2018 Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections


December 14, 2018

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, December 14, 2018, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center


The Election Advisory Committee met on Friday, December 14, 2018, in Room 324A of the Marin Civic Center. The following members were present: Greg Brockbank, Cathleen Dorinson, Veda Florez, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Tom Montgomery, Sean Peisert, Bob Richard, Steve Silberstein, Cat Woods

Members of the Public: Nancy Bell

Representing the CAO’s Office: Dan Eilerman, Assistant County Administrator

Representing the Elections Department: Lynda Roberts, Registrar, and Colleen Ksanda, Manager of Polls and Poll Workers


Lynda Roberts opened the meeting and welcomed the committee.

November election statistics

Recruiting poll workers was much easier than it was for the June election; no extraordinary efforts were required. The June recruitment is always more difficult because people are not available due to vacations, graduations, etc. The Elections Department has started putting a banner on its home page, which is a helpful recruitment tool.

Colleen Ksanda presented statistics about polling places and poll workers.

  • 628 poll workers; 41 were students from Marin Catholic High, San Rafael High, Novato High and Terra Linda High
  • 130 new clerks, 39 new deputies, and 5 new chiefs; the June election had 22 new chiefs
  • 103 cancellations
  • 20 standby inspectors; all but 6 were appointed
  • 140 precincts at 90 polling places; one new polling place was used in lieu of Sleepy Hollow Community Center due to construction

Ms. Roberts provided copies of statistics about turnout, and vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. This was a record-breaking election, second only to the November 2016 presidential election. From November 2-8, the department received 55,000 vote-by-mail ballots; 34,000 of those arrived on Election Day (either from the post office or dropped at polling places).

Election Comparison Registered
Vote-by-mail Turnout
November 6, 2018
Mid-term Election
160,634 132,434 (82.44%) 97,200 (73%)
November 8, 2016
Presidential Election
160,795 143,041 (88.96%) 100,442 (70%)

Listening session about vote centers

A vote center is a temporary elections department since it must offer all voter services available in the permanent Elections Department—voter registration, issuing ballots, voting, provisional voting, and ballot drop-off. The law also requires drop boxes to be available throughout the county.

Committee members’ ideas and questions

  • Continue to count ballots on site
  • Have someone from a vote center county speak to the committee
  • The objective is to help voters; does the vote center model help voters?
  • Have an education campaign for voters
  • Newspapers report that voter centers are a success
  • Vote centers seem to increase turnout for down-ballot voting
  • Logistical challenges: Renting space; internet connectivity; who pays the cost?
  • What would ballot chain of custody look like?
  • Staffing and training presents a challenge
  • Vote centers move services closer to voters; makes voting more convenient
  • Requires fewer locations
  • Which system (polling places or vote centers) serves the voters best?
  • Post a training video online
  • Reiterate the importance of counting ballots on site
  • Connectivity presents a concern with hacking
  • Need more cost information—review logistical challenges
  • Are there cost effective ways to implement vote centers?
  • Consider risk/reward: Concerns about implementing a new model before 2020
  • The current voting system is too old and needs to be replaced before 2020
  • Perhaps the question is, “When is a good time to move to vote centers?”
  • Analyze the number of staff needed for x number of days, and the cost
  • How many days of training will staff need?
  • Cost of machines with vote centers – Colorado saved money
  • Ask people coming to the elections office how hard it is for them to get there
  • Provide mobile services in a van
  • Would drop boxes have security cameras? What would the ballot pick-up procedure be?
  • Be prepared for something to go wrong and have a back-up plan

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Friday, January 18, 2019.

September 21, 2018

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, September 21, 2018, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center


A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, September 21, 2018,in Room 324A of the Marin Civic Center. The following members were present: Greg Brockbank, Veda Florez, Bonnie Glaser, Marcia Hagen, Lanie King, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Peter Mendoza, Sean Peisert, Bob Richard, Steve Silberstein

Members of the Public: Lynn Dooley, Nancy Bell, Carina Silberstein

Representing the Elections Department: Lynda Roberts, Registrar, and Colleen Ksanda, Manager of Polls and Poll Workers


Lynda Roberts opened the meeting and welcomed the committee.

Presentation by Sean Peisert

Dr. Sean Peisert talked about computer security in general and security specific to elections.
General issues of computer security involve confidentiality (stolen information), integrity (someone breaks in to change information), and availability (user is denied access to information). Problems may involve one, two, or all three of these issues. Human error can also cause problems, such as accidentally deleting a file.

Computer security is built on worst possible scenarios and designed using principles of psychological acceptability and important actions, such as changing passwords and Including authentication. Awareness about security is improving but threats are also increasing. An open software design does not guarantee better security.

Computers used in elections are only part of the process. Other things can go wrong, such as unintended consequences when changing procedures or implementing new laws. Jurisdictions with the strongest security have well documented and analyzed processes and procedures. One of the strongest safeguards is paper ballots since they create a paper trail and provide an independent source for a recount.

Elections best practices include: Paying attention to the process of maintaining voter registration systems; focusing on processes with strong checks and balances, such as requiring two people to always stay with ballots; having paper ballots along with checks and balances for the tallying process (i.e. 1% manual count or risk-limiting audit); separating duties so different people are performing different parts of a job.


  • People trying to disrupt elections may do something small that will make a big impact, such as doing something that will create long lines at a polling place to dissuade voting.
  • Misinformation can cause problems and spread rapidly.
  • Voter registration systems can be vulnerable.

November Election Statistics

Ms. Roberts presented statistics showing the impact of SB 415 on the November 2018 election. Senate Bill 415 is the legislation requiring jurisdictions with low turnout to move their regularly-scheduled elections to a statewide election date. Most jurisdictions in Marin County changed to November elections starting in 2018.

November 2018
District, # of Candidates
November 2016
District, # of Candidates
November 2014
District, # of Candidates
Marin Comm College, 6 Petaluma Joint Union, 3 Sonoma Co. BOE, 2
Petaluma Joint Union High, 7 Bolinas-Stinson Union, 3 Sonoma Comm College, 2
San Rafael BOE, 3 Sausalito Marin City Sch, 4 Petaluma Joint Union, 5
Tam Union High, 4 City of Sausalito, 4 Bolinas-Stinson Union, 4
Bolinas-Stinson Union High, 4 Mesa Park Rec, 3 City of Sausalito, 3
Dixie School Dist, 4 Strawberry Rec, 3 Marin Healthcare, 6
Kentfield School Dist, 5 MMWD, Div 3, 2
Novato Unified, 5
Sausalito Marin City Sch, 7
Shoreline Unified, 5
City of Sausalito, 2
Novato FPD, 3
Stinson Beach FPD, 3
Marin Healthcare, 5
Las Gallinas Valley San, 4
Novato Sanitary, 4
Richardson Bay Sanitary, 4
Sanitary Dist #5, 3
MMWD, Div 1, 2
MMWD, Div 4, 2
North Marin Water, 3
21 races
85 candidates
61 ballot types
6 races
20 candidates
27 ballot types
7 races
24 candidates
32 ballot types

Outreach and Ambassador Program Updates

Veda Florez reviewed the outreach efforts she has been working on as the Elections Department’s consultant.

  • In July the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution acknowledging National Disability Voter Registration Week. Ms. Florez organized community events.
  • For National Voter Registration Day in September, Ms. Florez worked with community partners to hold events. She created packets to help spread the word.
  • Ms. Florez attended a YMCA restorative justice event to help pre-register youth.
  • For the food bag program to reach underserved communities, Ms. Florez created a voter timeline and informational flyers.
  • Ms. Florez has been in touch with the Alcohol Justice Center, which will have door-to-door outreach in the Canal neighborhood.
  • The Asian Alliance is interested in creating community partnerships.
  • Earlier in the year Ms. Florez introduced a program called Register 5 Marin that encourages people to help register others.

Ms. Roberts reviewed the list of schools participating in the high school ambassador program:

  • 2 students – Redwood High
  • 5 students – San Rafael High
  • 1 student – Sonoma Academy
  • 7 students – Terra Linda High
  • 2 students – Tomales High

Megan Stone, Elections Department seasonal staff member, has been the main contact for the student ambassadors and presented information at the ambassador training class that was held in September. Ms. Stone reviewed the concept of the program, which is to promote peer-to-peer outreach to encourage students to register early and become lifelong voters. The first group of ambassadors is engaged and enthusiastic and responded positively to the initial training. Ms. Stone reviewed the training materials given to students in a small tote bag. The materials included a poster, voter registration forms, a flyer about the text2vote smart phone app, a card with information about online registration, information pamphlets, and I Registered to Vote stickers.


Ms. Roberts reviewed two legislative bills passed this year: 1) AB 216 requires vote-by-mail return envelopes to be postage paid; 2) SB 759 (effective immediately) requires a notice be sent to voters when the signature on their vote-by-mail ballot envelope does not match their voter registration record so they have the opportunity to cure the problem.

Miscellaneous Business

Ms. Roberts reviewed the proposed schedule of events for the voting system request for proposals. The RFP is still in draft form and the schedule is not yet final, but the intention is to put the RFP out in November.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Friday, December 14, 2018.

July 20, 2018

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, July 20, 2018, 9:30 AM
Room 410B, Marin Civic Center


A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, July 20, 2018, in Room 410B of the Marin Civic Center. The following members were present: Greg Brockbank, Cathleen Dorinson, Veda Florez, Marcia Hagen, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Bob Richard

Representing the Elections Department: Lynda Roberts, Registrar, and Colleen Ksanda, Manager of Polls and Poll Workers

Representing the County Administrator’s Office: Dan Eilerman, Assistant County Administrator


Lynda Roberts opened the meeting and welcomed the committee.

Guest Speaker

Cameron Ehsan, resident of Marin County and a student at San Francisco University High School, presented his idea for a high school ambassador program to promote civic engagement. Mr. Ehsan served as a student poll worker in the recent June primary election, and said he feels passionate about the importance of voting.

His proposal has three main objectives: 1) pre-register sixteen- and seventeen-year-old students and register students who are eighteen and eligible to vote; 2) expand the Elections Department high school poll worker program to reach more students; 3) educate students on the overall importance of engagement and participation in elections.

Research has shown that peer-to-peer contact is the most effective way to engage the youth population, so the program seeks to recruit student ambassadors in each high school that will then promote registration and voting. Ambassadors will be trained and will then act as a link to the Elections Department. Their work could coincide with the high school voter education weeks that are designated in the spring and fall. For example, during these weeks, the ambassadors could host voter registration tables. Ms. Ehsan and Mr. Roberts will be meeting with the Marin County Office of Education to talk about partnering on this effort and discussing the most effective way to introduce the program and select student ambassadors.

The program will incorporate the text 2VOTE platform, a tool that students can use to easily access registering to vote. The Elections Department and Office of Education have been collaborating on this tool for the last year, and Mr. Ehsan’s program will help promote it. With the support of teachers, students could be offered credit for participating as ambassadors.

Mr. Ehsan has based his idea on best practices from other counties and the Secretary of State’s resources. San Francisco has a similar program which is successful. Due to recent events at high schools, the youth population is becoming more politically active. The Marin County Youth Commission is another organization that may be interested in helping with this effort. The intent of the program is to register and educate students and give them tools to help them feel engaged in the election process and develop a sense of autonomy when voting.

Committee discussion and feedback:

  • Have ambassadors meet a couple of times a year to brainstorm; gather the group of ambassadors together to inspire them as a group.
  • Educate students about which issues affect them directly (personally); and let them know they don’t have to vote for everything on the ballot (it isn’t a test).
  • Keep election language easy for students to understand.
  • Think about how this can progress long-term.
  • Consider how to include other languages.
  • How can the program educate students to understand the importance of local government?
  • Have candidate debates at high schools?
  • Rather than piggyback with high school voter education weeks, would the program be more effective closer to an election?
  • How can the program work in odd-numbered years when there are no elections?
  • Consider creating a web page.
  • Consider how to advertise the program, i.e. students where a badge that says “I pre-registered to vote” – make it the “in” thing.
  • This is an important program that could create a space for conversation about elections and excite students about becoming influencers.

Review June Election

Colleen Ksanda gave a report about the June 5 Statewide Primary Election.

Polling Places: We had 89 locations on Election Day – three locations presented problems and had to be relocated. Several weeks before the election, Ignacio Hills Apartments dropped out due to construction. The new location for those voters, Mackey Terrace, was printed on the voter information guides and a postcard was mailed to each household notifying them of the change. Two locations had to change on election eve because the mover and chief inspectors were unable to gain access, and the contact person was not available and did not respond to telephone calls. The Seventh Day Adventist Church in Novato was moved to Novato Fire Station #63 and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was moved to the Presbyterian Church of Novato. We posted signs at the closed locations. A few voters from Ignacio Hills complained about having no directions to Mackey Terrace. Some voters had positive feedback about Mackey Terrace. The signs posted at the two churches in Novato included a map to the new locations; however, people complained that the signs were not big enough and signs should be posted when entering the parking lot.

Poll Workers: We had 578 poll workers, including 30 high school students, but we were short by 39 poll workers. During the week of training, 69 people dropped out and we could only replace 30 of them. Muir Beach ended up having one deputy and one chief. Recruiting for a June election is difficult because regular poll workers are often unavailable due to graduations and vacations. Recruiting for the November election should be easier. The social media site Nextdoor was a very useful way to recruit for poll workers. People responded almost immediately to postings.

Committee discussion and feedback:

  • In low-income housing areas, notify other organizations about the change, such as Marin Center for Independent Living.

Ms. Roberts presented the following information.

Vote Center Turnout: Five counties moved to the vote center model starting with the June election. They reported increased turnout; however, it is too early to attribute increased turnout in the June election to vote centers since turnout was up in many counties. For example, Marin County’s turnout was 15% higher than the gubernatorial election in 2014 – 56% compared to 41% in 2014.

Ms. Roberts reviewed the report of election results to clarify how to interpret cards cast versus votes cast. She also presented information about registration at the deadline 15 days before the election. The number of sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds pre-registered was 681. The percentage of eligible people registered to vote was 85.23%. Lastly, Ms. Roberts reviewed the vote-by-mail and provisional ballot report.

Miscellaneous Business

New Voting System Update: Ms. Roberts asked the County’s Procurement Office to prepare the Request for Proposals since they are the experts. Ms. Roberts has reviewed the draft RFP to ensure the committee’s notes are included. Two new voting systems are certified, and a third system is in the post-testing phase of certification. The Procurement Office will oversee the bid process with the vendors and the Elections Department will become involved when it is time to evaluate bids.

Newspaper Articles: 1) Prior to the June election, Ms. Roberts submitted an article to the Marin Voice about security of voting equipment. The article was published in the May 7 issue of the Independent Journal. 2) The June election timeline was published in the Pacific Sun, Marinscope, Marin County Post/El Mundo, and Point Reyes Light. Although it isn’t possible to know the impact of this paid advertising, the promotion gave more people an opportunity to see the important dates leading up to the election.

Outreach Events: Veda Florez gave a report about National Disability Voter Registration Week. The Elections Department partnered with Marin Center for Independent Living and the County of Marin Disability Access Program to host registration events at seven locations around the County. People were excited to see these events in their communities. Ms. Florez also mentioned an event hosted by Marin First 5 in which she and Ms. Roberts participated. For this event, Ms. Florez created packets and encouraged attendees to take the challenge and register five people to vote. Twenty-three people signed up.

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Friday, August 17, 2018.

April 20, 2018

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, April 20, 2018, 9:30 AM
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center


The Election Advisory Committee met on Friday, April 20, 2018, in Room 324 A of the Marin Civic Center. The following members were present: Greg Brockbank, Cathleen Dorinson, Veda Florez, Bonnie Glaser, Marcia Hagen, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Peter Mendoza, Steve Silberstein, Cat Woods.

Representing the Elections Department: Lynda Roberts, Registrar, Colleen Ksanda, Manager of Polls and Poll Workers, and Dan Miller, Candidate Services

Representing the County Administrator’s Office: Dan Eilerman, Assistant County Administrator


Lynda Roberts welcomed the committee and thanked them for attending.

She announced that the department still needs poll workers for the June election and asked Colleen Ksanda to elaborate. Ms. Ksanda said there are still spots for 15 deputy inspectors and 30 clerks, and currently there is not a back-up pool of workers. She posted a notice on Nextdoor and in the County’s newsletter. A news release was sent to the media and Ms. Roberts emailed information to the city and town clerks. Ms. Roberts asked committee members to circulate notices if possible. Members suggested talking with the executive directors at the A. J. Boro and Marin City Community Centers.

Preview November Election

Dan Miller reviewed offices likely to go on the ballot in November. He reviewed a chart showing the number of offices in past years that have gone to ballot. Since school districts and special districts have moved to November even-year elections (because of SB 415), the candidate filing period will be much busier. There are 47 jurisdictions new to the 2018 cycle. In addition to assisting candidates, Mr. Miller helps jurisdictions set up their elections.

The intent of SB 415 was to increase turnout in local races. Mr. Miller provided copies of the Official Final Results report from November 2016 showing that this appears to be so.

Website Review

Automark tutorial video
Members viewed the new Automark tutorial video. Ms. Ksanda wrote the script and narrated the video, and the County’s Public Information Office filmed and edited the video. Ms. Ksanda used the video for the first time in poll worker training for the November 2017 election. Poll workers could also view the video on a CD or online at poll worker training videos. Ms. Ksanda said having this video available at poll worker training helps build confidence.

Revised Voter Information Portal sign-in
At the January 2018 committee meeting, members reviewed the Voter Information Portal on the department’s website and made several suggestions, including adding more sign-in criteria. The department implemented this suggestion, and in addition to name, address number and birth date, voters will have to use either their driver’s license number or last four digits of their social security number to sign in.

Ms. Roberts is still working on implementing other suggestions, which include: 1) A warning on the “My Choices” page to alert people that this is not voting but only a tool to help them prepare to vote, and that information is not stored on the department’s server; 2) a new message for those not in a special election since “not eligible to vote in this election” could be confusing; 3) add a descriptive subtitle to Voter Information Portal, such as “check your individual information”.

Voter Registration

New voter registration paper form
Ms. Roberts shared copies of the re-designed voter registration form printed by the Secretary of State’s Office. Committee members expressed concerns that Ms. Roberts will pass on to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Motor Voter
Ms. Roberts reviewed the new Motor Voter registration process that will be part of applying for a new driver’s license or renewing a driver’s license. The new site is still being tested. More information is available at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/dmv/home and http://www.sos.ca.gov/.

Push Voter
The new statewide voter registration database (VoteCal) now makes it possible for voter registration to stay current when a voter moves. When a county receives change-of-address information, that county can update the registration and “push” it to the new county.

Miscellaneous Business

New voting system RFP
Ms. Roberts said she and Ms. Ksanda have been working on a draft Request for Proposals for a new voting system. The County’s procurement office is reviewing the draft.

High school outreach
On April 6, Ms. Roberts visited Terra Linda High School and gave a voter registration presentation to two classes (approximately 40 students). She visited Novato High School on April 19 and gave the presentation in six classes (approximately 180 students).

Food bag outreach
Veda Florez reported on her outreach efforts. She circulated copies of three information cards that will go in weekly food bags distributed by food pantries prior to the June election. The “Vote For What You Know” card has received good feedback from youth in the Canal area. Ms. Florez is working to connect with the homeless community and women of color. She plans to attend an upcoming Asian Heritage picnic to promote registration and voting.

Timeline promotion
At the suggestion of committee members last month, Ms. Roberts reviewed the cost of publishing the June election timeline in local newspapers. The department’s budget will allow publication in three of the smaller local papers (Marin County Post, Pacific Sun, and Marinscope). Members suggested checking into the Point Reyes Light.

Poll worker training
Ms. Roberts distributed copies of the poll worker training schedule for members who may be interested in observing a class.

Other business

Greg Brockbank talked briefly about the Disclose Act which requires the top three funders to be listed in political advertising for ballot measures.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Friday, July 20, 2018.

Venue Change: Room 410 B

March 16, 2018

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, March 16, 2018, 9:30 AM
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center


A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, March 16, 2018, in Room 324 A of the Marin Civic Center. The following members were present: Greg Brockbank, Cathleen Dorinson, Veda Florez, Marcia Hagen, Ora Hatheway, Anne Layzer, Bob Richard.

Representing the Elections Department: Lynda Roberts, Registrar, Colleen Ksanda, Manager of Polls and Poll Workers, and Maureen Hogan, Voter Registration and Outreach


Lynda Roberts welcomed the committee and thanked them for attending.

Outreach Efforts

Maureen Hogan reviewed pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds, and upcoming outreach. Since the tragedy at a Florida High School, the department has seen a surge in pre-registration with over 300 students registering this year. Students and parents have also been conducting voter registration drives at San Marin, Novato and Terra Linda High Schools. Other high schools have been promoting on-line voter registration. The Elections Department outreach team will be making presentations at Novato High and Terra Linda High in April.
According to the Secretary of State, there are nearly 90,000 16- and 17-year olds pre-registered in California.

Veda Florez talked about the food bag outreach program and presented the June election timeline that will be included in food bags starting in April. The timeline will be in both English and Spanish and is compliant with ADA legibility requirements. In addition to food bags that clients pick up, the timeline will now be included in food bags that are delivered to clients. Committee members suggested printing the timeline in the IJ, in color if the cost isn’t prohibitive. Committee members also suggested putting the timeline on the web and posting it on Facebook and Nextdoor. Even though effectiveness of the program cannot be quantified, Ms. Florez continually receives positive feedback since the clients feel “recognized”. Ms. Florez said the program is an effective way to encourage voter registration. Ms. Florez also continues to build relationships in underserved communities.

June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election

Greg Brockbank reviewed the list of local races on the June ballot, which include County Superintendent of Schools, County Supervisor Districts 1 (unopposed) and 5, Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk, District Attorney, Sheriff-Coroner (unopposed), Town of Corte Madera (four candidates for three seats), and City of Belvedere (two candidates for two seats). Incumbents for Assessor and DA are not running, and each race has three candidates. Superintendent of Schools usually runs unopposed, but this year the race will include one other candidate. The ballot will also include five state propositions and five local measures: Regional Measure 3 (Bay Area Toll Authority), Measure E (Ross Valley School District), Measure F (Town of Corte Madera), Measure G (City of San Rafael), and Measure H (Stinson Beach County Water District).

Colleen Ksanda reviewed polling place information. The June election will have approximately 160 consolidated precincts, 91 polling places, and approximately 600 poll workers. Each precinct has 3-4 poll workers, and in addition, each polling place has one chief. Fewer precincts are consolidated in statewide elections since turnout is higher than local elections. The Elections Code outlines the procedure for consolidating precincts. Ms. Ksanda also looks at past elections to help determine the best consolidation that will keep poll workers busy without creating long lines.

Ms. Ksanda mailed 4,200 invitations to people who worked in the past. The deadline to respond is April 1. It is not easy to recruit poll workers for June because people are busy with other activities, such as graduations and vacations. Committee members suggested posting a notice on Nextdoor to recruit poll workers. Ms. Ksanda puts a notice in the Voter Information Guide that helps recruiting efforts. If necessary, she will also send notices to households in the precincts asking for help.

Poll worker training will be held at the Four Points Sheraton on May 29, 30, and 31. New clerks and inspectors are required to attend training. There will be 12 classes, two of which will be for new inspectors.

As time permits, Ms. Ksanda participates in the high school outreach presentations to talk about the student poll worker program. Prior to each election, she sends information to the Superintendent of Schools for distribution to the high schools.

Ms. Ksanda gave an update about polling places and accessibility efforts in 2017:

  • Created the Automark tutorial video (the Automark is the ADA marking device used at each polling place).
  • Showed the Automark tutorial video at the new inspector training class prior to the November 2017 election.
  • Fifty-eight polling places are accessible and 33 have some type of barrier. On Election Day, the inaccessible polling places have an outside call bell so voters who are unable to go inside can ring for assistance. These places also have a sandwich board outside that includes the department’s telephone number so a voter can call if they need curbside assistance. Fifty polling places get mitigation supplies to correct accessibility problems.
  • Re-surveyed 27 of the 33 inaccessible polling places to see if barriers had been removed. Corte Madera Recreation Center and the Fairfax Library are now accessible.
    After each election, poll workers also provide updates about accessibility. A committee member asked about the Mill Valley Community Center. Ms. Ksanda will follow-up.
  • For the June election, two polling places are unavailable: 1) Sunrise of San Rafael has been permanently merged with Autodesk; and 2) Trinity Church has been temporarily relocated to Marin Ballet.
  • Whistlestop, San Rafael High School, and Coleman School each get a ballot drop box for vote-by-mail voters to help reduce the amount of parking congestion and/or pedestrian traffic on campus.

Ms. Roberts said she and Ms. Ksanda will be visiting a Napa County vote center at the end of May to see how that model works.

Unfinished Business

Proposed Objectives
Ms. Roberts suggested focusing on the Committee’s purpose as stated on the department’s website rather than stating a goal. Members offered additional suggestions about the objectives. Ms. Roberts will post the 2018 objectives on the website.

Vote-by-Mail Information Page
The Committee reviewed the finalized version of the vote-by-mail information page to be printed in the June Voter Information Guide. Members suggested other uses for this page, such as including it in the food bag outreach program.

Miscellaneous Business

Motor Voter Registration
Assembly Bill No. 1407 was approved by the Governor and filed with the Secretary of State in February. The Department of Motor Vehicles will work with the Secretary of State’s office to implement the new law, which will automatically register people to vote when they apply for a new driver’s license, renew their driver’s license or change their address with DMV.

Court Ruling in La Follette v. Padilla
In early March, a San Francisco judge ruled that elections officials must notify voters before rejecting their mail-in ballots due to signature mis-matches. Senate Bill No. 759 was introduced in January to cure this problem. The court’s decision is not yet final, and a writ has not been issued. The Secretary of State’s office is reviewing the court’s decision, and the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials is tracking SB 759.

Election Advisory Committee Membership
Members asked the Registrar to consider contacting those who are not attending meetings, or have missed several meetings, to ascertain their continued interest in participating on the committee.

Committee Communication Reminders
The Committee discussed desired communication practices during meetings. All members present agreed that lively discussions bring forth good ideas. To respect others while they are talking, members need to avoid sidebar conversations, talking across the table, and talking over each other. Spontaneous comments and conversations seem to work well if no one is raising their hand to speak. Raised hands will be taken in order. Ms. Ksanda will assist with making sure people are called on in order.

Members also agreed that it is important to stay on topic and discuss issues that impact Marin County and its voters.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Friday, April 20, 2018.

February 16, 2018

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, February 16, 2017, 9:30 AM
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center


A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, February 16, 2017, in Room 324 A of the Marin Civic Center. The following members were present: Greg Brockbank, Cathleen Dorinson, Veda Florez, Marcia Hagen, Ora Hatheway, Anne Layzer, Peter Mendoza, Bob Richard, Steve Silberstein.

Representing the Elections Department: Lynda Roberts, Registrar, and Colleen Ksanda, Manager of Polls and Poll Workers


Lynda Roberts opened the meeting.

Goal and Objectives—2018

The committee continued its discussion from the January meeting. Important concepts to include are integrity, voter confidence, and exchange of information.

The committee reaffirmed the importance of maintaining a diverse membership. If attendance becomes an issue for a member, perhaps that member can suggest an alternate to ensure continued representation for that community.

A member suggested the possibility of holding a public town hall meeting at a different location, such as a school, so diverse groups can meet the committee and learn about their work.

Upcoming Elections

March 6
All vote-by-mail election in Kentfield School District. Measure A will renew and increase a parcel tax. This election includes approximately 8,000 voters.

May 8
All vote-by-mail election in Dixie School District. Measure B will renew and increase a parcel tax. This election includes approximately 14,000 voters.

June 5
Statewide Direct Primary election for federal, state, and local offices, including County Board of Supervisors for Districts 1 and 5, Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk, District Attorney, Sheriff/Coroner and County Superintendent of Schools. Marin County currently has approximately 154,000 registered voters.

Discussion: The underserved community is excited about this election. It is likely that local races will drive the turnout. The turnout in the June 2014 statewide primary was 41%; turnout for this election could be 55-60%.

Assembly Bill 918—California Voting for All Act
This bill was passed in 2017 and will require additional efforts regarding poll workers and translated sample ballots, notices, and signs. The new law requires elections officials to print instructions in the voter information guide and post instructions on the department website for requesting a translated sample ballot. The instructions are to be translated into the languages required in the specific county. Marin County language requirements (determined by the Secretary of State’s Office) are Spanish and Vietnamese. Sample ballots, notices, and signs are required to be provided only in precincts determined to meet the language threshold. The new instructions were published on the department’s website and in the voter information guide for the upcoming March election.

The new law requires poll workers to be trained on the purpose and proper handling of translated sample ballots, and requires a poll worker to identify non-English languages spoken by him or her by wearing some form of identification.

Members asked about posting translated sample ballots in all required languages at every polling place. Since 75% of the precincts in Marin County require Spanish translations, the Elections Department translates all ballot types. Currently four precincts (1.5%) require Vietnamese translations. Translating sample ballots and other materials adds to election costs. Avoiding unnecessary cost is desirable.

Miscellaneous Business

Vote Centers
The Sacramento Bee published an article February 13, 2018, talking about the new vote center model that has been approved in Sacramento County and will be implemented with the June primary election. Other counties that moved to voter centers are Madera, Napa, Nevada, and San Mateo. The remaining counties will be eligible in 2020 to adopt the voter center model. The Elections Department staff in Marin County has been discussing voter centers but is waiting to see how the model works for the initial five counties.

Discussion: It might be easier to administer vote-by-mail, but questions remain about locations, staffing, and use by voters. Use may depend on public education and marketing. With the vote center model, every voter will receive a vote-by-mail ballot, so it will be interesting to see if more voters send in ballots rather than using voter centers for voting. It would be educational if staff from the Elections Department could visit a vote center in Napa County.

Vote-by-Mail Information Page—printed in the voter guide for each election
The committee reviewed their revisions from the January meeting, and offered additional suggestions.

Vote-by-Mail Ballots—comparing number of ballots mailed to number dropped at polling places
The committee reviewed a revised version of the statistics distributed in January, which now include elections from 2012 and 2013. Comparing the November odd-year elections in 2013, 2015, and 2017, it appears that more people are mailing their ballots rather than dropping them at polling places. This may be an early indication of how the postmark +3 law and postage-paid envelopes are impacting voter behavior.

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Friday, March 17, 2017.

January 19, 2018

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, January 19, 2018, 9:30 AM
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center


The Election Advisory Committee met on Friday, January 19, 2018, in Room 324 A of the Marin Civic Center. The following members were present: Greg Brockbank, Cathleen Dorinson, Veda Florez, Marcia Hagen, Ora Hatheway, Anne Layzer, Tom Montgomery, Steve Silberstein, Cat Woods.

Representing the Elections Department: Lynda Roberts, Registrar, and Tony Aquilino, Technology Systems Specialist II.


Ms. Roberts opened the meeting and announced that the Elections Department Team has been selected Team of the Quarter. The Board of Supervisors will recognize the Team on February 27.

Update from December’s Meeting

Regarding the next phase of voting system replacement, the Elections Department staff has more work to do before proceeding to work with an advisory subcommittee.

Web Page Demo

Mr. Aquilino demonstrated the new Voter Information Portal (VIP) on the Department’s website, and ballot look-up/my choices module in the Portal. Voters will now be able to find out when their vote-by-mail ballot was issued, received, and counted or challenged, and the reason it was challenged. The ballot look-up/my choices module allows voters to pre-select their ballot choices and have an electronic reference at the polling place.

Promote the VIP in the Voter Information Guide.

Poll worker training includes a review of the VIP so voters at the polls can check their status if they do not appear in the roster.

“My Choices” could be mistaken for actual voting and the information is potentially not secure. The page needs an obvious warning to inform people that this is not voting but only a tool to help the voter prepare. There should also be a message that choices are not stored on the department’s server. Rather than selecting choices online, perhaps voters could print the page and make selections on a paper copy.

Input from young voters and voters from various cultures may be worthwhile.

Is the login secure enough?

Change the message for those not in an election. For example, instead of saying a voter is “not eligible” to vote in a specific election, let them know their area is not included in that election.

Should the subtitle, Voter Information Portal, be changed to something more descriptive about checking individual information?

Legislation passed in 2017

The group specifically reviewed AB 837, AB 840, AB 918, and SB 568. The full legislation is found online at the California Legislative Information website.

AB 4: Permits an elections official to notify an individual by text message or email when an affidavit of registration is submitted or updated in accordance with existing law.

AB 195: Requires the ballot statement for all local ballot measures that impose a tax or raise the rate of a tax to include specified information about the tax, instead of making such a requirement applicable only to local initiative measures.

AB 551: Prohibits a former local elected official or top administrator for a local agency, for a year after leaving that position, from appearing before or communicating with the former agency, for compensation, as an independent contractor for another government agency.

AB 606: Deletes provisions of law that require the state voter information guide to contain the complete text of each state measure, as specified, and instead requires the state voter information guide, before each state measure, to have a conspicuous notice identifying the location on the Secretary of State's (SOS) Internet Web site of the complete text of the state measure, among other provisions.

AB 765: Eliminates the requirement that a special election be held to vote on a local initiative measure if certain conditions are met, and instead generally provides for the measure to be submitted to voters at a regularly scheduled election.

AB 837: Makes significant changes to partisan primary election processes and procedures to improve the voting process for voters that decline to disclose a political party preference.

AB 840: Permits a voter who did not sign his or her vote by mail identification envelope to return a completed unsigned ballot statement by email, as specified. Specifies that the one percent manual tally of ballots cast are those canvassed during the semiofficial canvass and do not include provisional ballots.

AB 918: Significantly expands the availability and accessibility of facsimile ballots in languages other than English in situations where such facsimile ballots are required to be made available pursuant to existing law.

AB 1044: Requires the Secretary of State to include an Internet Web site address in the state voter information guide at which a voter may access to check the status of his or her vote by mail or provisional ballot.

AB 1154: Prohibits elections officials from randomly choosing the initial precincts or selecting an additional precinct for the one-percent manual tally, which is required by existing law, until after the close of the polls on election day.

AB 1194: Requires the fiscal statement that is required to be included in the sample ballot for local bond measures to include the best estimate from official sources of the average annual tax rate that would be required to be levied to fund the bond issue over the entire duration of the bond debt service, as specified. Requires the estimate to identify the final fiscal year in which the tax is anticipated to be collected.

SB 358: Requires the Secretary of State's (SOS) Internet Web site to include conspicuous hyperlinks to local government agency web sites that contain publicly disclosed campaign finance information. Requires the SOS to update these hyperlinks no later than December 31 of each year.

SB 568: Moves California's primary elections from June to March, beginning with the 2020 election.

Objectives for 2018

Ms. Roberts revised the objectives from last year to make them more concise. Mr. Brockbank and Ms. Florez volunteered to review the objectives and suggest additional changes.

Miscellaneous Business

Vote-by-mail page printed in the Voter Information Guide. The group reviewed recent revisions and made new suggestions.

ACLU lawsuit regarding signature challenges (no match) on vote-by-mail ballot envelopes. SB 759 currently before the Legislature would direct registrars to contact voters whose signatures do match their voter registration record, so they have a chance to verify the signature on the envelope.

Statistics about vote-by-mail ballots and the impact of the postmark +3 legislation that became effective January 1, 2015.

Number of registered voters without a permanent address. As of this meeting, 161 people were registered using cross streets as their address. Of those, 25 vote-by-mail. It is difficult to conduct voter registration outreach to this population because people move around a lot, and, as Ms. Florez learned at a conference, voter registration is a low priority.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be Friday, February 16, 2018.