Current as of November 1, 2013

Lori Shellenberger
American Civil Liberties Union

Eugene Lee
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Los Angeles

Kathay Feng
California Common Cause

Jim Mayer
California Forward

Kim Alexander
California Voter Foundation

Emily Rusch

Hillary Sklar
Disability Rights California

Orson Aguilar
The Greenlining Institute

Melissa Breach
League of Women Voters of California

Dean Logan
Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
Los Angeles County

Thomas Saenz
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Arturo Vargas
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)
Educational Fund

Neal Kelley
Registrar of Voters
Orange County

Jill LaVine
Registrar of Voters
Sacramento County

Gail Pellerin
County Clerk/Registrar of Voters
Santa Cruz County

Cathy Darling Allen
County Clerk/Registrar of Voters
Shasta County

Heather Smith
Rock the Vote

Pam Smith
Verified Voting Foundation

FOCE’s Principles and Priorities for 2013

[NOTE: A PDF copy of this document can be accessed here]

The Future of California Elections (FOCE) is a collaboration between election officials, civil rights organizations and election reform advocates to examine and address the unique challenges facing the State of California’s election system.

The group is committed to the following Guiding Principles –

The policies and practices that govern California’s elections – and the institutions and individuals responsible for administering them – should:

1. Encourage full participation by all eligible citizens

2. Ensure and protect equal access to participation regardless of age, race, language, income, education, disability or location

3. Ensure that every eligible citizen can easily register to vote and that voter registration rolls are accurate and up-to-date

4. Provide citizens with information about registration and voting – including information on candidates, ballot issues and voting instructions – in a variety of formats, including disability accessible formats, and languages – so that every voter can make informed voting choices and cast a meaningful and valid ballot

5. Provide each voter with flexibility regarding options for casting a ballot

6. Protect voters from intimidation and deception and ensure enforcement and compliance with all applicable laws protecting voters’ rights and the integrity of the voting process

7. Reflect the highest standards of transparency, accuracy and security and provide all citizens with justifiable confidence in election systems – including voting technology – and their outcomes

8. Provide outreach and education to California’s youth about the electoral process and the value of civic participation in order to foster a spirit of lifelong participation in all voters

9. Guarantee that state and local governments provide resources in proportion to election administration requirements while holding election officials accountable for efficient and effective use of those funds

10. Commit to seeking improvements of all kinds – from small fixes to big and fundamental changes – that make California’s elections work for the voters of today and tomorrow


In January 2013, FOCE hosted a conference to discuss opportunities for reform, at which the group heard ideas for improving participation across the electorate while at the same time ensuring an open, transparent and well-functioning system of democracy in California.

Based in part on those conversations, FOCE will continue its efforts to identify consensus reforms consistent with the Principles, with a special emphasis on the following priorities for 2013. Specifically, FOCE members will:

Voter Registration

• seek to improve and expand the availability of the California Online Voter Registration (COVR) system, with particular attention to making it accessible to voters with disabilities and minority language voters as well as expanding implementation at colleges and universities statewide

• assist state and local public agencies with development of technical tools and best practices to expand voter registration among citizens who come into contact with those agencies for services

• work with the Secretary of State and others to achieve timely, transparent and collaborative implementation of VoteCal, the state’s voter registration database, in order to increase voter participation and allow implementation of previously-enacted reforms

Voting Information

• continue their efforts to improve the content and usability of both print and online editions of state and local voter information guides, including accessibility to voters with disabilities and minority language voters

• seek to expand the content and usability of online voter lookup tools at the state and local levels including accessibility to voters with disabilities and minority language voters

Voting Options

• examine the challenges associated with delivery and counting of vote by mail ballots (such as signature verification, rejection rates and postal issues) and partner with policymakers, election officials and others to address those challenges

• work with election officials and policymakers to identify tools and laws to expand voting beyond precincts and vote-by-mail, while ensuring security as well as accessibility for voters with disabilities and minority language needs

Language Access

• work with the Secretary of State and election officials to ensure state and local compliance with applicable federal and state laws on minority language access to the electoral process

• partner with policymakers, the Secretary of State and election officials to expand access of minority language communities to all aspects of the electoral process

For more information, please contact