Geoff Sebesta | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Geoff Sebesta

Political party: 
Democrat
Question 1: 

What is your vision for strengthening civic participation in Kentucky? How will our commonwealth be better in four years if you are elected?

The Secretary of State is in charge of making sure that people can vote; it is up to the candidates to make them want to vote.  I intend to run an entertaining and extremely challenging campaign, but upon winning, my role will change substantially.  Over my four years in office there will be more felons who can vote, more early voting, more absentee voting, and more people able to participate fully in our closed primary system, but during my term it will be entirely up to those running for election to make people want to vote.  I will practice scrupulous fairness and avoid even the appearance of partisan behavior. I will run the most transparent administration in the history of the office, with instant publication of all official correspondence and a complete refusal to receive any privileged or secret information, as I am against all government secrecy in principle. I will use the powers of the Kentucky Constitution to expand the Secretary's reporting practices as far into the office of the Governor as I possibly can. Finally, I will greatly increase the access of Kentuckians to business incorporation and other official business services.

Question 2: 

How does your background qualify you for serving in this office? Please provide examples of your advocacy to protect and promote civic engagement in Kentucky.

I left Kentucky shortly after high school and had a number of adventures, working on political campaigns everywhere, for gubernatorial candidates in Texas and in New Jersey city council races, participating in endangered redwood treesits with North Coast Earth First, focalizing a nomadic activist medical collective named C.A.L.M. for over a decade, organizing with Occupy Austin, having two beautiful children and returning to Kentucky.  I was inspired by the Take Back Cheapside campaign and have worked extensively in Kentucky politics over the last two years.  I had central roles in the Arnold Farr, Rikka Wallin, and Geoff Young campaigns last year and worked as a volunteer for Adrian Wallace, Cherlynn Stevens, and Kelly Smith down in Berea. Lately I've been working with the Lexington DSA, mostly as a focalizer for their Public Works Committee.

I also have extensive secretarial experience and can type more than 100wpm.

Question 3: 

What is your view on modernizing state election laws? Specifically, do you support allowing early voting, mail-in ballots, extended hours at polling locations, offering ballots in multiple languages and other election reforms? Please explain.

I support early voting unreservedly. I think that the security problems presented by mail-in ballots are so similar to the security problems presented by internet voting that we might as well go all the way to internet voting, but I will bow to the will of my constituency on this issue. I am unreservedly in favor of extending hours at voting locations, offering ballots in whatever language anybody wants, assisting individual counties in instituting systems with paper ballots and optical scanning, protecting our voting records and allowing easy recounts with blockchain technology, instituting an advisory microvoting system, opening permanent voting centers in city centers (budget and political will permitting), improving the ballot access of write-in candidates, allowing same-day party registration for closed primaries, starting a state-wide conversation about ranked choice voting and other voting methods beyond first-past-the-post, and offering the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky at least three new types of "I Voted" stickers.

Question 4: 

If you become Secretary of State, what will you do to increase voter registration and turnout?

The Secretary of State can only increase registration, not turnout.  As a candidate for the office I will increase turnout by running a campaign that captures the imagination of the electorate, strengthens the Democratic field, and offers real benefits to the citizenry. As Secretary I will cease campaigning and partisan activity completely, and I will use that office to do everything in my power to expand voter registration in as many ways as possible, focusing first on the restoration of voting rights to felons.  I am open to everything from lowering the voting age to mobile voting vans that drive up to people on the sidewalk, but the re-enfranchisement of felons comes first.

Question 5: 

Do you support a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to the tens of thousands of Kentuckians with felonies in their past who have completed their sentence? Please explain.

Absolutely.  This can't go far enough.

Voting is nothing more than a traditional form of an opinion poll.  Rather than calling a land line sixty times in a day, in the olden days everybody had to walk to one spot to write their vote down. That's all it is.  A vote is an opinion, and everybody has the inalienable right to an opinion.

Voting does not only make decisions.  It legitimates the decisions and helps the people who did not get their way to reconcile themselves to the will of the group. Voting makes people feel included, valued, and invested.  There is nothing wrong with offering that to anyone.  Everybody has the right to a point of view. 

The direct benefits of this are obvious. The American prison-industrial complex and the farcical "War on Drugs" would probably never have gotten so bad or hurt so many if the people most affected by it had been able to vote and tell the rest of America what was happening to them.