technology helps to reshape the electoral process. (continued)

March 6, 1998 -- Big-time California politics moves to Net
Article by Craig Menefee for Newsbytes News Network

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., 1998 MAR 6 (NB) -- The nonprofit California Voter Foundation (CVF) says 60 percent of California's statewide candidates now have campaign sites on the World Wide Web, a major turnabout from previous elections. Also, of the five main ballot measures to be voted on in November, only one lacks a related Web site, the foundation says. (continued)

Februrary 24, 1998 -- Managing Director at the California Voter Foundation
Feature story in Hotwired's Dream Jobs, by Sarah Miles

"This is our first serious job announcement," admits Kim Alexander, the human hurricane behind the California Voter Foundation, a nonprofit information service she invented four years ago with the modest goal of revolutionizing state politics. "We're about to enter a major growth period - we think we can be the PBS of the Internet." (continued)

February, 1998 -- The Tube, the Web and the Voter
By Jack Kavanaugh, for Political Pulse

It's no secret the television audience is shrinking. That not only worries television executives, it also has political implications. Television is, after all, the primary source of information for voters. So, what's the trend? And what does the trend mean? Ask Kim Alexander.

After working with Common Cause, Kim established the non-partisan CaliforniaVoter Foundation just as Internet technology began to emerge and spread.That was four years ago, now Kim is a recognized national expert on the role of the internet in politics. (continued)

October 15, 1997 -- Political reform the old-fashioned way
Column by Peter Schrag, Sacramento Bee

It's been a truism among political moralists that the only way to enact any significant reform is through voter initiatives. Indeed, some reformers think that probably the best reason for having the initative at all is to clean up the campaign and elections process. (continued)

October 15, 1997 -- Californians will gain easy, computerized access to political disclosure records
Editorial, San Jose Mercury News

t's about time.

After three years, the Legislature and Gov. Wilson have enacted a law that will shed digital sunlight on who gives what to whom in state campaigns.

Campaign financing is complex, but if SB 49 is put in place as envisioned, getting the information will be as easy as entering a query into a computer search engine. That's miles ahead of driving to Sacramento to thumb through thousands of paper files before making copies at a dime a page. (continued)

October, 1997 -- Campaign finance reform goes public -- Kim Alexander is leading a crusade to electrify the electorate
Article by Rob Riddell, The Web Magazine

ne day in 1976, when she was 11 years old, Kim Alexander's father baffled her. Richard Alexander was at home, in the midst of a reelection campaign as a Culver City, California city councilman when a man knocked on the door and offered him a $500 contribution. Her father turned the man away.

"I asked him why he said no to so much money," Alexander recalls. "He said, 'I don't know that man, I don't like him, and I don't want him to think I owe him anything.'"

Alexander turns her demanding blue eyes on me: "Can you imagine a candidate for state or federal office turning down a big contribution for any reason today?" (continued)

October 14, 1997 -- Electronic sunshine: Campaign disclosure on the Internet is a real reform
Editorial, Sacramento Bee

fter years of resistance, the California Legislature has finally approved and Gov. Pete Wilson has signed into law a bill to put campaign finance records on the Internet. The bill, SB 49, authored by Sen. Betty Karnette, is easily the most important political campaign reform of the decade.

...Kim Alexander, executive director of the California Voter Foundation, deserves special recognition. Under Alexander's leadership, the foundation has kept pressure on the Legislature and kept the disclosure issue alive. (continued)

October 12, 1997 -- California Governor signs bill to put campaign donations online
Article by Rebecca Fairly Raney, New York Times' Cybertimes

y the 2000 election, California voters will be able to go to the Internet, type in the names of candidates and find out who gave them money under a bill signed into law Saturday by Gov. Pete Wilson.

The electronic grapevine in California lit up this year with week-to-week updates about the status of the bill from the non-partisan, nonprofit California Voter Foundation. More than 700 people received the updates, including many reporters based outside Sacramento. (continued)

October 12, 1997 -- California campaign filings to go online
Article by Jeff Pelline, CNET News

ften prodded by campaign finance reform groups, lawmakers increasingly are agreeing to put the finance reports online.

"Thirteen state legislatures acted this year to move their state's political disclosure records into the digital sunlight," according to a report issued Friday by the California Voter Foundation. "In addition, 17 other states have mandatory or voluntary electronic filing and online disclosure systems in operation or in the works." (continued)

September, 1997 -- California Voter Foundation: 1997 SITE Award Winner
Best Educational Site, Sacramento News and Review

he California Voter Foundation has been publishing nonpartisan online voter guides since 1994, making it one of the first groups to ever put voter resources on the Web.

Cal Voter's most recent offering is a guide to Californiaâs Legislature, a guide to help people better understand and participate in the state lawmaking process...(continued)

August 31, 1997 -- Now you can keep tabs on lawmakers on the Web
Associated Press, reprinted in the Marin Independent Journal

Californians trying to figure out what their Legislature is doing as it deals with hundreds of bills in the frantic final two weeks have a new tool on the Internet.

The Internet Guide to California's Legislature is sponsored by the California Voter Foundation, a nonprofit organization that tries to make state government information more available to the public, and the University of California at Davis. (continued)

May 29, 1997 -- Graft Online -- Interview with Kim Alexander
Article by Wyn Hilty, Orange County Weekly

Kim Alexander has a dream: one day, voters across the nation will be able to find out who owns their politicians with a few keystrokes.

Alexander heads the California Voter Foundation (CVF), a nonprofit organization in Sacramento dedicated to promoting the cause of online campaign-finance disclosure. The group's efforts have won widespread media attention, including brief mention in the May issue of Wired magazine. (continued)

May, 1997 -- Private Eyes, Public Records
Wired Magazine, May 1997

ike a detective snapping photos of a cheating spouse, Kim Alexander doesn't ask permission to get the goods on public officials.

As head of the California Voter Foundation, a non-partisan group that uses technology to educate voters, Alexander is pushing for a law that would require political candidates, parties, and lobbying organizations to file electronic lists of campaign contributions. (continued)

April 12, 1997 -- Leaders try to nudge campaign finance reporting into computer age
By Mary Anne Ostrum, San Jose Mercury News

ACRAMENTO -- More than two decades ago, fed-up California voters said it was
time state candidates made public the sources of their campaign money. Voters got a
monumental paper-filing system requiring curious voters to make a trip to a government depository in Los Angeles, San Francisco or Sacramento.

On Monday, Secretary of State Bill Jones is launching a plan that finally begins moving California's campaign-information system into the electronic age. (continued)

March, 1997 -- Internet Guru:Voter Foundation attempts to inform surfers about elections, government
By Jennifer Kerr, Associated Press Writer

ACRAMENTO (AP) -- The political, computer and civic threads of Kim Alexander's life have come together - electronically and philosophically - in the voter education organization she has led from obscurity to cyberspace. Alexander directs the California Voter Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making more and more information about politicians, their campaign contributions and state government easily available on the Internet. (continued)

March 12, 1997 -- FOI winners: Announcing the winners of the 12th annual James Madison Freedom of Information Awards
San Francisco Bay Guardian

HE STRUGGLE to protect the public's right to know is often a lonely one, and the heroes of that struggle are too often unrecognized. So every year the northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists takes time out to honor these unsung heroes. (continued)

February 24, 1997 -- Netting Crooked Politicians
By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Daily News

Kim Alexander traces her on-line crusade for ethical politics to a knock on her parents' front door.

She was only 11 at the time. A stranger asked to come inside and speak with her father, Richard, a Culver City councilman. The man talked to her father for a long time and eventually offered him a campaign contribution of $500. Cash. (continued)

October 30, 1996 -- Politics On-Line: The Best, The Worst, the Ugliest
By Mitchel Benson, The Wall Street Journal/California

Only two years ago, the California Voter Foundation dragged politicians kicking and screaming into the computer age when it posted on the Internet the biographies, endorsements and position papaers of 32 statewide candidates in the November elections.(continued)

August 7, 1996 -- Let's retire the quill pen
Editorial, Sacramento Bee

The Legislature is taking one more crack at something that ought to be the most straightforward and uncontroversial of issues (continued)

July 25, 1996 -- Does not compute: Why hasn't the information age caught up with the capitol?
By Nick Budnick, Sacramento News & Review

Politicians cannot be bought, as any politician will tell you. You may, however, be able to purchase some quality time with them... (continued)

February 17, 1996 -- Politicians Put Principles On The Line
By Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News

Sixty-five non-incumbent candidates for the state Legislature and a quarter of sitting legislators have now signed a clean government pledge drafted by a San Jose-area civic group. (continued)

February 9, 1996 -- Only 1 Orange County lawmaker signs campaign pledge
By Daniel M. Weintraub, Orange County Register

Only one of Orange County's 11 state lawmakers has signed a citizen-drafted pledge committing legislators and candidates to obey the law, campaign cleanly and work to minimize the influence of money in politics. (continued)

February 4, 1996 -- Activist seeks greater public observation of public governance
By Daniel M. Weintraub, Orange County Register

Kim Alexander remembers fondly the time she helped pack the gallery with ordinary citizens for a Sunday-evening session of the state Assembly during a long and frustrating stalemate over the budget. (continued)

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This page was first published on August 6, 1996 | Last updated on March 19, 1999
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