2015 Conference Program

To download the complete program, click here.

 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 

1 p.m.  Welcome and Opening Keynote (video)

  • Welcome – Vince Hall, Executive Director, Future of California Elections
  • Keynote Speaker – Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of California (5:00 mark)

 1:30 p.m.  Opening Plenary

  •  Opening Remarks – Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State (20:00 mark)

Expanding Participation in California’s Democracy: A look at current reforms and the road ahead (video)

California’s new election practices can help to expand participation. Online Voter Registration is entering its third year and Election Day Registration will be implemented in the near future with the hope of increasing participation. This panel will look at California’s diverse demographics and how election policies and practices can help expand participation in the state’s democracy.

  • Lisa García Bedolla, Chancellor’s Professor, UC Berkeley (3:30 mark)(slides)
  • Joseph E. Holland, County Clerk, Recorder and Assessor – Registrar of Voters, County of Santa Barbara (15:45) (slides)
  • Ted Jackson, Community Organizing Director, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and Disability Organizing Network (22:20) (slides | accessible RTF)
  • Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund (30:30)
  • Kathay Feng, Executive Director, California Common Cause, Moderator

3:30 p.m.  Afternoon Sessions

Session A: Modernizing Elections: California’s new statewide voter registration database

This panel will provide an update on VoteCal and look at lessons learned from other states with centralized voter registration databases. Panelists will discuss the new voter look-up tools and public data available through the VoteCal system and potential uses for increased voter engagement.

  • Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters, County of Orange (slides)
  • Jana M. Lean, Chief of Elections, Office of the California Secretary of State (slides)
  • John Lindback, Executive Director, Election Registration Information Center (ERIC) (slides)
  • Steven Ochoa, National Redistricting Coordinator, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) (slides)
  • Kathay Feng, Executive Director, California Common Cause, Moderator

Session B: Expanding Electoral Participation through Language Access

State and federal laws require that counties provide language assistance in covered jurisdictions. Providing language assistance for limited English proficient voters ensures that all voters can participate in the election. This panel will explore new and bold efforts that are improving language assistance in California. Participants will learn about the importance of language access advisory committees and expanding the pool of eligible bilingual poll workers.

  • Zainab Badi, Claiming Our Democracy Fellow, The Greenlining Institute (slides)
  • Denise Hulett, National Senior Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
  • Deanna Kitamura, Senior Staff Attorney, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
  • Tim McNamara, Assistant Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, County of Los Angeles
  • Ofelia Medina, Director of State Civic Engagement Policy, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, Moderator

 Session C: Expanding Participation for Voters with Disabilities

All voters have the right to cast a private and independent ballot. Election administrators and advocates work to guarantee this right for voters with disabilities. This panel will review the best practices for assisting voters with disabilities. Participants will learn best practices for engaging voters with disabilities in California’s democratic process, from providing voter information in accessible formats to casting a ballot.

  • Adam Borovkoff, Web Content Specialist, Disability Rights California (slides | text only)
  • Fred Nisen, Staff Attorney, Disability Rights California (slides | text only)
  • Gail L. Pellerin, County Clerk/Registrar of Voters, County of Santa Cruz (slides | RTF)
  • Marinda Reed, Peer Self-Advocacy Senior Coordinator, Disability Rights California (slides | text only)
  • Margaret Johnson, Advocacy Director, Disability Rights California, Moderator

Session D: Expanding Participation for Young Voters

Registering young voters and engaging them to vote helps to develop a life-long habit of voting. However, young voters face challenges to participation: they move frequently, making it harder to make sure they are registered at their current address; many are new to the process and unsure about how to vote; they feel undereducated about what’s on their ballot; and some feel that their vote doesn’t matter. In this session participants will contribute to a group discussion on the challenges to youth participation, new opportunities with online voter registration and pre-registration, and how to best use educational institutions and other influencers to encourage youth participation.

  • Kirk Aranda, Youth Organizer, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers – Youth Organizing (YO!) Disabled and Proud
  • Alejandro Carillo, Student, Modesto Junior College
  • Robert Frazier, Government Relations Coordinator, California State Student Association
  • Stephanie Lew, CALPIRG Campus Relations Chair, UC Davis
  • Julian Roberto Martinez, Northern California Undergraduate Organizing Director, UC Student Association
  • Ashley Spillane, President, Rock the Vote
  • Emily Rusch, Executive Director, CALPIRG, Moderator

 5:00 p.m.  Welcome Reception

Remarks By

  • Senator Ben Allen, Chair, Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee
  • Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Chair, Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee

Thursday, February 19, 2015

 9:00 a.m.  Opening Plenary

Best Practices for Voting Information (video)

The right messengers and presentation of voting information can improve how voters get the information they need to participate in elections. This panel will review best practices for how to present voting information content through design and online platforms as well as examine the importance of having the right messengers. Participants will learn best practices for relaying voter information.

  • Melissa Breach, Executive Director, League of Women Voters of California, Moderator
  • Jared Marcotte, Officer of Elections Technology, The Pew Charitable Trusts (10:45) (slides)
  • Deanna Kitamura, Senior Staff Attorney, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (21:00) (slides)
  • Whitney Quesenbery, Co-Director, Center for Civic Design (32:30)
  • Karla Zombro, Field Director, California Calls (43:30)

11:00 a.m.  Morning Sessions

Session C: Expanding Participation for Voters with Disabilities

All voters have the right to cast a private and independent ballot. Election administrators and advocates work to guarantee this right for voters with disabilities. This panel will review the best practices for assisting voters with disabilities. Participants will learn best practices for engaging voters with disabilities in California’s democratic process, from providing voter information in accessible formats to casting a ballot.

  • Adam Borovkoff, Web Content Specialist, Disability Rights California (slides | text only)
  • Fred Nisen, Staff Attorney, Disability Rights California (slides | text only)
  • Gail L. Pellerin, County Clerk/Registrar of Voters, County of Santa Cruz (slides | RTF)
  • Marinda Reed, Peer Self-Advocacy Senior Coordinator, Disability Rights California (slides | text only)
  • Margaret Johnson, Advocacy Director, Disability Rights California, Moderator

Session E: Practice for Designing an Improved Voter Guide

This workshop will allow participants to use the best practices for voter information (link to manual) by designing a voter guide. Participants will learn how to present election information content through layout and design to produce improved voter guides.

  • Whitney Quesenbery, Co-Director, Center for Civic Design (slides | PDF)
  • Drew Davies, Designer, Oxide Design Co. / Center for Civic Design
  • Jennifer Pae, Project Manager, Voter Service and Education, League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Session F: Voting Options: Increasing ways to cast a ballot beyond Election Day (video)
Across the U.S., states are expanding the concept of Election Day beyond a single day. New voting options like vote centers and vote-by-mail allow voters to cast their ballot over a period of several days or even weeks. This panel will explore what it takes to unhook Election Day from a single day to an Election season. Panelists will discuss the technologies and public education needed to implement new voting methods; the lessons California can learn from other states using vote centers and vote-by-mail elections; and will cover the latest research on California’s vote-by-mail electorate.

  • Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, County of Los Angeles (5:45) (slides)
  • Amber McReynolds, Director of Elections, Elections Division – City and County of Denver, Colorado (18:00)
  • Mindy Romero, Director, California Civic Engagement Project, UC Davis Center for Regional Change (33:00) (slides)
  • Karla Zombro, Field Director, California Calls (43:30)
  • Doug Chapin, Project Consultant, Future of California Elections, Moderator

Session G: Budget Challenges and Funding California’s democracy

Each election cycle, election officials are charged with conducting fair and accessible elections for all eligible California voters. Yet cuts in funding and growing mandates pose challenges each election. This panel will explore the cost of elections and the challenges that occur when mandates increase and funding does not. Participants will learn how elections get budgeted and the latest research on the cost of elections.

  • Cathy Darling Allen, County Clerk/Registrar of Voters, County of Shasta (slides)
  • Alice Jarboe, Assistant Registrar of Voters, County of Sacramento
  • Chris Hoene, Executive Director, California Budget Project (background)
  • Geoff Neill, Principal Policy and Fiscal Analyst, California State Association of Counties (slides)
  • Kim Alexander, President, California Voter Foundation, Moderator

1:00 p.m.  Lunch Presentation: Voter Experience Project – Los Angeles County & Greenlining Institute (video) (discussion video)

2:00 p.m.  Afternoon Sessions

Session A: Modernizing Elections: California’s new statewide voter registration database (video)

This panel will provide an update on VoteCal and look at lessons learned from other states with centralized voter registration databases. Panelists will discuss the new voter look-up tools and public data available through the VoteCal system and potential uses for increased voter engagement.

  • Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters, County of Orange (3:15)(slides)
  • Jana M. Lean, Chief of Elections, Office of the California Secretary of State (16:00)(slides)
  • Gary Poser, Minnesota/Board Chair – Election Registration Information Center (ERIC) (23:30) (slides)
  • Steven Ochoa, National Redistricting Coordinator, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) (33:00)(slides)
  • Kathay Feng, Executive Director, California Common Cause, Moderator

Session B: Expanding Electoral Participation through Language Access

State and federal laws require that counties provide language assistance in covered jurisdictions. Providing language assistance for limited English proficient voters ensures that all voters can participate in elections. This panel will explore new and bold efforts that are improving language assistance in California. Participants will learn about the importance of language access advisory committees and expanding the pool of eligible bilingual poll workers.

  • Zainab Badi, Claiming Our Democracy Fellow, The Greenlining Institute (slides)
  • Denise Hulett, National Senior Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
  • Deanna Kitamura, Senior Staff Attorney, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
  • Tim McNamara, Assistant Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, County of Los Angeles
  • Ofelia Medina, Director of State Civic Engagement Policy, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, Moderator

Session E: Practice for Designing an Improved Voter Guide

This workshop will allow participants to use the best practices for voter information (link to manual) by designing a voter guide. Participants will learn how to present election information content through layout and design to produce improved voter guides.

  • Whitney Quesenbery, Co-Director, Center for Civic Design (slides | PDF)
  • Drew Davies, Designer, Oxide Design Co. / Center for Civic Design
  • Jennifer Pae, Project Manager, Voter Service and Education, League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Session F: Voting Options: Increasing ways to cast a ballot beyond Election Day

Across the U.S., states are expanding the concept of Election Day beyond a single day. New voting options like vote centers and vote-by-mail allow voters to cast their ballot over a period of several days or even weeks. This panel will explore what it takes to unhook Election Day from a single day to an Election season. Panelists will discuss the technologies and public education needed to implement new voting methods; the lessons California can learn from other states using vote centers and vote-by-mail elections; and will cover the latest research on California’s vote-by-mail electorate.

  • Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, County of Los Angeles (slides)
  • Amber McReynolds, Director of Elections, Elections Division – City and County of Denver, Colorado
  • Mindy Romero, Director, California Civic Engagement Project, UC Davis Center for Regional Change (slides)
  • Karla Zombro, Field Director, California Calls
  • Doug Chapin, Project Consultant, Future of California Elections, Moderator

4:00 p.m. Closing Plenary: Looking Forward to an Expanded Electorate (video)

The low voter turnout in the 2014 elections raised much frustration across the nation. However, the elections community continues to see the silver lining that change is possible. Past policies and practices have increased participation, as is evident by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This panel will look at what states and organizers are doing nationally to increase participation and discuss the future policies and practices that will expand the electorate in years to come.  

  • John Fortier, Director of the Democracy Project, Bipartisan Policy Center (4:20)
  • Gary Poser, Director of Elections, Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State (11:55)
  • Amber McReynolds, Director of Elections, Elections Division – City and County of Denver, Colorado (21:20)
  • Justin Levitt, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (30:15)
  • Doug Chapin, Project Consultant, Future of California Elections, Moderator

Astrid Garcia Ochoa, Deputy Director, Future of California Elections, Master of Ceremonies