Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, July 17, 2020, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
The Election Advisory Committee met on Friday, July 17, 2020, ivia Microsoft Teams due to COVID-19. The following members were present: Nancy Bell, Greg Brockbank, Robin Diederich, Cathleen Dorinson, Veda Florez, Bonnie Glaser, Anne Layzer, Peter Mendoza, Sean Peisert, Steve Silberstein
Members of the Public: Jackie Dagg, LWVMC Voter Service Committee, Zane Morrissey, guest of the Committee
Representing the Elections Department: Lynda Roberts, Registrar, Greg Hayes, Manager of Logistics, Megan Stone, Elections Technician
Lynda Roberts opened the meeting, thanked everyone for attending, and called roll. Ms. Roberts welcomed the members of the public: Jackie Dagg from the LWVMC and Zane Morrissey who is a potential future Committee member. Mr. Morrissey provided a brief description of his background and gave a quick tutorial on using the Microsoft Teams platform. Ms. Roberts acknowledged the Elections Department staff and applauded the diligent effort the entire team is doing to carry-out this election.
Ms. Roberts mentioned the meeting agenda would consist of November Election updates and time for open discussion.
Ms. Roberts shared with the group that candidates are following the instruction to schedule an appointment to collect and file nomination papers rather than drop-in unannounced. As of July 17, 2020, 78 people have taken out papers and 7 of those have officially filed. The offices associated with them are: North Marin Water, County Board of Education (2), Bolinas Public Utility, Strawberry Recreation, Alto Sanitary, and Stinson Beach Water. Three candidates have used a virtual method to electronically file over Teams as a signature verification alternative to in-person witnessing.
Polling Place Locations/Poll Workers
Next, the group learned that there are 23 confirmed polling place locations for the November Election. The Department is still looking for locations in East San Rafael, San Anselmo, Fairfax, and Novato in order to geographically cover the County. Ms. Roberts reminded the group that voters will be assigned to one polling place like a standard election as opposed to the vote center model.
The poll worker recruitment letters were mailed out on Monday (7/13) to roughly 4,000 former poll workers. Additionally, Marin County residents have been sending in emails offering their services at the polls. Polling places are open from Oct. 31-Nov. 3; however, poll workers are not required to work all four days, but priority of placement will go to those who can commit to four days. The polls will be open generally 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and 7:00 a.m-8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
The polling places will be equipped with laptops using an app (EIMS Lite) that enables poll workers to access the voter database to look up voters and issue live ballots at the polls. Voters will not be required to surrender their vote-by-mail ballot for a poll ballot because EIMS Lite shows whether the voter’s VBM ballot was returned. The group was assured that VBM ballots that are dropped off during the day will be picked up, delivered to the Elections Department, and accounted for at the end of each day.
In response to a question from a Committee member regarding polling place location size, Mr. Roberts shared that we are contacting our current largest polling places first.
Megan Stone gave an update about the Department’s voter education and outreach campaign to inform voters about the changes for the upcoming election due to COVID-19. Ms. Roberts noted that Liz Acosta, hired to research and develop a plan for Marin to adopt the Voter’s Choice Act, has redirected her focus to helping the Department locate drop-off locations and assist with voter outreach, utilizing her prior community connections. Additionally, experiences from the November 3, 2020, General Election operations will be evaluated and incorporated into recommendations for VCA implementation.
Ms. Stone and Ms. Acosta have been creating a framework for messaging, determining the budget and resources, developing a plan to disseminate information, and identifying community partners to help with this effort. They are crafting a ‘2020 Outreach Kit’ including posters, flyers, "email blast" messaging, social media content, and plan to share this resources kit with all community partners who, in turn, will share it with their clients and customers. Ms. Stone then reviewed the confirmed community partners list and outlined a few more details regarding more typical outreach efforts.
Veda Florez spoke about National Disability Voter Registration Week which is July 13-17, 2020. Ms. Florez informed the group about the promotional efforts used to advertise the week and how they differed from last year as a result of the pandemic.
During open discussion, some Committee members suggested Ms. Roberts write multiple letters to the editor rather than just one and offered their support.
There was conversation about some misleading vote-by-mail headlines and articles in the media recently and suggestions made about multiple ways the Registrar of Voters can use her platform to ease the minds of voters to assure them that voting by mail is safe, reliable, and secure.
In response to a question regarding a contingent plan in the event if a PSPS, Ms. Roberts noted paper rosters can be used at polling places in lieu of laptops, and the Department is looking into acquiring some back-up generators. Greg Hayes added that PG&E has developed a map outlining high fire danger regions that are likely to be affected in the event of a PSPS and mentioned it can be used to identify which of the polling place locations could be affected.
The group will skip the August meeting because there are some tight deadlines that month but will be kept informed via an ‘updates’ email.
Meeting adjourned at 12:30 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Friday, September 18, 2020.