iPhone Democracy from Jude Barry

Local political strategist and onetime San Jose Inside blogger Jude Barry has announced a new business venture that he hopes will revolutionize the process of signature-gathering for ballot initiatives.

Barry, along with partners Michael Marubio and Steve Churchwell, announced yesterday that they are releasing an iPhone application that allows activists to distribute ballot initiative language via email or social networks, and —this is the killer app—to collect and verify signatures on iPhones, Droids or other devices. They have a snappy moniker for the device—Verafirma—and their company: the Verafirma Democracy Project.

The launch was announced yesterday in a post labeled “Excloo” on CalBuzz, a lively state-politics website run by former Merc editor Phil Trounstine and former Chron editor Jerry Roberts, where Barry is a contributing writer. The post points out that the launch could make a big splash:

Costs will be negotiable, but according to Barry, they will be “dramatically less” than the $1 to $2 per signature currently paid to signature-gathering firms. Because ballot proponents typically need about 600,000 signatures for a statutory measure and about 1 million for a constitutional amendment, cutting the price for signatures could go a long way toward empowering boot-strap, grassroots forces.

A YouTube video accompanying the launch pitches the new technology as a powerful tool for political empowerment: “Ultimately this is not about interest groups talking at voters, but friends talking with friends, neighbors talking with neighbors, all using Verafirma as a natural tool to allow them to understand and participate in their government.”


  1. On the cutting edge as always, Mr. Barry.  The revolution will not be televised, there will be an app for it.  There are always good strategists that hop on the American side of innovation.  Jude and others are the Thomas Edisons of Democracy.

  2. 2 great comments about collecting and verify signatures on iPhones, Droids or other devices.

    Comment 1) from democratic / public process optimist, liberal who while complaining is involved and doing something

    Comment 2) from democratic / public process pessimist, conservative who likes to complaint but hasn’t been actively involved except to frequently complain

    Antone want to guess who is more effective?

      • Our legislature is broken, but from that you cannot conclude that our LEGISLATORS are broken.  It is the California Constitution, which permits minority rule by requiring 2/3 votes for budgetary issues, that prevents action in the legislature.  You can keep replacing incumbents and the problem won’t go away until you fix the underlying issue.

  3. Same ol’ same ol’—everyone complains about the Legislature, but everybody re-elects the incumbents.  Same is true on the national level.

    If we did not have the 2/3 rule, the tax and spend crowd that dominates California would have us in the poor house in short order.  An illegal immigrant can obtain more government assistance than my mother, who worked her entire life, gets is Social Security.

    California was very recently the fourth largest economy in the world.  At the rate we are going giving free stuff to anyone who can enter our country illegally, we’ll be a third world country by 2030.  If we abolish the 2/3 rule, we’ll be broke by 2020.

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