2015 Accomplishments

Improved Californians’ access to voter registration:

  • Promoted usage and awareness of California’s Online Voter Registration (COVR) by assisting cities with high rates of eligible but unregistered underrepresented populations with integration of COVR into their websites, providing training and outreach to student groups, conducting research on best practices for using COVR at colleges, and launching a COVR promotion program with private corporations.
  • Partnered with the Office of the California Secretary of State to expand and improve voter registration opportunities at California’s public assistance agencies and offices serving people with disabilities, including conducting over 30 regional and county trainings and webinars across the state.
  • Engaged with the Office of the California Secretary of State to develop a strategy for improving voter registration practices at colleges and universities across the state.
  • Requested briefings on the developments of VoteCal from the Office of the California Secretary of State and counties engaged in VoteCal testing in order to monitor the progress of implementation; and issued a report on VoteCal project history.
  • Worked with a large coalition of stakeholders to inform policy development of California’s new motor voter law, provided a key list of questions to consider for modernizing voter registration, and created an FAQ document on the new motor voter law.
  • Confirmed the right to register to vote of persons who are under supervision in their communities as a result of criminal justice realignment in California.

Improved Californians’ voting experience:

  • Developed and distributed materials to provide best plain language practices and support voters regardless of English proficiency or disability in all California counties; provided support to redesign voter guides in 12 counties through hands-on clinics and in 31 counties with live webinars; launched pilot project providing intensive assistance for voter guide redesign in three counties.
  • Developed three working groups to advance the voter experience for finding voting information online and via mobile platforms, and implemented policy recommendations based on the Best Practices Manual for Official Voter Information Guides.
  • Explored ballot design innovations for UOCAVA ballots, and ballots for voters with disabilities, and technology to improve processing of vote-by-mail ballots.
  • Advocated to 1) codify formal advisory bodies on language access and voters with disabilities in the Elections Code; 2) require plain language in the Voter Bill of Rights; and 3) permit students who are legal permanent residents to serve as poll workers.
  • Redrafted the Voter Bill of Rights and subjected it to intensive community review.
  • Worked with the Office of the California Secretary of State to develop preference features for language and format in the COVR and VoteCal systems for voters with disabilities and limited English proficient voters.
  • Conducted research to better understand California’s diverse population and their preferred methods of voting.
  • Shared best practices to improve the voter experience through annual conference and the Voter Experience Index.
  • Worked with San Diego County to develop implementation plans for all vote-by-mail for special elections.
  • Initiated developments of an online one-stop shop for a personalized ballot by address which will be populated with substantive information on candidates, ballot measures, campaign finance information for statewide candidates and ballot measures, and election events and news. The site will also be available in a Spanish-language version.

Improved California’s election administration system:

  • Developed recruitment materials, information, social media strategy and best practices guide to recruit bilingual poll workers, including legal permanent resident poll workers, to serve on Election Day.
  • Conducted trainings in five counties and establishing local committees in four counties to assist and develop best practices for supporting voters with disabilities.
  • Evaluated alternatives to current voting options by observing elections in Colorado, developing research, and engaging in policy discussions; in order to evaluate the possible replacement of polling places with vote centers, casting a ballot at any polling site and primarily vote-by-mail elections; and advancing legislation to improve voting by mail through regulations for ballot drop off locations and establishing procedures to reduce the number of ballots rejected due to missing signatures.
  • Collaborated in a workgroup with Los Angeles County to design and test its new voting system, which includes looking at recalibration of the certification process.
  • Explored the use of electronic signatures in online voter registration and vote-by-mail.
  • Raised awareness about the disappointment in the continued suspension of state-mandated local election programs by participating in the state’s budget process.
  • Conducted research to understand the cost and funding of elections. The Election Cost Project statewide survey had nearly 100% participation by California counties and will contribute to a better understanding of election costs and the effect on election administration.
  • Conducted webinars for election officials and other stakeholders to provide information on language assistance and an overview of compliance with federal and state language assistance requirements.
  • Addressed concerns of the analysis found in the Elections Mandate Report issued by the Department of Finance on March 30, 2015 by submitting a response letter to appropriate leadership and preventing future audits based on the flawed analysis.