2017 Conference Program

This page provides content presented at the Future of California Elections Annual Conference on March 9, 2017. Select video clips and presentations from the day are available 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 speaker biographies, click here.

Opening Remarks from Hon. Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State (video)

Opening Plenary – Looking Back and Moving Forward: A Retrospective Panel on the 2016 Election Cycle and How it Impacts Future California Elections (video)  
This plenary session offers a panel discussion among election administrators and voting rights advocates reflecting on the 2016 election cycle from the administrative perspective and applying that to the work ahead to modernize and improve voting in California. The panel will offer its perspective on VoteCal, trends in vote by mail, the expanded adoption of vote centers, as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s new designation of elections as Critical Infrastructure and the Department of Justice’s interest in polling place accessibility.

  • Jeramy Gray, Assistant Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Information Technology, Los Angeles County
  • Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters, Orange County (slides)
  • Brandi Orth, County Clerk/Registrar of Voters, Fresno County (slides)
  • Dora Rose, Senior Director of Civic Engagement, League of Women Voters of California (slides)
  • Tricia Webber, Assistant County Clerk, Santa Cruz County (slides)
  • Moderator: Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Los Angeles County

Keynote by David Becker, Executive Director, Center for Election Innovation & Research (video)

Session A – Empowering Communities: The California Voting Rights Act
The California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) has given minority groups a powerful tool to compel jurisdictions to switch from at-large to single-member districts so that neighborhood representation results in the racial and ethnic diversification of local governing boards. Participating panelists will be community advocates and their attorneys who have used the CVRA to ensure that minority voters have an equal opportunity to elect representatives in cities, school boards, and special districts throughout California.

  • Denise Hulett, National Senior Counsel, MALDEF
  • Jonathan Paik, Orange County Director, Korean Resource Center
  • Pablo Rodriguez, Executive Director, Communities for a New California Education Fund (slides)
  • Mickie Solorio Luna, City Councilmember, City of Hollister
  • Moderator: Dr. John Dobard, Manager of Political Voice, Advancement Project California

Session B – Making Voting Accessible and How Voters with Disabilities Can Assist with Election Planning (slides)              
This panel will discuss the accessibility issues that voters with disabilities face when attempting to exercise their voting rights and how systems are being designed to allow voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently at home. The panel will also discuss emerging issues regarding how people under conservatorship can keep their right to vote or have their right to vote reinstated, the benefits of a local Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC), and how elections can be accessible to voters with disabilities under the requirements of the Voter’s Choice Act (SB 450, 2016).

  • William Moore, Peer Instructor, We Care A Lot Foundation, The VOTE! Project
  • Fred Nisen, Supervising Attorney for Voting Rights, Disability Rights California
  • Gail Pellerin, County Clerk, Santa Cruz County
  • Jose Pena, Assistive Technology Coordinator, Dayle McIntosh Center-Anaheim
  • Moderator: Lori Shellenberger, Election Reform and Voting Rights Strategist

Session C – Meeting the Needs of a Diversifying Electorate: Language Access in California’s Elections, Past and Future (video) (slides)
Despite having the most immigrant voters in the nation and millions of voters who need some form of language assistance when voting, California still struggles to make its elections fully accessible to its limited-English communities. This panel will analyze the current state of language access in California elections by unveiling a statewide report on language access in the November 2016 election, discuss new Section 203 language determinations, and identify best practices and resources to assist county election officials.

  • Jesse Salinas, Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters, Yolo County
  • Deep Singh, Executive Director, Jakara
  • Jonathan Stein, Voting Rights Staff Attorney and Program Manager, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus
  • Moderator: Deanna Kitamura, Voting Rights Project Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles

Session D – Path to the Polls: Building a More Inclusive Democracy by Preregistering California’s Youth
Fewer than 16 percent of eligible 18- to 24-year-old Californians cast a ballot in the 2014 election, and only about half even registered to vote. Among eligible youth, underrepresented population groups were the least likely to become registered voters. This panel will discuss the outreach, education, and communication strategies needed to reach youth across the state.

  • Mynor Godoy, Senior Associate, Movement Strategy Center (slides)
  • Lizette Mata, Assistant Chief Deputy, Office of the California Secretary of State (slides)
  • Ryan Ronco, Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters, Placer County
  • Emily Rusch, Executive Director, CALPIRG and CALPIRG Education Fund
  • Moderator: Ofelia Medina, Director of State Civic Engagement Policy, NALEO Educational Fund

Session E – Achieving Greater Consistency in Californians’ Vote-by-Mail Experience
A majority of California voters cast their ballots using the vote by mail process. The percentage is expected to increase even more with the implementation of the California Voter’s Choice Act (SB 450, 2016). This panel will examine how vote by mail outreach and procedures vary among counties and discuss ways to achieve greater consistency throughout the state in how Californians experience the vote by mail process.

  • Joseph E. Holland, Registrar of Voters, Santa Barbara County (slides)
  • Jana Lean, Chief of Elections, Office of the California Secretary of State (slides)
  • Raul Macias, Voting Rights Attorney, ACLU of California (slides) (handout)
  • Whitney Quesenbery, Co-Director, Center for Civic Design (slides)
  • Moderator: Kim Alexander, President and Founder, California Voter Foundation

Session F – Diving into California’s Voter’s Choice Act: A Close Look at SB 450 (video)
The California Voter’s Choice Act, legislation which allows certain California localities to move from offering traditional precinct-site voting to an election system using a combination of vote by mail (VBM) balloting and vote centers, was signed by the Governor in September of 2016. This panel will provide details of what the implementation of this new legislation will mean for counties across the state. The panel will also emphasize the protections detailed in the bill for language minorities and those with disabilities during the bill’s implementation.

  • Rosalind Gold, Senior Director of Policy, Research, and Advocacy, NALEO Educational Fund
  • Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters, Orange County (slides)
  • James Schwab, Chief of Legislative Affairs, Office of the California Secretary of State (slides)
  • Paul Spencer, Voting Rights Attorney, Disability Rights California (slides)
  • Moderator: Kathay Feng, Executive Director, California Common Cause

Session G – #GettingitRight: Voting Information for the Modern Electorate
Increasingly, voters are looking online for election information through unofficial channels such as search engines, social media platforms, and civic engagement groups. To limit voter confusion, election officials and third-parties are partnering to provide voters with accurate, up-to-date and official information wherever they look for it. This panel will cover California’s participation in the Voting Information Project, the role non-governmental organizations play in informing voters, and free resources to help get official election information in front of even more voters.

  • Maria Bianchi, Project Manager, Voting Information Project, Democracy Works
  • Steven Carda, NVRA and Voter Outreach Program Manager, Office of the California Secretary of State
  • Samidh Chakrabarti, Product Manager for Civic Engagement, Facebook
  • Michael Hogan, Partner Manager, Google
  • Moderator: Jen Tolentino, Director of Policy & Civic Technology, Rock the Vote

Session H – Winning Strategies to Engage Underrepresented Communities
This panel will explore the context, strategies, and impediments related to securing a truly representative democracy. Panelists will examine what is and is not working in outreach and engagement efforts, the importance of community leadership, and effective roles for elections offices and allied organizations.

  • Dorian Caal, Director of Civic Engagement Research, NALEO Educational Fund (slides)
  • Daylan Johnson, Team Leader, Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative: African American Civic Engagement Project
  • Jennifer B. Lyle, Executive Director, Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative
  • Michael Vu, Registrar of Voters, San Diego County (slides)
  • Karla Zombro, Field Director, California Calls (slides)
  • Moderator: Dora Rose, Senior Director of Civic Engagement, League of Women Voters of California (slides)

Closing Plenary: Vote Centers in Action – The Experiences of Other States (video)
Jurisdictions across the nation are increasingly turning to alternatives to the traditional polling place as a way to serve their voters. As alternatives like vote centers gain popularity, the election community is gaining insight into where, when, and how voters want to cast their ballots. Hear from local officials and national experts on this emerging trend, which promises to reshape Election Day nationwide.

  • Doug Chapin, Director, Program for Excellence in Election Administration, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
  • Dana DeBeauvoir, County Clerk, Travis County, TX
  • Joseph Gloria, Registrar of Voters, Clark County, NV (slides)
  • Matthew Masterson, Chairman, U.S. Election Assistance Commission (slides)
  • Moderator: John Myers, Sacramento Bureau Chief, Los Angeles Times