It's been a busy time and this isuse of CVF-News will bring you up to speed on some of the things we've been involved and upcoming events and activities with the Legislature, Secretary of State, and Future of Califonria Elections. We are also preparing for Big Day of Giving 2019 and hope we will be able to count on your support on May 2 to help CVF continue our work improving the voting process to better serve voters.
-- Kim Alexander, President & Founder, California Voter Foundation
CVF Testifies at California Voting Technology Hearings
On March 19, CVF provided testimony before California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and his agency staff at the State Capitol regarding the move to decertify legacy voting systems that do not meet California's 2015 voting system standards (see the Feb. 28 edition of CVF-News for more details). Counties that are unable to meet this deadline can request an extension and continue using their legacy voting equipment through the 2020 election cycle.
Today is the deadline for counties to request this extension. CVF's testimony urged the Secretary of State and lawmakers to require these counties, which may number as many as 22 of California's 58 counties, to take extra security steps to mitigate the risks of using old equipment in 2020. CVF's testimony is available online, as well as Secretary Padilla's opening comments at the hearing.
CVF also provided testimony at the California Voting Modernization Board hearing on March 15, emphasizing the value of open source voting system technology, urging the board to provide funding for Los Angeles' new voting system on the condition that a timeline for disclosure of the system's source code be provided.
Secretary of State Building Renamed for March Fong Eu
Among former Secretary of State March Fong Eu's many accomplishments, she was the original founder, in 1989, of the California Voter Foundation, later re-founded in 1994 by Kim Alexander.
On March 25, the California Secretary of State/State Archives Building Complex was renamed in her honor, at the request of current Secretary of State Alex Padilla. The dedication ceremony took place on March 25 and the Secretary of State's auditorium was filled with legislators, former staff, colleagues, election officials, and family and friends of Dr. Eu, who served five terms as California Secretary of State and was the person who spearheaded the construction of the Secretary of State complex, bringing all the agency's departments under one roof.
To learn more about the remarkable life and legacy of March Fong Eu, visit the California State Archives' retrospective, Leading the Way: March Fong Eu and a Lifetime of Service.
CVF Supports SB 72 and SB 523 to Ensure Equal Treatment of Voters
This past week, CVF testified in favor of SB 523, authored by Senator Mike MGuire, which requires counties to contact voters who forget to sign their vote-by-mail ballot envelopes and provide them with a chance to submit a signature so their ballots are counted rather than rejected.
The bill would expand the protections enacted last year through SB 759/McGuire, which requires counties to contact voters whose signatures are mismatched and attempt to collect a valid signature. Missing or mismatched signatures are the two leading reasons why some California vote-by-mail ballots get rejected, and CVF and others have been working hard in recent years to reduce the mail ballot rejection rate, which has climbed as high as three percent of all mail ballots cast in recent elections.
Under current law, only counties that have adopted the Voter's Choice Act are required to contact voters with missing signatures; SB 523 would apply this requirement to all counties.
CVF also supports SB 72, which would, like SB 523, ensure that voters enjoy certain voting rights and protections even if their counties do not adopt the Voter's Choice Act. California now allows "conditional" election day registration, but under current law this opportunity is only required to be made avaialble at county election offices, unless the county has adopted the Voter's Choice Act, in which case those counties' voters can conditionally register and vote at any vote center in their county. In 2018 there was a wide disparity in access and wait times that voters experienced depending on where they live. SB 72 would equalize voter access to same-day registration by requiring all counties to offer conditional registration and voting at all polling places and vote centers. CVF's letter of support is available online.
Future of California Elections Conference in Sacramento 4/11
Join CVF and many other election reform groups next Thursday 4/11 in Sacramento for the 2019 Future of California Elections conference! Learn about the Voter's Choice Act, Same Day Registration, Risk-Limiting Audits, the 2020 Census and more. Tickets are still available and the last day to purchase is Monday, April 8. Visit the conference homepage for more details and to register.
CVF Gearing Up for May 2 Big Day of Giving
CVF is once again participating in the Sacramento Region Community Foundation's "Big Day of Giving" on May 2, joining with other nonprofits in our region to raise funds together over a 24-hour period for hundreds of great causes. Please mark your calendars and plan to join in our fundraising effort! We will be publicizing BDOG2019 on our Facebook page and Twitter feed and hope we can count on you to help promote CVF through social media and through your financial support as well! Donors may begin scheduling donations on April 15. To learn more, visit www.bigdayofgiving/cvf.