CVF in the News

By John Myers, Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2021


If all politics is truly local, it should be huge news when someone like Kammi Footedecides enough is enough.

As the registrar of voters for Inyo County, Foote spent 14 years on democracy’s front lines in a job that is equal parts educator and administrator. California gives wide latitude to its 58 counties in how to run elections, and a corps of veteran registrars call the shots across the state.

But something has changed. Registrars with decades of experience are calling it quits, stymied by the ever-growing list of election mandates that come without the funding to make them a reality — made worse by the personal and professional threats made by voters amped up on partisan rage and destructive conspiracy theories.

By Ben Christopher, Cal Matters, April 8, 2021


And there’s the rub: California’s next primary election is set for June 7, 2022 and the 2020 Census data — that first step — is really, really late, partly due to the pandemic.

California can expect some preliminary information to trickle in later this month. That will let us know, for example, whether we as a state are due to lose at least one of 53 congressional seats, as is widely expected. 

But the more granular data needed to start mapmaking won’t arrive until around August. The data wizards hired by the state will need another month to clean it up and, among other details, figure out where to place the prison inmates. 

By John Myers, Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2021


It has been a touchstone of California politics over the past three decades that the fastest-growing group of the state’s voters was shunning partisan labels in favor of being identified as unaffiliated voters, engaged in politics but not parties.

The 30-year run for that bit of conventional wisdom has, at least for now, come to an end

Friday’s report from Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a biennial look at voter registration in between scheduled statewide elections, tallied 22.1 million registered voters, a historic 88% of all eligible Californians. And as it’s been for much of the past century, Democrats accounted for the largest share — 46.2% of the registered electorate and near double the percentage of Republicans.

By Monica Coleman, ABC10 - Sacramento, March 17, 2021


 California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing a likely recall election this year that threatens to remove him from office. Organizers say they have more than enough petition signatures to place a recall election on the ballot.

Wednesday was the deadline for recall organizers to submit nearly 1.5 million petition signatures to qualify the proposal for the ballot. However, a viral social media post is claiming that Newsom will be sending out forms for Californians to sign, which would take back their recall signature.


Can you sign a form that would take back your recall signature?

By Bill McCarthy and Chris Nichols, Capital Public Radio, February 16, 2021


After Republicans seeking to recall California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said they had reached the number of signatures necessary to trigger a special election, one conservative influencer falsely claimed that the organizers have faced hurdles that voters in November’s election did not.

"So California is requiring signature verification for Gavin Newsom’s recall, but didn’t require it for the mail in ballots. How strange," said actor Kevin Sorbo, who starred as "Hercules" in a TV series about the mythological hero, in a tweet sent to hundreds of thousands of followers.

In fact, California did require signature verification for mail-in ballots for the 2020 election, as PolitiFact reported in the months leading up to Election Day. Several election officials, experts, journalists and fact-checkers debunked Sorbo’s Feb. 15 tweet soon after it was posted.

By Guy Marzorati, KQED, December 22, 2020


It was mid-morning on Election Day when Julie Mendel, a poll worker at a voting location at Mills College in Oakland, realized that something had gone horribly wrong.

A voter had approached her with a printout from a ballot-marking device, a machine that spits out a voter's choices onto a piece of paper (the voter's ballot) after they have made their selections on a touchscreen. The voter then submits the ballot into a collection bag.

For more than three days of voting, Mendel and her fellow poll workers had told voters that the piece of paper was a receipt, with the actual votes submitted electronically though the machine. She had heard the guidance from a higher-ranking poll worker at the location, and never questioned it until she looked closely at the piece of paper the man was showing her. It read 'Official Ballot.'

By Hanna Kozlowska, The Guardian, December 21, 2020


Americans shattered records for voting by mail in many states in the 2020 presidential election, a phenomenon that tested existing election laws, new pandemic-related regulations, postal service capacity, voter education efforts and voters’ own resolve.

Some states had more wiggle room in accepting the mail-in votes than others, allowing ballots that were postmarked by election day to come in later, anywhere from the following day to nearly three weeks after. These grace periods became a highly contentious and politicized aspect of the election. The Trump campaign and its allies challenged them all the way up to the US supreme court as part of an overall campaign questioning the legitimacy of mail-in voting.

By John Myers, Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2020


Final election results show almost 17.8 million Californians cast ballots in the election that ended on Nov. 3, the highest percentage of eligible voters to participate in a statewide election since 1952 and the third-highest percentage since 1910.

But this year’s participation by 70.8% of eligible voters may be even more historic due to the lower voting age. Since the passage of a constitutional amendment in 1971 to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, no California election has come close to turning out as many eligible voters.

“This was an election unlike any other in modern American history,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a video posted online Friday afternoon. “And it would not have been possible without the contributions of elections officials and poll workers alike. Their work maintained the resiliency of our democracy during a global health crisis.”

Exit Interview: Gail Pellerin

By M. Mindy Moretti, Electionline, 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.

By Lewis Griswold, CAL Matters, November 24, 2020


Californians faced the naysayers and voted by mail in record numbers this election, potentially avoiding a pandemic super spreader event and showing the nation it could be done.

CalMatters interviewed voting officials in most of the state’s 58 counties and their verdict is in: The experiment with voting by mail saw few glitches, little drama and, instead, might well provide a blueprint for future elections across the country.

Indeed, state officials are already talking about plans to make voting by mail permanent for the biggest state in the union and its 22 million registered voters.

Besides the unprecedented challenge of conducting the election in a pandemic, voting officials also had to deal with a deep, partisan divide that helped to fuel widespread misinformation about election security.