Brian McClendon, a notable engineering government at startups and enormous tech firms, together with Google and Uber, has introduced his candidacy to run for the open seat of secretary of state of Kansas. He’ll compete within the Democratic major scheduled for August seventh.
McClendon has been a lifelong engineer, rising up within the state and receiving his undergraduate diploma in electrical engineering on the College of Kansas. He spent nearly a decade at Silicon Graphics earlier than turning into a co-founder of Keyhole, a visible mapping startup which might ultimately promote to Google in 2004 and develop into what’s as we speak often called Google Earth (Google Earth famously centered its visible globe on McClendon’s childhood house of Meadowbrook Flats). He was most lately VP of Maps and Enterprise Platform at Uber.
Whereas he has spent a lot of the previous twenty years within the Bay Space, he returned house to Kansas final yr following the election of President Donald Trump. “Expertise can convey you house,” he described to me. “We reached a degree on the finish of 2016 that grew to become problematic on the political facet and that was the impetus to surrender my administration profession within the Valley and return right here.”
McClendon has been a analysis professor on the College of Kansas for the previous yr, however as he was speaking with voters, he realized there was a big hole between the duties of secretary of state and the actions that the present and former holders of the place have taken.
Software program is important to lots of the techniques operated by the secretary, however Kansas’ present choices had been lackluster, significantly in voter registration. “After I began to work on it and constructed some instruments within the space, I used to be rapidly capable of construct one thing higher than the present state providing,“ McClendon mentioned. He believes there is a chance to take his earlier expertise in Silicon Valley and enhance authorities providers throughout the board with higher software program.
It’s not simply usability that may be a concern, but in addition the safety of that information. McClendon defined to me that voter rolls are one of many few paths states have to have interaction with large information, however there are a variety of challenges in managing extremely delicate and private data.
He gave the instance of Crosscheck, which is a Kansas-sponsored program to examine voter rolls for duplicate voters by compiling information from 26 different states. Safety points with the add and obtain of information has allowed a minimum of a few of that information to be leaked, and the algorithm for de-duplication has had considerably excessive charges of false positives. McClendon described the implementation as “sub-par.”
The function of secretary of state in Kansas contains managing elections, dealing with enterprise filings, together with incorporations and licensing, and releasing information and experiences about Kansas state authorities, together with the state’s Kansas Register.
The present secretary of state, Kris Kobach, is operating for governor. Kobach is among the many most vocal politicians on voter fraud, and he was the “de facto chief” of President Trump’s Advisory Fee on Election Integrity, which regarded into claims that as much as 5 million individuals voted illegally within the 2016 presidential election. That fee was dissolved a couple of weeks in the past.
To this point, 5 candidates have introduced their candidacies for the function, together with Lucy Steyer, who will compete with McClendon within the Democratic major, in addition to Kelly Arnold, Keith Esau and Scott Schwab, who’re operating as Republicans in response to Ballotpedia. That is McClendon’s first run for public workplace.
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