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Program Goals

Mission

The California Voter Foundation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization promoting and applying the responsible use of technology to improve the democratic process.

Strategy

The California Voter Foundation (CVF) involves itself in issues where democracy and technology intersect, working to ensure that democracy is enhanced rather than harmed through technological changes.  CVF innovates and promotes good technology and democracy practices that benefit California voters while also serving as an example for other states. 

CVF is a pioneer of digital democracy programs in California that have spread across the nation, demonstrating the effectiveness of CVF’s strategy in areas such as online voter education, Internet disclosure of money in politics and voting technology reform.  CVF’s program goals reflect the organization’s continuing commitment to advancing the public’s interest on cutting-edge democracy and technology issues.

Program Goals

Advance public verification of election results

Computers are playing important roles in the voting process.  But voting equipment in California and the United States is provided by private companies, and the software that is used to record and count votes is proprietary and not open to public inspection.  Over the past forty years, in effect, the voting process has been outsourced to the private sector.  Yet government at all levels is unable to provide the public with assurance that the use of computers in the voting process is safe. 

The California Voter Foundation is committed to advancing oversight, accountability and transparency in the voting process by encouraging election officials to provide physical, paper records of every ballot cast and utilizing those records to publicly verify the accuracy of computerized vote counts so that everyone can have confidence that all votes cast in all elections -- from the local school board race to the Presidential contest -- are cast and counted accurately.

Provide California voters with access to nonpartisan election information

The California Voter Foundation uses the Internet to improve California voters’ ability to make informed electoral choices.  For more than a decade, CVF’s nonpartisan California Online Voter Guide has provided voters with free and convenient access to a wealth of reliable information sources for each election.  CVF’s web site also features political district maps, an archive of campaign promises, voting equipment maps and directories, timely information on voting and voter registration, and information on California state and local government, all of which is designed to help the voting public make informed, confident choices.

The California Voter Foundation is committed to continue providing Californians with access to nonpartisan election information, and offering its web site as a state and national model for online voter education.  CVF is also committed to working with state and local government agencies and institutions to increase public access to reliable election and government information via government web sites.

Promote transparency of money in politics

CVF advances accountability in government and ensures voters are empowered to make informed, confident decisions by making it possible to “follow the money”.  CVF is a pioneer of electronic filing and Internet disclosure of campaign finance records, shining “digital sunlight” on money in politics throughout the state and nation.  CVF’s work advancing online disclosure opens up public access to this data and provides voters with crucial information about who is funding candidates and measures.

The California Voter Foundation is committed to continue promoting transparency of money in politics and ensuring voters have convenient and timely access to information about those who financially support candidates and measures on the ballot.  CVF’s ongoing Grading State Disclosure program promotes greater accountability of money in politics in all 50 states by assessing, grading and ranking each state’s campaign finance and online disclosure programs.

Protect voter privacy

New technologies bring new opportunities for democracy, but also new challenges. Putting voter registration data on computers, especially when combined with other changes in elections technology and campaign practices, makes sensitive voter data easily accessible to a wide array of users without voters’ knowledge or consent.  A 2004 survey conducted by CVF found that one reason why nearly one out of four nonvoters in California is not registered to vote is because they want to keep their personal information private. 

The California Voter Foundation is committed to advancing better public policies and practices in the area of voter data privacy to ensure that access to and use of this data by campaigns and others does not deter voter participation.  CVF also  recognizes that voters have the right to cast a secret ballot and is committed to protecting this right from any encroachments brought on by new technologies.

 

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This page was first published on September 7, 2001 | Last updated on December 6, 2011
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