Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, August 15, 2014, 9:30 AM
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center
A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, August 15, 2014 in Room 324A of the Marin Civic Center. Present were Greg Brockbank, Veda Florez, Marcia Hagen, Anne Layzer, Sean Peisert, Steve Silberstein, Ora Hatheway, Morgan Kelley, and Barbara Gaman. Present from the Elections Office: Lynda Roberts; Dan Miller and Maureen Hogan gave presentations.
Ms. Roberts reiterated her enthusiasm about working with the committee, and thanked them in advance for their patience while she is learning her new position.
Statistics from June 3, 2014
Ms. Roberts distributed copies of the Secretary of State’s Report of Registration as of May 19, 2014, and Voter Participation Statistics by County. Committee members noted that VBM turnout was higher in other counties (specifically Sonoma County). Some members suggested that fewer precincts or distances between precincts could be a factor. The types of races on a ballot (i.e. “exciting races”) also contribute to interest in an election. Ms. Roberts will follow-up with Sonoma County to find out what may have contributed to their high VBM turnout.
Copies of Voter Information Pamphlet cover and filler pages
Dan Miller distributed information about the measures and candidates that will be on the November 4th ballot, and gave the following summary.
Measures: One County-wide measure (parcel tax for emergency radio); five school measures (4 bond and 1 parcel tax); seven municipal measures (1 sales tax, 5 parcel tax continuations, 1 special tax increase); five district measures (3 parcel tax continuations, 1 bond, 1 hospital lease agreement). The parcel tax continuation measures are for paramedic services, 7 of which are with the Ross Valley Paramedic Authority. Corte Madera is not a participant in the Ross Valley Paramedic Authority, so they are doing their own paramedic measure. The hospital measure is not countywide; a small portion of Novato won’t vote on it.
Candidates: There will be seven contests on the ballot: 3 contests are shared with Sonoma (no candidates from Marin); Sausalito City Council; Marin Municipal Water District, Division 3; Marin Healthcare District; Bolinas-Stinson Union School District. Mr. Miller said there is a process for the Board of Supervisors to appoint-in-lieu of election when there are not enough candidates for the ballot.
Mr. Brockbank distributed a copy of his report listing the candidate races and specifying those that would be on the ballot. His list includes the name, address and contact information for each candidate, and specifies incumbents, political party, and who filed a ballot statement. Mr. Brockbank pointed out that the designation of No Party Preference is increasing among registered voters.
Maureen Hogan distributed copies of the Summary Reconciliation Report of Returned Registrations, July 1, 2103 to August 15, 2014. This report shows how many voter registration cards were issued to various locations and how many were completed and returned. Ms. Hogan tracks registration forms by their numbers in order to know the source of a completed form. The new California Health Benefit Exchange Association will provide another way for people to register to vote.
Ms. Hogan talked about a recent webinar she participated in regarding the National Voter Registration Act. She has contacted public assistance agencies and offered training.
Lastly, Ms. Hogan talked about current outreach efforts. She sent letters to residential facilities offering assistance with voter registration. She also sent letters and packets of voter registration cards to 30 high schools and colleges. In an effort to increase interest, the packets included a flyer showing the state races and propositions, and local races and measures that will be on the November 4th ballot. She is also working with Ms. Florez on National Voter Registration Day.
Mr. Silberstein asked if there are outreach efforts when mail is returned. Ms. Hogan does make outreach efforts. He also suggested putting a sign at the front desk of libraries asking people if they are registered.
National Voter Registration Day
Veda Florez, Communications Outreach Coordinator working for the Elections Department, talked about her planning efforts for National Voter Registration Day. She is organizing a voter-registration drive event from September 20-26 that will include several communities, and has designed the event to catch people at prime times. She is planning to be in each of the target communities twice.
This year Ms. Florez wants to focus on partnering with other organizations. Participants currently include Marin Grassroots, Latino Educational Community Forum, Young Democrats, and Center for Independent Living. Ms. Florez will provide a separate packet of information for organizations that can’t partner. She challenged the committee members to take one voter registration form and get someone to register. Ms. Hatheway volunteered to work with the public housing sector.
Ms. Florez is preparing a supply bag for each location that will contain everything necessary for the volunteers to set-up their tables (i.e. table decorations, information folders, brochures, and voter registration cards). The Elections Department will provide tables and chairs, brochures and voter registration cards; members of the department will also participate at the events.
Ms. Florez requested feedback about a flyer she wants to distribute. Members suggested she provide specific details about dates, times and locations. Ms. Roberts and Ms. Florez are planning to put out multiple press releases prior to the event. Ms. Florez showed a video from last year’s event.
Feedback from Committee Members about Registrar of Voters working with community citizens on door-to-door outreach
Ms. Roberts brought this issue to the committee as a result of a conversation with Mr. John Ortega. Mr. Ortega spoke with Ms. Roberts on August 4th about his concerns with low voter turnout, lack of participation by young people, and a lack of civic education in schools. One idea they discussed was going door-to-door in his community to talk with residents about voter registration. The committee members offered the following suggestions:
- Similar outreach efforts have not been very successful.
- Review the statistics and ask other counties what they are doing to increase turnout.
- Participation seems to be higher among those who vote by mail.
- Find ways to encourage target populations to participate in the process (i.e. working at the polls); perhaps give a short presentation to the target population.
- People feel overwhelmed by all the information about issues, which may contribute to low turnout.
Review of the Communities that Committee Members Represent
Due to time constraints, this item will be deferred to the next meeting.
Regarding Mr. Brockbank’s suggestion from last month about reviewing recount laws, he withdrew the idea since the issue is currently being reviewed in proposed legislation.
Committee members suggested future topics:
- Report on the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC)
- Review the demographics of the EAC, and bring in more diversity.
- Address the question about why it is hard to recruit poll workers. What kind of outreach would be possible?
Ms. Roberts will follow-up with Sonoma County to find out what may have contributed to their high VBM turnout.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Friday, September 19, 2014.