|28th California Secretary of State|
January 6, 2003 – March 4, 2005
|Preceded by||Bill Jones|
|Succeeded by||Cathy Mitchell|
|Born||Kevin Francis Shelley
November 16, 1955
San Francisco, California
Shelley graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep in 1973. He received his B.A. in political science from the University of California, Davis. He obtained his J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
In 1990, Shelley was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. In 1996, he won a seat in the California State Assembly. While in these positions, Shelley wrote clinic protection ordinances and sunshine laws to make government more accountable. He authored the Marine Life Protection Act that protects coastal ecosystems, the California Nursing Home Reform Act to protect the elderly, and the Healthy Schools Act to protect children from pesticides. He created a voting reform package that includes a Voters' Bill of Rights and allows each voter to permanently vote by mail. Term limits prevented Shelley from seeking a fourth term as an Assemblyman in 2002, so he sought election as California's Secretary of State, the state's chief elections official.
Within weeks of taking office as Secretary of State, petitions were filed to recall Governor Gray Davis, a fellow Democrat. Six months after taking office, Shelley had to certify that there were enough signatures on these petitions to mandate the 2003 gubernatorial recall election, the first such election in state history. As Secretary of State, Shelley was responsible for overseeing that statewide special election.
Shelley was generally credited with good work on his handling of the 2003 recall election and on his handling of the controversy over the verifiability of electronic voting machines. He was the first state election official to decertify DRE voting machine systems already in use, to require all DRE voting machine systems to contain an accessible paper copy of a person's vote, and to adopt standards and security measures for such systems. He also initiated an investigation into electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions), and at the conclusion of the investigation, requested that then-State Attorney General Bill Lockyer investigate Diebold for criminal fraud.
But after that, he became embroiled in a number of scandals. A number of former staffers and other associates came forward and accused Shelley of abusive behavior toward his underlings. Other accusations surfaced charging that Shelley received allegedly laundered campaign funds during his race for Secretary of State. Shelley maintained that he did not know that the funds were illicitly transferred to his campaign treasury. (After an investigation, then-state Attorney General Bill Lockyer publicly exonerated Shelley, saying he was innocent of any wrongdoing in connection with the case.) On October 29, 2004, Shelley replaced three of his top aides, including his trusted assistant state secretary of communications, with veteran civil servants, in an effort to bring more accountability to his office.
Shelley announced his resignation on February 4, 2005, to be effective March 1 although he did not leave office until March 4. Chief Deputy Secretary of State Cathy Mitchell briefly served as Secretary of State until Bruce McPherson, a Republican, was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Upon taking office, McPherson reversed Shelley's actions, and on March 10. 2006, McPherson certified the DRE voting machines without verifiable, auditable paper trails.
- HR 71 Assembly House Resolution, July 11, 2002, retrieved March 7, 2009
- Wasserman, Jim (April 30, 2004), Calif. secretary of state pulls plug on some e-voting, AP
- Williams, Lance; Martin, Mark (August 29, 2009), "Shelley's career is a study in contradictions", San Francisco Chronicle
- Selna, Robert (July 10, 2008), "Willie Brown is only witness for Julie Lee", San Francisco Chronicle
- Berthelsen, Christian (October 29, 2004), "Shelley to replace three of his top aides", San Francisco Chronicle
- Berthelsen, Christian; Hua, Vanessa (February 5, 2005), "Shelley Quits:", San Francisco Chronicle
- Berthelsen, Christian (March 5, 2005), "Shelley officially out; nomination hearings set", San Francisco Chronicle
- Doyle, Jim (November 8, 2006), "Bowen beats McPherson in secretary of state race", San Francisco Chronicle
- State of California Secretary of State (February 17, 2006). Approval of use of Diebold Election Systems, Inc.
- State Bar of CA: Kevin Shelley, The State Bar of California, retrieved March 7, 2009
|California State Assemblyman, 12th District
|California Secretary of State
|Party political offices|
|California State Assembly Majority Floor Leader
March 19, 1998 – February 7, 2002