Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, July 20, 2012, 9:30 AM
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center
A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, July 20, 2012. Present were: Esther Beirne, Greg Brockbank, Vida Florez, Barbara Gaman; Bonnie Glaser, Marcia Hagen, Terry Hennessy, Morgan Kelley, Mark Kyle, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Jannicka Murphy from Grassroots, Sean Peisert, Steve Silberstein, Bob Richard, and Cat Woods. Also present were: John Ortega, Steve Knecht, and Brandi Orth, from Fresno County. Present from the Elections Office were Elaine Ginnold, Colleen Ksanda and Melvin Briones.
June 5, 2012 Presidential Primary Election
Elaine Ginnold reported on voter participation in the Primary Election. There were 146,755 registered voters, of whom 73,106 (49.81%) voted. Although this is a low turnout in a Presidential Primary Election for Marin, the statewide voter turnout was only 31%. Of the 73,102 voters who voted, 52,243(71.46%) voted by mail and 20,863 (28.54%) voted at the polls.
Crossover voting report
Melvin Briones reported that in the June election, the Democratic and American Independent parties allowed voters with no party preference to “cross over” and vote their party ballots (except for central committee races). There were a total of 32,882 registered voters with no party preference. The Elections Dept. sent a post card to all NPP permanent vote by mail voters notifying them of their choices. In addition, all NPP voters were informed about their ballot choices in the Voter Information Pamphlet and on a sign on each precinct table on Election Day. Of the total 32,882 non partisan voters, 4315 requested a Dem. Party ballot and 396 requested the AIP ballot.
Smart phone app for sample ballot
Ms. Ginnold reported that about 30 people used the new smart phone app to look up their sample ballots and that all have requested their voter information pamphlets via the app in future elections. The Dept. plans to use the phone app again for the November and will advertise it more widely.
Electronic poll book pilot
Colleen Ksanda reported on the pilot of electronic poll books which were used in four polling places in the Primary Election. 4 units went to 4 polling places. Three of the polling places had multiple precincts and 1 had one precinct. Two of the polling places with multiple precincts used it to direct lost voters to their correct polling place. The other two polling places used it in parallel with the paper roster and index. Poll workers who used it was that it was very helpful for directing lost voters to their correct polling place, but it was slow when used in place of the Roster. Bob Richards, who was the Chief Inspector at the Kentfield Fire Station and used it in parallel with the paper roster, said that it was helpful to have an extra clerk who was young and computer- savvy to operate the unit. He recommends that in addition to training provided by the vendor, we also provide basic training on how to turn on and use a computer since some poll workers don’t know how to do this. He also made suggestions on how such a device could eliminate one of the street indexes and the colored pencils used to update it.
Ms. Ksanda reported that the department will pilot larger number of epoll books from another vendor in the November election and will use them in place of the Roster at several polling places.
The committee discussed the use of signature pads and the often illegible signatures on them. Ms. Ginnold said she would ask for approval to use them in the pilot from the Secretary of State and use them only if they produce a legible signature.
Post canvass audit pilot
Ms. Ginnold reported that we are still working on the pilot post canvass audit with UC Berkeley and will notify everyone when we are ready to compare the scanned ballot images with the actual ballot. This type of audit should be more practical to do when counties have voting systems that can scan ballots digitally.
The department is now using Facebook and Twitter to communicate with voters via the county’s facebook page and a bilingual page, “VotaMarin”. Ms. Ginnold asked committee members to “Like” us on both Facebook pages.
Committee feedback on election
- Some voters didn’t know that their polling place had changed and some didn’t like the changes: Ms. Ginnold said that the department will follow up on voter complaints and make any necessary changes in time for the November election. Will send another postcard to voters letting them know that their polling place may have changed and that they have the option to vote by mail.
- Voter confusion about crossover voting: Ms. Ginnold said that most of the confusion came from non partisan voters who wanted to vote a Republican ballot and couldn’t because the party didn’t allow it. However, if these voters voted a republican ballot provisionally, everything except for president and central committee was counted.
- Confusion about Top 2 Primary: Voters seemed to understand the Top Two Primary, probably because there was much information explaining it before the election
- The committee asked about the slow vote count for the Sonoma/Marin races and whether the election night results in Marin took longer than usual. Marin finished both the election night count and the canvass at the normal time, but Sonoma took longer.
November 6, 2012 Presidential General Election planning
Ms. Ginnold asked committee members to give feedback on the issue of cell phones at polling places. Currently, NO CELL PHONES signs are posted at the polling places because talking on them can disturb other voters. Because of the growing use of smart phones and reports that voters are using them as voting aids to mark their ballots in the same way that voters use their voter pamphlets, is it still reasonable to prohibit cell phones?. After discussion, committee members agreed that the current No Cell Phone sign be revised to say, “No photography or videography; No talking on cell phones” and cite the relevant laws.
Online voter registration
Ms. Ginnold reported that the Secretary of State plans to roll out online voter registration by Labor Day. Voters will be able to register to vote online and the data will go directly into the county’s Election Management Systems. Voters’ signatures will come from the DMV.
John Ortega spoke about the non partisan “Youth Booth” for voter registration and education that he set up at the county fair this year in partnership with the League of Women Voters and various youth groups. The Election Office supplied table, chairs, table decorations, forms and voter information for the booth. Mr. Ortega set up a voter education wheel with civics questions and gave prizes for the correct answer. 159 people registered to vote at the booth.
What happens when voter changes address?
Melvin Briones reviewed the actions that the department takes when a voter changes his/her address. The department receives address changes from voter registration cards, other counties, the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, the USPS National Change of Address Service (NCOA), which is provided by the Secretary of State on a monthly basis (except for 90 days before an election), and the USPS Automated Address Correction Service (ACS) which is generated after each mailing of the Sample Ballot.
When we receive a change of address directly from the voter, we can update the voters address in our file immediately. However, when the change of address comes from a third party (DMV, NCOA or ACS), we must send the voter a card to confirm the address change and only change the address once the voter confirms it.
Update on proposed election legislation
- AB 1436 - Voter registration at central office after deadline – this proposal was amended to be implemented on the first day of January after the Secretary of State has a statewide database in operation.
- AB 1805 - Military and Overseas Voters – implements the MOVE Act.
- AB1929 – Limits definition of “casting a ballot” to the submission of the ballot only. Amended to stipulate that any ballot marking system would not tabulate votes.
- SB 1272 – Moves central committee elections to presidential primary election years. Bob Richard reported that this proposal was amended to require that the state committee, rather than the local county committee, set requirements for membership. He also mentioned that the bill weakens political parties.
Anne Layzer asked about posting the list of candidates who have taken out papers for this election. Ms. Ginnold will check to make sure the list gets posted.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be on August 24 (4th Friday) at 9:30 a.m.