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.
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.