Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, August 20, 2010, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center
A meeting of the Registrar of Voters’ Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, August 20 in Room 324A of the Marin Civic Center. Members present were: Esther Beirne, Greg Brockbank, Barbara Gaman, Bonnie Glaser, Marcia Hagen, Caroline Placente, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Steve Silberstein, Hoa Long Tam, Eva Waskell for Linda Bagneschi Dorrance, Also present were Suzanne Brown Crow and Lori Grace. Present from the Registrar of Voters were: Melvin Briones, Elaine Ginnold, Maureen Hogan, and Colleen Ksanda.
June 8, 2010 Direct Primary Election
Committee members reviewed two reports relating to the June 8th election: Report on turnout in Gubernatorial Primary Elections in Marin County from 2002 to 2010. This report showed that turnout in Gubernatorial Primary Elections in Marin County has increased from 47.52% to 51.31% from 2002 to 2010. The report also showed that during this time period, the number of voters voting at the polls has decreased from 57.23% to 34.68% while the number of voters voting by mail has increased from 42.77% to 65.32%. While there appears to be a correlation between the increase in vote by mail voters and the increase in turnout, turnout is also driven by the type of election and candidates and issues that are on the ballot.
Report on Vote by Mail and Provisional voting in the June 8th Primary Election.
This report showed the number of vote by mail and provisional ballots counted and not counted for the June 8th Primary Election. Total turnout was 51.31%, with vote by mail turnout at 65.31% of total turnout. Of the 50,235 vote by mail ballots counted, 703 or 1.38% were not counted because they were too late, the voter had not signed their envelopes, or the voter’s signature on the envelope didn’t match the signature on the voter registration card. The number of VBM ballots returned too late to be counted as a percentage of the total VBM ballots returned has declined since the June 2006 Primary Election, while the number of ballots rejected because the signature didn’t match has increased. The Committee suggested that the Registrar of Voters attempt to find out if the same voters are returning their ballots too late or with mismatching signatures in every election and let them know. Steve Silberstein pointed out that the percentage of rejected VBM ballots is very small compared to the number of VBM ballots returned and counted. Greg Brockbank asked that a small discrepancy in the percentages between the VBM percent counted and the percent rejected be corrected on the report – see attached corrected report.
Speakers from public
Suzanne Brown Crow reported that she had organized a group of observers to check on the posting of the results tapes outside of the polling places after the June 8th election and found that only 30% of the polling places had the tapes posted and some of the poll workers didn’t know what they were. At our next poll worker training classes, we will explain to all poll workers what the results tapes are and the importance of posting them.
Lori Grace spoke to the committee about her involvement with election integrity issues and reported that her Grace Foundation was offering a grant to recognize an election official who participates in a project similar to the one used in the Humboldt County Transparency Project. The project involves using a scanner that makes digital images of the ballots after the election and puts the images on CDs for the public. There will be a presentation about this system on Sept. 15th in San Francisco at 7:00 p.m. Ms. Grace will e-mail information about it to Ms. Ginnold who will pass it on to committee members.
November 2, 2010 General Election
Ms. Ginnold reported that Marin County would have a very large ballot with many candidates, 9 State propositions, and 21 local measures. The Committee reviewed a report of important dates and facts for the November election. There are 52 different ballot styles and 202 precincts, 32 of which are mail ballot precincts for this election. The number of mail ballot precincts is a result of the location of the boundary lines of the jurisdictions on the ballot.
Colleen Ksanda reported that there will be one polling place change due to remodeling at the First Presbyterian Church in San Rafael. Voters in the precinct will be assigned to nearby polling places and will receive notification of the change.
Ms. Ksanda also distributed Marin Votes, a newsletter she prepares for poll workers. The newsletter is published once each year and sent to poll workers with their recruitment letter in August. (80% of poll workers in Marin County are returning workers.) The current issue, #4, includes articles on how the census could impact voting in Marin, an explanation of a mail ballot precinct, information about turnout in the Primary Election, and more. Ms. Ksanda reported that the newsletters from the past 4 years are posted on the ROV website.
National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter) – report on implementation in Marin.
Maureen Hogan, who is in charge of Voter Registration and Outreach in the ROV Office, distributed a report with voter registration statistics for the past year. The report showed that in the past year 5,454 voters were added to the rolls, and 12,281 updated their registrations. Of the new voters, 1,902 registered at the DMV.
Update on VoteCal
Ms. Ginnold reported that the contract with Catalyst Consulting for the statewide voter registration database was cancelled and that the Secretary of State is preparing a request for proposal to find a new vendor.
New voter outreach materials.
The Committee reviewed the following new voter outreach materials which were created at the suggestion of the Committee:
- VBM Brochure: Both the English and Spanish versions of a new brochure How to Vote by Mail in Marin County were distributed to committee members.
- Video on voting by mail: Melvin Briones showed committee members the new video about how voting by mail works in Marin County. The video is now on U-Tube and there is a link to it on the ROV website. Marsha Hagan requested that the link to the video be published in the next printing of the VBM brochure and also put on the website in the link to Voting by Mail under Common Voter Questions.
Mr. Briones showed committee members the new ROV website, www.marinvotes.org which has new look-ups for voters. Voters can check to see if they are registered to vote, to look up their districts and elected officials, and check to see if their mail ballot or provisional ballot was counted. The new site should be up by next week.
Election Legislation – the following bills will be discussed at the September meeting.
- AB 1717 (Chapter 119) Voters can opt to receive their sample ballots electronically or on ROV website.
- AB 2023 (Chapter 122) establishes a pilot program for 5 counties to conduct risk limiting audit after the canvass.
- AB 1531 and SB 1140 – one stop registration and voting (after Vote Cal is implemented)
- SB 6 – implementation of new primary election rules
- SB 1342 (Chapter 111) – allows election official to subtract the number of permanent VBM voters when establishing election precincts.
Caroline Placente announced that Grassroots has started a new initiative called, “Take Power over Poverty.” The goal of the initiative is to encourage citizens to participate in the electoral process of registering and voting and to show them how voter participation can impact their communities in a positive manner.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:40 a.m. The next meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, September 17, in room 324A of the Civic Center.