This letter first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle Letters to the Editor on March 23, 2016, in response to Why your signature is worth more than ever.

Regarding “Populist concept now for the rich” (March 21): For some time now, the giant special interests such as Big Tobacco have gamed the initiative process by cornering the signature-gathering market. So how can we Californians restore, indeed revolutionize, the people’s direct check on the special interests?

Let me suggest that the Legislature and the governor should enact a law to allow voters to electronically sign ballot measure petitions. If we can allow voter registration online, we can allow e-signatures for ballot measure petitions. We need to bring direct democracy into the 21st century. The special interests have gamed the initiative process long enough. E-signatures would be a populist game-changer.

Bob Ryan, San Francisco

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