A Silicon Valley startup is looking to give the clipboard-and-paper strategy for collecting petition signatures a 21st century makeover.
Verafirma is promoting technology to collect and verify signatures for initiative petitions using smart phone devices, such as iPhones and Google Droids, iPod Touches and computers.
Supporters say the change could revolutionize California's initiative process, enabling proponents to launch low-cost, grass-roots and Web-based campaigns to qualify for the ballot.
But the e-signature software has come under fire from critics, including the secretary of state, who say the digital petitions don't meet Election Code requirements and pose risks for fraud and privacy violations. And the effort recently suffered a legal blow when a judge indicated that he was inclined to reject a test petition submitted by a company founder.
Relying on the same technology used by banks and other institutions that accept digital signatures, Verafirma allows voters to use a touch screen to enter their John Hancock on a digital version of the initiative petition that is then submitted to county election officials for approval.