2022 Language Accessibility Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections


October 4 2022

Marin County Elections Department
Language Accessibility Advisory Committee Meeting (LAAC)
Tuesday, October 4, 2022, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Zoom Meeting



  • Rosemary Costello, Development Coordinator, Canal Alliance
  • Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters
  • Megan Stone, Elections Outreach Coordinator
  • Danny Straub, Elections Outreach Coordinator
  • Colleen Ksanda, Sr. Program Coordinator


Ms. Roberts opened the meeting and thanked the members for their participation.

November 2022 General Election

Colleen Ksanda presented information about language assistance at vote centers.

  • Applicants for vote center positions (vote center coordinators and election workers) can indicate their bi-lingual status when they apply. The majority of bi-lingual applicants speak English and Spanish.
  • Currently every vote center has Spanish-speaking workers. Vote center locations in areas with precincts requiring Vietnamese and Chinese speakers have at least one worker that speaks these languages. Vote centers include A.J. Boro Community Center (Vietnamese) and Novato School District offices (Chinese).
  • Bi-lingual vote center workers write their additional language on their name tag (in that language) so voters can easily identify them.
  • Signage posted at the entrance of vote centers also indicates the languages spoken at the location.
  • Other required postings are translated into Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese. Voter registration forms in these languages are available, and for this election, vote centers will also have translated copies of the Easy Voter Guide published by the League of Women Voters.
  • Voting booths have instructions in Spanish about how to vote and each vote center has a stand-up sign with information in Spanish and English.
  • During formal training classes, workers are given instructions about alternate languages and this information is reinforced during in-office training where staff demonstrate how to post the various translated signs.
  • Vote center instruction manuals have information about working with voters that speak another language.

What information is provided this year that is different from 2020? New resources include the Easy Voter Guide and notices about prohibitions against electioneering and corrupting the vote. Also, Chinese language requirements are new.

Is there some signage that is not translated? Generic signs have not been translated.


Translating all signs, including directional signs, would be helpful. Some observers in 2020 reported that some workers didn’t wear their name tag. Ms. Ksanda said the department is now providing name tags in a plastic sleeve with a lanyard so workers will wear the name tag around their neck.

Outreach Update

Megan Stone and Danny Straub reviewed the public outreach efforts for the November election. Ms. Stone reviewed the following:

  • The department hosted a virtual community workshop on September 29 with interpreters; the workshop was recorded and will be posted online. In addition to the workshop, staff has participated in additional community engagement efforts at various events. So far attending other organizations’ events has seemed to be more successful.
  • The outreach toolkit is posted online; the FAQ page is available for community partners in the toolkit.
  • The Voter Education and Outreach Advisory Committee (VEOAC) is notified via email when it is time to share messages with their constituents.

It is beneficial that the department implemented feedback from the June outreach effort. What would the measure of success be for November? Ms. Stone outlined various measures, including the different communities staff was able to reach by visiting high-traffic areas, such as farmer’s markets; tracking the number of people staff interacted with; and staff’s ability to widen the scope of effort to include youth and seniors.

Mr. Straub reviewed the following:

  • New efforts for November include working with Hearst Media, which uses targeted digital advertising and supports translated banner ads. The ads will appear in the language specified in the user’s browser. The Elections Department outreach team will be able to see how well the digital campaign reached people.
  • Staff has attended events at Vivalon, Canal Alliance, Farmer’s Market, College of Marin, and held a tabling event with the League of Women Voters on National Voter Registration Day. Staff will speak at an upcoming Novato City Council meeting.
  • A big part of outreach is distributing printed materials to community partners. Part of the process is ensuring all languages are available at locations. Staff will start distributing printed material this week. Mr. Straub is working with churches that serve Chinese and Vietnamese speaking members to place translated printed materials in their areas.
  • In addition to Hearst Media, advertising efforts include ads printed in the Marin IJ, back-of-bus ads, and ads in the largest weekly and regional print media including those reaching Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese readers.

The Elections Department is doing work that can be a model for equity. Being able to reach the community in their language makes a difference.

Members had a brief discussion about increasing membership on the LAAC. Ideas included reaching potential members through community based organizations, possibly paying a stipend for attendance, using a committee model similar to the H&HS Department’s community response team.

Closing Remarks/Next Meeting

Ms. Roberts thanked everyone for participating. The next meeting is scheduled for January 10, 2023, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Ms. Roberts will send the Zoom link closer to the meeting date.

The meeting adjourned at 3:25 p.m.

July 12, 2022

Marin County Elections Department
Language Accessibility Advisory Committee Meeting
July 12, 2022, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Virtual (Zoom) Meeting



  • Rosemary Costello, Development Coordinator, Canal Alliance
  • Vinh Luu, Project Director, Marin Asian Advocacy Project
  • Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters
  • Megan Stone, Elections Outreach Coordinator
  • Danny Straub, Elections Outreach Coordinator

Welcome/Opening Comments  

Ms. Roberts opened the meeting and thanked the members for their participation. She outlined the purpose of the meeting:

  • Overview of June election with vote centers
  • Review outreach efforts (Megan Stone and Danny Straub)
  • Recruiting people with required language skills

June 2022 Statewide Direct Primary Election

Ms. Roberts reviewed highlights:

  • Implementation of the Voter’s Choice Act was successful
  • The election ran smoothly and there were no major issues; any issues that arose were similar to polling place issues (i.e., workers needing assistance with equipment)
  • The Department received positive feedback about the new model from vote center workers and voters; vote center workers also received positive feedback from voters
  • Recruiting for vote center workers is more of an effort through the HR process; it is also a challenge to find workers with the required language skills—especially Chinese and Vietnamese
  • The equipment used at vote centers (laptop computers and ballot printers) presented some training issues due to the extensive amount of time needed to present the information
  • We learned from this first time where we need to refine internal procedures
  • We also learned that we need to approach outreach differently

There were no questions so Ms. Roberts turned the meeting over to Ms. Stone and Mr. Straub to review outreach.


Ms. Stone and Mr. Straub reviewed public outreach efforts for the June election and the planned changes for November.

Mr. Straub summarized the June outreach.

  • March kick-off meeting with the Secretary of State’s office; over 50 people attended
  • Two direct mailers sent to each registered voter
  • Created an outreach toolkit; outreach partners were important in helping disseminate information; we will make some revisions to the toolkit and use it again
  • Used public service announcements, radio ads, and paid advertising, including the largest daily newspaper, free weekly newspapers, regional ads, digital ads, e-blasts, and the County’s social media
  • Held in-person and virtual workshops with interpreters
  • Distributed the physical materials (banners, posters, fact sheets, newsletters, door hangers); focused on hard-to-count census tracts

Ms. Stone reviewed planned changes for the November campaign.

  • We are considering lessons learned from June to improve outreach for November; some things will remain the same due to the short timeframe between the June and November elections
  • We will review outreach in more depth after the November election
  • We plan to keep the toolkit the same, revising dates as needed, but there will be no major revisions at this time due to the short timeframe to prepare for November
  • We want to create better attention-getting information for the two direct mailers and we are asking: What gets attention?  What do voters want to know?
  • We plan to simplify the messaging and eliminate election jargon
  • In addition to mailers, we are required to host workshops with translators
  • Summary of June workshops: We followed models used by other counties; we held one virtual workshop with translators for the three required language communities and the disability community; we held four in-person workshop with translators, one for each community; the workshops were expensive to plan and host and had very low turnout; going forward we are considering holding one virtual workshop as we did for June, and then attending events hosted by other organizations


  • Attending workshops may not be a first priority for people; specific community radio stations may be a better way to disseminate information
  • Regarding outreach efforts and better quality translated material, Mr. Luu can help the department make local community connections through Asian American Alliance of Marin
  • The plan to meet people where they are, for example community events and radio, is a great idea
  • The Department should consider consistent outreach in off-election years, which could offer general education; for example, those not eligible to vote could help others register, and off-cycle outreach could include information about changes to the voting system

In response to a question about tracking the impact of outreach, Ms. Stone and Ms. Roberts said this was hard to track without conducting surveys.  However, Ms. Roberts suggested Center for Inclusive Democracy may be a good resource since they do this kind of work.

Recruiting vote center workers with specific language skills

Ms. Roberts asked for suggestions about sources that may offer help finding people who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese.


  • Asian American Alliance
  • Consider hiring monolingual speakers and pairing them with a bi-lingual speaker

Closing Remarks/Next Meeting

Mr. Luu mentioned that he is available by phone or text if Ms. Stone or Mr. Straub need to contact him.

Ms. Roberts thanked everyone for participating.  The next meeting is scheduled for October 4, 2:30-3:30.  Ms. Roberts sent a placeholder email notice and will send the Zoom link closer to meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 3:25 p.m.

March 2, 2022

Marin County Elections Department
Language Accessibility Advisory Committee Meeting
March 2, 2022, 11 AM
Virtual (Zoom) Meeting



  • Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters
  • Megan Stone, Elections Outreach Manager
  • Danny Straub, Elections Outreach Coordinator
  • Rosemary Costello, Development Coordinator, Canal Alliance
  • Shuddha Butler, Director of Operations, Community Action Marin

Welcome/Opening Comments

Ms. Roberts opened the meeting and thanked the members for their participation. Attendees introduced themselves.

Ms. Roberts outlined the purpose of the meeting:

  • Provide an update about Voter’s Choice Act (VCA) implementation
  • Talk about a regular meeting schedule

Update on Voter’s Choice Act Implementation

Chinese has been added as one of Marin County’s required languages, so outreach materials will now be translated into Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese. Ms. Roberts asked for suggestions about finding someone who speaks Chinese to serve on the LAAC. Ms. Stone has contacted several organizations including Asian Advocacy Project and Asian American Alliance of Marin; we would welcome additional suggestions. Ms. Costello offered to pass along information at a meeting she facilitates with 15 agencies.

Ms. Stone and Mr. Straub gave an update about upcoming outreach efforts. The June 7 primary election will be the first election after VCA is implemented and outreach is a very large component of this new model. The Department will follow outreach efforts used for the November 2020 election, which was administered similarly to VCA. At that time, Ms. Stone and others developed a toolkit and formed a community outreach network that will be used as the model for the upcoming outreach campaign. The outreach network is a formalized committee (Voter Education and Outreach Advisory Committee – VEOAC) of 40+ organizations and growing, plus the Language Accessibility Advisory Committee, the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Election Advisory Committee. We rely on all advisory committees to provide feedback about the outreach materials and help distribute messages.

June election outreach will include:

  • Posters, banners, flyers, social media and texts, PSA videos, paid advertising in various media.
  • Electronic toolkit will be distributed to outreach partners after it is reviewed by the digital access team and translated into Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.
  • Two direct mailers will be sent to voters; the first will be sent the week of March 7.
  • The Secretary of State is hosting a virtual VCA kick-off event with Marin County on March 10. All advisory committees are invited and strongly encouraged to attend; the public is welcome to join the webinar. Print ads will run in the paper this week with information about the event.
  • Public workshops are being planned for April. The purpose of the workshops is to educate people about VCA and how it impacts voters, plus answer questions. The workshops may be virtual or in-person depending on the current situation with COVID. As plans unfold, staff will reach out to the advisory committees for assistance.

Ms. Stone asked for feedback about the public workshops. Ms. Costello suggested in-person with virtual workshops as Plan B. Ms. Butler said they could host a workshop in their conference room and they could possibly accommodate a hybrid meeting. Technology is a problem for their clients so an in-person workshop would be better. They can also reach out to their clients about events.

Ms. Stone asked about language demographics. Ms. Butler said most of their clients speak Spanish; some clients speak Vietnamese, Korean and Russian. Ms. Costello said their clients primarily speak Spanish and they only have capacity to do outreach in Spanish. She reiterated that in-person workshops are the most effective way to communicate, and it is a good idea to join scheduled events and show them on Facebook to give people more access.

Ms. Stone asked if either organization had events planned. Ms. Costello said they are planning community fairs at Pickleweed Park in March and May, or they could do something outside their office. They are considering how to educate and engage the whole community, not just those who are eligible to vote.

Ms. Stone said VCA workshops would have translators in the required languages. She will follow-up when more information about the workshops is available.

Regular Meeting Schedule

Ms. Roberts asked for feedback about a regular meeting schedule for the LAAC. After some discussion, members agreed that meetings should be held quarterly, and Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons are the best time. In between meetings, staff will communicate via email as needed. Ms. Roberts will send a Doodle survey to get feedback from all committee members.

Closing Remarks/Next Meeting

In response to a question about a calendar of election dates, Ms. Roberts mentioned that some dates are posted online for the benefit of observers. Ms. Stone mentioned that events, such as the kick-off event, are posted on the department’s main web page; a forthcoming newsletter will have a list of dates and deadlines for voters. Key dates are also listed in the voter information guide that is mailed to each voter before and election.

The meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.