2007 Voter Education and Outreach Subcommittee Meeting Minutes

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections


September 12, 2007

Registrar of Voters
Voter Education and Outreach Subcommittee Meeting
September 12, 2007, 4:30 p.m.
Registrar of Voters’ Office, Room 121 Marin Civic Center


A meeting of the Subcommittee on Voter Education and Outreach to Low-Turnout Populations was held on Wednesday, September 12, at 4:30 p.m. at the Registrar of Voters’ Office. Present were: Anne Layzer, Steve Burdo, Chris Jones, Shirley Graves, Brad Brockbank, and Elaine Ginnold and Maureen Hogan from the Registrar of Voters’ Office.

The Subcommittee discussed measures taken to implement the voter Outreach and Education Plan for 2007-08 as follows:

  • The Registrar of Voters’ Office has identified 14 precincts where the Hispanic voting age population is 3% or more. All of these precincts are either in San Rafael or Novato. The Registrar of Voters plans to recruit bilingual pollworkers for these precincts for the 2008 elections.
  • Ms. Ginnold reported on her meeting with the Youth Leadership Commission on August 27. Of the 7648 voters between the ages of 18-24 in Marin County, 37% turned out to vote in the November 2006 election, compared to a 76% turnout of voters over the age of 24. Half of the 18-24 aged voters voted by mail, which is at about the same rate as voters over the age of 24. This youth group was very interested in promoting greater participation of young voters and supported having student poll worker programs in the High Schools. Members of the Commission offered suggestions on actions to take, including putting voter registration affidavits in the high schools and working with civics teachers and student leadership groups in the high schools to assist with the student poll worker program.
  • Chris Jones gave an update of a partnership between St. Vincent’s, the Dominican College Social Justice program and the Registrar of Voters to register voters, provide voter education, and provide poll workers to polling places in downtown San Rafael. The goal of the program is to remove barriers to voter participation among homeless and low income voters.
  • Steve Burdo reported on the agreement between Grassroots and the Registrar of Voters for Grassroots. Grassroots will provide bilingual voter education and outreach services to voters in the Canal area of San Rafael, Marin City and South Novato. Grassroots will also assist in recruiting bilingual poll workers for the 14 targeted precincts.

Ms. Ginnold reported on voter education measures which have been taken recently as follows:

  • Placed information about voter registration in the Marin 101 supplement due to be published at the end of October.
  • Revised voter information pages for the sample ballot to have a uniform look and to update the information on them.
  • Printed a large tri-fold sign board in English and Spanish which has all of the signs required to be posted at the polls. Instead of posting individual signs at the polls, poll workers will just have to put up the sign board.

Greg Brockbank suggested distributing fliers of the voter registration page in the sample ballot. Ms. Ginnold to get more information from the flier distribution company.

As there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m. The next meeting will take place after the election at a date to be arranged.

May 9, 2007

Registrar of Voters
Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee Meeting
May 10, 2007, 4:30 p.m.
Registrar of Voters’ Office, Room 121 Marin Civic Center


A meeting of the Subcommittee on Voter Education and Outreach was held on Wednesday, May 9 at 4:00 p.m. at the Registrar of Voters’ Office. Present were: Greg Brockbank, Steve Burdo, and Elaine Ginnold and Maureen Hogan from the Registrar of Voters’ Office.

Subcommittee members reviewed the draft brochure - A Guide to Voting in Marin County – prepared by the Registrar of Voters’ Office. Subcommittee members will continue to review the brochure and recommend revisions to Elaine Ginnold. When is it final, the brochure about registration and voting will be distributed to libraries, city clerks offices, and at voter education outreach events throughout the county in time for the November election.

Subcommittee members also reviewed the draft of the Instructions for Voting at the Polls sign to be placed in each voting booth at the polls and printed on a poster at the polls and in the Voter Information Pamphlet. A suggestion was made to change the wording regarding the time limit for voters to be in the voting booth and to change the name from Ted to Jackie as in Jackie Robinson in one of the examples of how to vote.

Steve Burdo described the voter outreach and voter education proposal that Grassroots is preparing for the Registrar of Voters. The proposal includes conducting a survey of residents in minority language and low-income areas of the county in order to determine what the barriers are to voting and registration for citizens who are eligible but not participating in the election process. Voter education about the process of voting would be incorporated into the plan.

The subcommittee discussed the publication of the parties of non-partisan elected officers on the website. This issue will be discussed at the next meeting of the Election Advisory Committee.

Subcommittee briefly discussed the format for the annual report. We have not heard yet whether Debra Bowen can be our speaker for the annual community meeting on June 21.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, June 13 at 4:30 p.m.

February 14, 2007

Registrar of Voters
Voter Education and Outreach Subcommittee Meeting
February 14, 2007, 4:30 p.m.


A meeting of the subcommittee on voter education and outreach was held on Wednesday, February 15, 2007. Present were: Greg Brockbank, Shirley Graves, Sue Severin, and John Ortega. Also present were Michael Smith and Elaine Ginnold.

The committee brainstormed the various services that are important voters such as zoning, water use, land use, libraries, public safety, emergency response, and fire protection and discussed messages to convey the importance elections to the individual voter. Greg Brockbank suggested a message along the lines of the following:
“Think your vote doesn't matter? Wondering why you should vote? Does your elected representative:

  • Express your views?
  • Communicate with your community?
  • Work hard to improve your community?
  • Spend your tax dollars wisely?”

Shirley Graves drafted a letter explaining the importance of voting for an election held in a specific district.

John Ortega suggested, “If you don’t vote, you don’t count.”

There also was discussion about the need for information to be available in Spanish and Vietnamese in the Canal area.

Elaine to contact the Secretary of State’s office to obtain voter outreach materials that Marin could use to incorporate its messages to voters.

Other suggestions made were as follows:

  • Use the sample ballot to encourage people to vote
  • Survey non-voters to find out why they don’t vote and then design messages to reach them.
  • Find out why there are not more Latino voters in Marin
  • Use the people in the Latino community who are already registered and ask them to register other Latinos.
  • Work with these news outlets to disseminate information about voting. John Ortega mentioned that there are 4 Spanish-speaking radio stations, 3 cable companies and 3 newspapers that cover the area. Michael Smith requested that John provide him with a list of the above mentioned news outlets and asked him to assist with developing a program for them.
  • John Ortega suggested that the ROV form a minority language advisory committee.

The committee reviewed the Registrar of Voters’ FAQs on Registering to Vote and suggested adding, “or turn it in” to question 2 and combining questions 2 and 3. Committee members suggested that this be printed in a more appealing format, translated, and disseminated widely.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 14 at 4:30 p.m.

January 10, 2007

Registrar of Voters
Voter Education and Outreach Subcommittee Meeting
January 10, 2007


The Voter Outreach and Education Subcommittee met on Wednesday, January 10, 2007. Present were: Anne Layzer, Greg Brockbank, Shirley Graves, Steve Burdo, and Elaine Ginnold from the Registrar of Voters’ Office.

Review of Voter Education and Outreach activities for November 2006 Election

Elaine distributed a report of voter outreach and education activities that the ROV performed for the November 7, 2006 General Election. Much of the voter education activities involved information required by the Help America Vote Act. Information was delivered in three principal ways:

  • Sample Ballot
  • Poll workers at the polls
  • Registrar of Voters’ partnership with Grassroots Leadership Network of Marin.

Partnership with Grassroots

Steve Burdo described the voter education activities and materials provided by Grassroots, which has partnerships with over 30 Marin County organizations serving low income and minority language populations.

Staff at Grassroots used materials provided by the Registrar of Voters and also created additional information materials, which were translated into Spanish and Vietnamese. Areas targeted by the program were:

  • Marin City
  • Canal Neighborhood in San Rafael
  • South Novato

Before the election, Grassroots staff held workshops, forums, attended community events, made phone calls to over 1800 voters, and sent mailings to 1500 voters, to disseminate the information that included:

  • Registering to vote
  • Voters’ rights
  • How to mark the ballot
  • Absentee voting
  • Provisional voting
  • What to expect at the polls
  • Most common mistakes and what to do about them
  • How to become an election clerk

On Election Day, Grassroots conducted an exit poll of a total of 187 voters at polling places at the Manzanita Recreation Center in Marin City, Pickleweed Park in the Canal area, and the United Methodist Church in South Novato. A full report of all of the Grassroots activities and the survey results are available separately.

Voter education activities

Committee members suggested that the Registrar of Voters could illustrate voter turnout on maps, improve polling place signage outside of the Manzanita polling place in Marin City, and help in getting out the message to vote in local elections, perhaps through billboards in low turnout areas. In addition, in elections for judges, inform voters where to find information on the judicial candidates and explain retention elections in sample ballot.

The Committee decided to develop information and messaging about the importance of voting in local elections. Committee members will take responsibility for developing information about the kinds of decisions the governing bodies at various levels of local government make; how voters can get information and make decisions about who to vote for; where people can go to watch elected officials make decisions; and other information to encourage people to think of voting as a personal thing. The themes of the information campaign will be: why vote in local elections; why your vote matters and how it affects you personally. Following are the assignments:

County – Elaine Ginnold
Municipal – Steve Burdo
District – Shirley Graves
Schools – Anne Layzer
Community Colleges – Greg Brockbank

Populations to target with this information include: youth, new voters, language minority voters and low-income voters.

Members will bring their draft blurbs and messaging to review at the next meeting.

Ms. Ginnold distributed a chart with statistics about voter turnout in November elections for the past 10 years.

Committee will continue developing the voter education and outreach plan at the next meeting.

There being no further business, the committee adjourned at 5:30 p.m. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, February 14th at 4:30 p.m. at the Registrar of Voters’ Office.