Off the ballot, not off your political radar

It’s no longer OK to know nothing about technology

The technology issues that the country is grappling with these days are complex, controversial, and critical. Yet decisions about these technical issues are being handled by politicians who sometimes boast about never having sent an email.

In January 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security designated state and local voting systems as critical infrastructure in order to offer a federal response to cyber threats.

On March 23, 2018, U.S. Congress passed a comprehensive spending bill that included $380 million dollars in funding for improving election security in the states.

On April 4th, 2018 I made the decision to run for this office, intent on bolstering cybersecurity for our voter registration management systems and protecting our right to vote.

Thank you Kevin Carter!

On May 30th, 2018 I qualified for the August Primary Ballot, submitting 6916 signatures, 1115 more than the requirement. I was officially a candidate for the office of secretary of state.

Leslie Pico for SOS!

On June 13, 2018 I was notified by Eric Spencer, the State Election Director that a lawsuit challenging my nomination petition signatures was filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court by plaintiff, Chad Campbell. He was challenging the validity of over 2,700 signatures.

The first pair of shoes to bite the dust from signature collecting

On June 21, 2018 at 8:30pm, the Maricopa County Recorder released a petition validation report claiming that I was short 678 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

On June 22, 2018 I went to trial. I owed it to the electors who had signed my petition. The signatures the county report claimed I was short were categorized as “NR-Non Registered”. I knew this was wrong. Having only 12 hours before my trial to review the county report did not give me enough time to produce all of the certified copies of the voter cards in question. I only had a spreadsheet of my personal validation results of the 2700+ Chad Campbell felt compelled enough to challenge. (I will link to the documents soon)

The judge ruled later that afternoon that I did not qualify.

On June 27, 2018 I filed an appeal and multiple public records requests to all the counties from which the signatures in question came from to prove their validity. While new evidence cannot be submitted in appeal, I wanted to be prepared if the court moved towards allowing a new trial. It was not an easy feat, Pima county charged $10 per signature and 111 of them were from Pima county alone. While the records requests still have not been completely fulfilled as of July 2nd, when they are, the records will show I had the necessary signatures to be on the ballot.

On June 29th, 2018 the Supreme Court denied my appeal.

While I am no longer on the ballot this election, this experience has not extinguished the fire behind my idealism nor will it push me back into the shadow of my laptop to watch politics unfold as a bystander.

I pledge to:

Continue to push for progressive policies and a better, digital literate government.

Place the energy and efforts I was prepared to invest in my campaign into the campaigns of my fellow progressive democrats.

Mobilize scores of volunteers and connect with voters one-on-one for historical voter turnout not only in this primary but the upcoming general election as well.

I hope I have inspired others to do the same.

And whoever you are and whatever you do in that cause, at least in spirit, I will be with you.

Leslie Pico

Like what you read? Give Leslie Pico a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.