electionline Weekly

Exit Interview: Gail Pellerin

By M. Mindy Moretti,
December 10, 2020


After 27 years in the elections world, Santa Cruz County, California’s Gail Pellerin is stepping down effective December 30 at the end of what she called “an extraordinary year” and certainly at the end of an extraordinary career.

“November 3, 2020 was my dream election! Turnout was at an all-time high, everyone was talking about voting, enthusiasm was off the charts, and voting was cool!!” Pellerin said. “I think I would be disappointed to conduct another election that did not equal that same level of voter interest in engagement.”

Pellerin began her career as a journalist. She went on to be a legislative staffer for the California General Assembly before she became Santa Cruz County’s election manager from 1993 to 2004. In 2004 she was appointed clerk/registrar of voters was elected to her fourth term in 2018.

“For years Gail has been something like a den mother to California’s elections community. She is admired and valued by election officials and voter advocates alike for her leadership, enthusiasm and commitment to voters,” said Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation.  “She brings joy and smiles wherever she goes and reminds us that voting is a sacred and special act, and something to be treasured and protected.”

Pellerin served as president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials from 2010 to 2012, has served on the secretary of state’s Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee since 2006, and has been a member of the Future of California Elections since 2011.

“Gail has always fought to put voters first. In her years of service in Santa Cruz County, she has integrated voting into the community, creating inclusive opportunities for citizens to participate in our democracy,” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “Santa Cruz County has been lucky to have such a staunch advocate for voting rights helming their elections for years. I have been lucky to partner with Gail as Secretary of State and wish her best in her retirement.” (Full Story)