2016 Conference Program

This page provides content presented at the Future of California Elections 2016 Conference. You will find select video clips and presentations of the program by clicking the links below. Please note that not all panels were recorded and not all speakers utilized slides in their presentations.

To download the conference program, click here.

To download the accessible RTF version of the program, click here.

To download the conference proram book, click here. The conference program book includes speaker biographies and full panel descriptions.

Welcome (video)

Modernizing Elections: Strategies from California, Colorado, and Oregon (video) California, Colorado and Oregon are at the forefront of innovation in voter registration and election administration. In this panel, policymakers from these three states will discuss their challenges and lessons learned with developing and implementing new reforms around registering to vote and ballot options.

  • Jeanne P. Atkins, Oregon Secretary of State
  • Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State
  • Wayne Williams, Colorado Secretary of State (slides)
  • Moderator: Doug Chapin, Director, Election Academy, University of Minnesota

Oath: Language Accessibility Advisory Committee and Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (video)


  • Commissioner Thomas Hicks, Chair, U.S. Election Assistance Commission (video) (slides)

New Research by Future of California Elections Members and Partners (video
This panel showcases research initiatives that provide a better understanding of California’s diverse electorate and election system.

  • Eric McGhee, Research Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California (slides)
  • Leila Pedersen, Program Manager, California Common Cause
  • Mindy Romero, Director, California Civic Engagement Project, UC Davis (slides1)(slides2)
  • Moderator: Astrid Garcia Ochoa, Deputy Director, Future of California Elections

Fostering State and Local Government Collaboration (video)
Learn about best practices for building local collaborations. This panel brings together case studies, which exemplify best practices of nongovernmental organizations and state and local governments working together. The panel will highlight state and local efforts to support language access and
voters with disabilities.

  • Ardis Bazyn, President, Bazyn Communications
  • Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters, Orange County (slides)
  • Deanna Kitamura, Voting Rights Project Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
  • Brian D. Newby, Executive Director, U.S. Election Assistance Commission
  • Beatriz Solis, Director, Healthy Communities – South Region, The California Endowment (slides)
  • Moderator: Catherine Hazelton, Senior Program Officer, The James Irvine Foundation

Moving to the Future: Legislative Policies and Practices to Support Voter Turnout (video) In recent years California has passed new laws intended to support voter turnout. This panel explores the new laws, the timing of when laws will go into effect and future policies being considered.

  • Senator Ben Allen, 26th Senate District, Chair of the Senate Elections and Constitutional
    Amendments Committee
  • Kathay Feng, Executive Director, California Common Cause
  • Scott Maisin, District Director for Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, 54th Assembly District, Former Chair of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee
  • James Schwab, Chief of Legislative Affairs, Office of the California Secretary of State
  • Moderator: Vince Hall, Executive Director, Future of California Elections

Funding Democracy: The Future of Sustainable Election Funding and Governance – Session A
Funding for elections is essential to strengthening California’s democracy, yet election administrators face rising costs and significant barriers, including replacing aging voting systems. This panel explores the true cost of elections and strategies for providing adequate and sustainable funding for elections in California.

  • Kim Alexander, President and Founder, California Voter Foundation
  • Cathy Darling Allen, County Clerk/Registrar of Voters, Shasta County (slides)
  • Caitlin Maple, Research Analyst, California Forward (slides)
  • Pamela Smith, President, Verified Voting
  • Moderator: Ofelia Medina, Director of State Civic Engagement Policy, NALEO Educational Fund

Voting for Revolution: The Role Civic Engagement Plays in Modern Day Movements – Session B (video
Movements are defined by the momentum they create well beyond a single point in time. This panel explores the important momentum of movements in 2016 and the role of organizations, election administrators and media in civic engagement.

  • Rachel Dixon Phipps, Director of Data & Targeting Strategy, Engage San Diego
  • Jay Jordan, Networks Manager, Californians for Safety and Justice
  • Aaron Nevarez, Executive Assistant, Office of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk,
    Los Angeles County (slides)
  • Angelica Peña, California Deputy Director of Civic Engagement, NALEO Educational Fund
  • Moderator: Jill Fox, Outreach Manager, Elections Department, San Francisco County 

Designing for the Voter Experience – Session C
Organizations and governments understand that they must use design for an improved voter experience. This panel will discuss best design practices for serving voters, such as plain language, voting equipment, and ballot layout.

  • Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Los Angeles County (slides)
  • Daniel G. Newman, President and Co-Founder, MapLight (slides)
  • Gail Pellerin, County Clerk/Registrar of Voters, Santa Cruz County (slides)
  • Whitney Quesenbery, Co-Director, Center for Civic Design (slides)
  • Moderator: Trudy Schafer, Senior Director for Program, League of Women Voters of California

The Youth Vote: Engaging Our Future Voters – Session D
Youth are the future of our democracy, yet they are among the lowest in voter turnout. This panel will explore tools to increase youth engagement including civic education, pre-registration of high school students, and registration at colleges and universities.

  • Paul Burgarino, Community Education and Engagement Specialist, Elections Department,
    Contra Costa County (slides)
  • Mynor Godoy, Education Program Officer, United Way of Greater Los Angeles (slides)
  • Emily Rusch, Executive Director, CALPIRG and CALPIRG Education Fund (slides)
  • Jen Tolentino, Civic Technology Program Manager, Rock the Vote (slides)
  • Moderator: Tanzila Ahmed, Campaign Strategist, 18 Million Rising 

Voter Registration Modernization (video) – Session E
This panel explores efforts to modernize California’s system of voter registration. Panelists will discuss the new statewide voter registration database, the new motor voter law and voter registration at local public agencies.

  • John Gardner, Assistant Registrar of Voters, Solano County
  • Rosalind Gold, Senior Director of Policy, Research, and Advocacy, NALEO Educational Fund (slides)
  • Jana Lean, Chief of Elections Division, Office of the California Secretary of State
  • Tammy Patrick, Senior Advisor, Democracy Project, Bipartisan Policy Center (slides)
  • Moderator: Efrain Escobedo, Vice President of Civic Engagement and Public Policy,
    California Community Foundation

Moving the Electorate: Reflections and Insights on Civic Engagement – Session F
California’s diverse demographics call for innovative and fresh strategies for voter mobilization. This civic engagement panel will discuss the work organizations do to find the most effective messaging and models for moving California’s diverse electorate.

  • Whitney May, Director of Government Services, Center for Technology and Civic Life
  • Eren Mendez, Election Outreach Coordinator, Elections Division, Contra Costa County
  • Kenya T. Parham, Political Strategist, Assistant Project Leader, African American
    Civic Engagement Project
  • Karla Zombro, Field Director, California Calls
  • Moderator: Jess Jollett, Communications Strategist, ACLU of California Voting Rights Project

Accessible Voter Information for Everyone – Session G
This panel will explore how to provide accessible information for all of California’s diverse voters, including people with different disabilities and limited English proficient voters. Panelists will discuss the importance of plain language, the need to make information available in different formats and the significant role stakeholder involvement plays in creating successful outcomes.

  • Manjusha Kulkarni, Executive Director, South Asian Network (slides)
  • Tim McNamara, Assistant Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Election Operations,
    Los Angeles County
  • Dora Rose, Senior Director of Civic Engagement, League of Women Voters of California (slides)
  • Cynde Soto, Community Organizer, Communities Actively Living Independent and Free (slides) (accessible RTF)
  • Moderator: Ted Jackson, Community Organizing Director, California Foundation for
    Independent Living Centers

Districting What? Understanding the Power of Line Drawing in Your Community – Session H
More and more local governments in California are moving from at-large elections to district-based elections, and we are halfway to 2021 redistricting. Learn the community and administrative processes involved in line-drawing and how the process helps community organizations engage local residents.

  • Palma Hooper, President, Southwest Center For Asian Pacific American Law (slides)
  • Denise Hulett, National Senior Counsel, MALDEF
  • Connie Malloy, Program Director, California Democracy, The James Irvine Foundation;
    Commissioner, California Citizens Redistricting Commission
  • Michael Vu, Registrar of Voters, San Diego County (slides)
  • Moderator: Kathay Feng, Executive Director, California Common Cause

Reducing Barriers to the Voting Booth – Session I
Election stakeholders across the state work daily to provide access to the voting booth, yet some voters still face challenges to participating on Election Day. This panel will review what barriers exist today for voters with disabilities, including people under conservatorship, limited English proficient voters, and voters who were formerly incarcerated. Speakers will share the unintentional consequences to barriers on Election Day and how we can improve access for all. (slides)

  • Ben Hamatake, Community Outreach Manager, Orange County Registrar of Voters
  • Cristin Hanson, New Voter, San Diego County
  • Terri Lantz, Case Manager, United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles
  • Fred Nisen, Supervising Attorney for Voting Rights, Disability Rights California
  • Moderator: Lori Shellenberger, Director, ACLU of California Voting Rights Project

Workshop: Making Information for Voters Easy to Understand – Session J
The Center for Civic Design and partners will bring best practices for improving voter information for voter outreach. This is an interactive workshop for election administrators and nonprofits. Participants are encouraged to bring their election materials and get feedback. (slides)

  • Drew Davies, Designer, Center for Civic Design
  • Nancy Frishberg, Researcher, Center for Civic Design
  • Whitney Quesenbery, Co-Director, Center for Civic Design