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Debra Bowen


Picture of Debra Bowen
Date Party Office Votes Result
11-03-1992 Democratic AD-53 95703 Win
11-08-1994 Democratic AD-53 66114 Win
11-05-1996 Democratic AD-53 88238 Win
11-03-1998 Democratic SD-28 115672 Win
11-05-2002 Democratic SD-28 114145 Win
11-07-2006 Democratic Secretary of State 4032553 Win
11-02-2010 Democratic Secretary of State 5105600 Win

Candidate Biography:

Born: October 27, 1955 in Rockford, Illinois
Married: Mark Nechodom ​(m. 2003; div. 2017)
Child: One

1989: Fellow, CORO Fellows Program
2011: Special Primary Candidate for CD-36 (Lost; 21.1%)
2012: Delegate, Democratic National Convention

  • LEGISLATION: Author of AB 1624 (1993) which requires the California Legislature to post legislative information such as bills, committee analyses and vote tallies on the Internet. [Chapter 1235/Stats of 1993]
  • LEGISLATION: Author of AB 1787 (1993) banning the sale of mercury and alkaline batteries in California.
  • AWARD: Winner of the Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation (2008)
  • Bowen made headlines in August 2007 when she decertified the electronic voting systems used by 39 of California's 58 counties.
  • LITIGATION: Bowen was the defendant in the case Keyes v. Bowen, which sought to compel presidential candidate Barack Obama to provide documentation that he is a natural-born citizen of the United States.
  • Mark Nechodom served as Director of the California Department of Conservation from 2011-2015 and was previously Deputy Director of Montana’s state Department of Agriculture.
  • Supreme Court Decision: In June 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a nonstatutory requirement imposed by the Secretary of State's office (while Bowen was Secretary) was unconstitutional. In 2010, the Secretary of State's office began requiring California non-profits to include the Form 990 Schedule B (an IRS form disclosing donors who contribute more than $5,000 or 2% of the total donations to the non-profit in a year) with their registration, or be decertified in the state. The practice was found to violate the first Amendment. (Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, 19-251, 19-255)

Source: California Assembly Handbook (1996)
Source: California Blue Book (2000)