'Our nation has lost a true hero of democracy...I salute his courage for asking the tough questions'
PLUS: Activist turned CA Dep. SoS Lowell Finley offers his unique perspective as well...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2009, 11:22am PT  

I'm certain that John would have been simply flabbergasted at the outpouring of emotional response and moving tributes upon his passing --- in particular from various public officials, many of whom he'd been at odds with at various times over the years.

The latest comes this morning in the form of condolences, and a very moving statement on his loss, from OH Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner via her Director of Communications, Patrick Gallaway...

Secretary Brunner and our staff send our deepest regrets to the family and friends of John Gideon, Executive Director of Voters Unite. His vigilant efforts have never gone unnoticed by our office, in fact many of our staff looked forward to his daily e-mails, knowing that he would provide a view of happenings in other parts of the country especially in times when we were too busy to find these stories on our own. He provided a tremendous resource in just that small way alone.

Message from Ohio Secretary of State Jenifer Brunner on the passing of John Gideon:

"Our nation has lost a true hero of democracy with the passing of John Gideon. John will be remembered and honored for his skills to keep so many people engaged in the elections process. His ability to gather, relay and assess elections information from across the country was simply amazing and through his organization of Voters Unite kept so many informed on the hot-button issues that at times truly drive our work to provide elections for all Americans that are free, fair, open and honest.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands during challenge and controversy." I think we all know where John stood and I salute his courage for asking the tough questions.

John will also be remembered for his dedication to veteran voters and I honor him for his service to our country in one of the most contentious of wars - Vietnam. Thank you John for your patriotism, support of an elections system that treated all as equals and your efforts to help voters from across the country. I do hope your valued work will live on, you will be missed."

Earlier, we posted moving statements issued by CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen and former EAC Chair Rosemary Rodriguez.

Joyce McCloy continues to update her tribute page with excerpts from, and links to a host of wonderful tributes being posted from around the country. One of those tributes, worth noting here, comes from Lowell Finley, who is in a unique place to comment on the loss of John. Lowell served as the Director of VoterAction.org, a grassroots legal organization who filed lawsuits to challenge the use of electronic voting systems around the nation, including in CA, before he was named by Bowen, in 2007, as a Deputy Sec. of State.

His brief comments, offering a unique perspective from both sides of the fence --- citizen activist and then public official --- follow below...

John Gideon lent quiet assistance many times during the years I worked on election integrity issues as a private citizen. I often called upon his extensive knowledge for answers to questions about specific voting systems and problems that arose in their use across the country. He usually had the answer immediately. If not, he would call back soon with the needed information. John also contacted Voter Action when he came across information he thought might be of particular value. These behind-the-scenes contributions played a very important role in Voter Action’s litigation efforts. John did the same for many individuals and organizations, all while putting together the indispensable Daily Voting News.

John continued to be a positive influence when I became a state elections official. I learned, sometimes painfully, what it was like to be on the receiving end of John’s demands for accountability and transparency in the administration of elections.

John Gideon helped the election integrity movement keep rolling forward, like a hub from which many spokes radiated. He was constant, he was strong, he was fair to all and he had the courage of his convictions. I hope it is of some comfort to John’s family in their time of loss to know how much he meant to so many people, and how dearly we will miss him.

Lowell Finley
Sacramento, California

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