Election integrity, voter turnout among top priorities for secretary of state candidates

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In the November race for California secretary of state, the candidates — Republican business executive Robert Bernosky and incumbent Shirley Weber, a Democratic former lawmaker — seem to agree on one thing: the need to boost voter registration and turnout at the polls.

The secretary of state serves as California’s chief elections officer and provides voters with information about ballot measures, statewide candidates, campaign financing and lobbying activity in Sacramento. The agency also oversees business licensing and filings in the state.

California is already among the easiest states to register and vote, with 81% of eligible residents signed up, thanks to recent laws that expanded voting rights and access.

Yet during their campaigns, both Bernosky and Weber said they have seen growing apathy among voters. They say some Californians feel as though their vote doesn’t matter, or that they lack an adequate understanding of current political issues. Others say they are simply too busy to show up at the polls or to drop off or mail in their ballots.

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