Candidates for Secretary of State Spar at Debate

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Alex Padilla, left, and Pete Peterson are shown in downtown Los Angeles in March. Both are running for the position of California secretary of state. (Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Republican Pete Peterson sparred verbally with Democrat Alex Padilla on Thursday as the two candidates for California secretary of state outlined their plans for improving voter participation in elections and upgrading the office’s antiquated business registration system.

Voters will decide the contest in the Nov. 4 election.

The first face-to-face meeting of the candidates since the primary saw general agreement that too few Californians are voting and it is too hard for businesses to register and operate in California, but the candidates differed over who was best qualified to fix the problems.

The forum was hosted at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento by the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan think tank. The group’s president, Mark Baldassare, was moderator and asked each candidate how they would address the historically low voter turnout experienced in the June primary.

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