2018 Conference Program

This page provides content presented at the Future of California Elections Annual Conference on March 8, 2018. 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 view the conference speaker biographies, click here. To download the accessible RTF version of the speaker biographies, click here.

Master of Ceremonies, Catherine Hazelton, Voter’s Choice California Consultant

Keynote, Hon. Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State (video)

Opening Plenary: Opportunities and Challenges for Elections in 2018 (video)

In 2018, several new laws go into effect that create new opportunities for California elections. While the new laws have the potential to expand the California electorate and to make voting more convenient, they also present some challenges to implementation. This panel brings together election officials and election reform advocates from throughout the state to discuss the implementation of these new laws.

Kim Alexander, President & Founder, California Voter Foundation
Gregory J. Diaz, Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters (slides)
Joe Holland, County Clerk, Recorder and Assessor, Santa Barbara County (slides)
Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Los Angeles County
Lori Shellenberger, Voting Rights Strategist
Moderator: Gail Pellerin, County Clerk/Registrar of Voters, Santa Cruz County

Session A: New Frontiers in Language Access: How California Law is Expanding our Democracy in 2018 (video)

By enacting the California Voting for All Act, the strongest state-level law in the nation providing language access protections for limited-English speaking communities, and by expanding the language communities that are eligible for those protections, California is taking a huge step forward in creating an inclusive democracy in 2018. This panel will discuss changes to the law, how community organizations can educate communities on the new language access tools, and how voting rights advocates will work with elections officials to ensure a smooth implementation.

Deanna Kitamura, Voting Rights Project Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA (slides)
Eren Mendez, Elections Outreach Coordinator
Steve Reyes, Chief Counsel, Secretary of State (slides)
Jonathan Stein, Staff Attorney and Voting Rights Program Manager, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (slides)

Session B: Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail: A New Way for California Voters to Vote Privately and Independently

Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail provides a new way for voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently by mail. The panel will provide an overview of Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail (RAVBM) from the perspective of a voter. Topics will include best practices for adoption, a live demonstration of RAVBM, and insight from elections offices that have already incorporated the technology into elections.

Ardis Bazyn, CEO Bazyn Communications
Fred Nisen, Supervising Attorney for Voting Rights, Disability Rights California (slides, click here for accessible RTF)
Jennifer Tagg, Departmental Systems Analyst, San Mateo County Elections (slides)
Steve Trout, Director of Elections, Oregon Secretary of State
Moderator: Paul R. Spencer, Staff Attorney for Voting Rights, Disability Rights California

Session C: Census 2020: What’s at Stake for California and its Democracy

Census 2020 is quickly approaching, and a fair and accurate count of California’s diverse population is critical for the future of the state’s democracy and the well-being of all of the state’s residents. This panel will highlight the critical role the Census plays in reapportionment and redistricting, implications for equal representation of all Californians, and how Census data are used to provide civil rights and voting rights protections. Panelists will also address how civic and community organizations can prepare for Census 2020 outreach.

Dr. John Dobard, Associate Director of Political Voice, Advancement Project California (slides)
Maria de la Luz Garcia, Director of Census, City of Los Angeles
Rosalind Gold, Senior Director, Policy, Research and Advocacy, NALEO Educational Fund (slides)
Daniel Kikuo Ichinose, M.A., Director, Demographic Research Project, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
Moderator: Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, Chief Executive Officer, Latino Community Foundation

Session D: Campaigns, Candidates & Voters: Navigating the California DISCLOSE Act

The California DISCLOSE Act, passed in 2017, was designed to provide transparency on funding behind ballot measure and candidate advertising. The panel will explore the new law’s impact on campaigns and the public, discuss how it is likely to roll out, and offer an inside look at collaborations between clean money advocates and the government to work through complexities of implementation.

Sandra Fluke, California State Director, Voices for Progress
Stephen J. Kaufman, Principal Attorney, Kaufman Legal Group
Emily Rusch, Executive Director, CALPIRG and CALPIRG Education Fund (slides)
Phillip R. Ung, Director, Legislation and External Affairs, Fair Political Practices Commission (slides)
Moderator: Dora Rose, Deputy Director, League of Women Voters of California

Featured Speaker, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Ph.D., Director, The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University (video) (slides)

Workshop: Democracy by Design: Ensuring Voter Intent in Our Communications (video) (slides)

Attendees will learn about the importance of design in the voting experience, specifically plain language, usability, and accessibility; gain insight into the most important changes in election design; and participate in a usability testing exercise.

Dana Chisnell, Co-Director, Center for Civic Design

Session E: Engaging the Public and Underrepresented Communities in District Transitions Under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA)

This panel will discuss the importance of public engagement as communities transition from at-large to single districts, under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which prohibits using at-large voting systems that in some cases may disenfranchise racial minorities. This panel will provide a better understanding of the CVRA and practical tips for engaging the public and members of underrepresented communities in the transition.

Nicolas Heidorn, Director, California Local Redistricting Project
Tanya Pellegrini, Voting Rights Attorney, MALDEF
Jonathan Stein, Staff Attorney and Voting Rights Program Manager, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Jerome O. Torres, Past Chairperson, Chula Vista Districting Commission
Moderator: Kathay Feng, Executive Director at California Common Cause, National Redistricting Director at Common Cause

Session F: Searching for Election Information: A Practical Overview of How Voters Acquire Election Information Online

The web is one of the most important sources for information if it can be found easily and quickly. This panel will discuss how voters acquire and consume information online and will provide low-cost methods for website improvement as well as real world examples of how other counties have approached website redesign.

Monica Crane Childers, Director of Government Services, Democracy Works
Aaron Nevarez, Governmental & Legislative Affairs Manager, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
Kurt Sampsel, Government Services Project Manager, Center for Technology and Civic Life
Jen Tolentino, Director of Policy & Civic Technology
Moderator: Michelle Bishop, Voting Rights Specialist, National Disability Rights Network

Session G: Successful Preregistration Strategies to Expand Youth Participation

California is one of the few states in the nation to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. Registering young people early presents an opportunity to build a strong commitment for civic participation and establish the seed for lifetime voters. This panel will discuss effective strategies for preregistering youth, identifying partners for effective implementation statewide, and best practices for engagement in high school classrooms.

Mynor Godoy, Senior Field Organizer, Yvote, Movement Strategy Center
Jesse Melgar, Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Communications Officer
Emily Rusch, Executive Director, CALPIRG and CALPIRG Education Fund
Moderator: Rosalind Gold, Senior Director, Policy, Research and Advocacy, NALEO Educational Fund

Session H: Conditional Voter/Same Day Registration: Increasing Voter Opportunities to Register to Vote (video) (slides)

California has more than 5.5 million unregistered voters, and ranked 48th in voter registration amongst states in 2016. Too often, this results in voters learning they cannot vote on Election Day because they are unregistered. This panel will explain how conditional voter registration, popularly known as same day registration, will roll out in 2018, how it can help increase participation, and how it can be more broadly available to voters in the future. Topics will include actual and perceived barriers to full implementation in California, best practices and impact, plans for educating voters, and why this new law could be a game changer for underrepresented voters in California.

Neil Albrecht, Executive Director, City of Milwaukee Election Commission
Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters, Orange County
Jamie Kennerk, Chair, Board of Directors – CALPIRG Students
Pete White, Executive Director and Founder, Los Angeles Community Action Network
Raúl Macías, Manager & Attorney, ACLU of California Voting Rights Project

Closing Plenary: Implementing the Voter’s Choice Act in California’s Diverse Communities (video)

In 2018, Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo counties will be the pioneers implementing California’s new voting model, the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA). The VCA has the potential to increase voter participation by providing a longer voting period which includes the 10 days leading up to Election Day and providing voters increased options to return their ballots. The new law also offers opportunities for voters to engage in the planning of their elections, through advisory committees and participating in public hearings. However, implementation of a new way of voting requires significant preparation in the administration process and voter education and outreach. This panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing a new voting system in California’s diverse communities.

Gregory J. Diaz, Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters (slides)
Jenny Ocon, Executive Director, UpValley Family Centers of Napa County
Dora Rose, Deputy Director, League of Women Voters of California (slides
James Schwab, Deputy Secretary of State, Policy & Planning
Moderator: Catherine Hazelton, Voter’s Choice California Consultant (slides – official open-source VCC PPT; feel free to use and adapt for your own presentations)