Debra Bowen

Debra Bowen
Secretary of State, State of California


A pioneer in open government reform, election integrity, and personal privacy rights, Debra Bowen is the sixth woman in California history to have been elected to a statewide constitutional office. As the state’s chief elections officer, Secretary Bowen is responsible for overseeing state and federal elections, a role that requires her to test and certify all voting equipment. Her goal is to ensure that voting systems certified for use in California elections are secure, accurate, reliable, and accessible, and every voter’s ballot is counted exactly as it was cast. As Secretary of State, Bowen is also charged with managing many business and nonprofit organization filings, campaign finance and lobbying activity filings, the state archives, and other key government services.

An attorney, Bowen served for 14 years in the State Legislature prior to being elected Secretary of State in November 2006. In addition to being a leader on election-reform and energy issues, she authored landmark consumer protection laws to protect people from becoming identity theft victims and closed the digital divide by authoring the first-in-the-nation law that put all of California’s legislative information online.


Empowering Citizens
Location: Independence Ballroom A Level:
Debra Bowen (State of California)
"We can really change the way people own their country if they know how it works.” That’s California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on the importance of Civics education. In this conversation with Tim O’Reilly, Secretary Bowen will talk about the role of an informed citizenry in the working of government, as well as California’s progress towards open government. Read more.
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