Over the past several months the California Voter Foundation has been conducting a study examining rejected vote-by-mail ballots in the November 2018 election in three California counties (Sacramento, San Mateo and Santa Clara) to learn more about the problem of ballot rejection and suggest ways to address it. This research is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Mindy Romero, founder and director of USC's Center for Inclusive Democracy (formerly the California Civic Engagement Project).
CVF-News is a free, electronic newsletter featuring news and updates about the California Voter Foundation's projects and activities.
The California Voter Foundation is pleased to announce a gift of $25,000 received from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to support nonpartisan voter education and outreach activities to help Californians participate in the 2020 Presidential Election.
This generous donation comes at an important time when the coronavirus pandemic is creating difficult challenges for voters and election officials alike. CVF is committed to helping voters successfully cast vote-by-mail ballots and utilize in-person voting options to maximize voter turnout and ensure Californians can safely and securely cast ballots.
“CVF is deeply grateful for the generous support provided by Craig Newmark through his charitable giving and honored to be included among the numerous worthy causes supported by Craig Newmark Philanthropies working to advance fairness, opportunity and respect,” said CVF President & Founder Kim Alexander.
This edition of CVF-News provides an update on California's planning for November's 2020 Presidential election.
The basic plan that has developed is to mail everyone a ballot and give counties the option of consolidating polling places if they also provide three additional days of early voting and drop boxes. The first half of the plan - mailing everyone a ballot - was expressed in Gov. Gavin Newsom's May 8th Executive Order and would be codified by AB 860 if it is enacted into law.
It's been an intense time throughout our state and in Sacramento especially. In the midst of everything that's happening, California's elections community continues working to carefully plan for November's Presidential Election. The challenges are enormous.
Today's CalMatters features a commentary I co-authored with Kammi Foote, Inyo County's Registrar of Voters urging California's leaders to act quickly to help counties and voters plan for the Fall.
Last Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring counties to mail all registered voters a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3 Presidential Election. This CVF-News covers this important development and Future of California Elections' Virtual Conference happening on May 14th, which will include a panel on vote-by-mail that I'll be moderating. I hope you can sign up and participate!
And a big thank you to everyone who donated to CVF for last week's Giving Tuesday and Big Day of Giving! CVF had a very successful fundraising week and the Sacramento region raised $12 million for 600 nonprofits, exceeding the prior record by more than $3 million. These past few months have been challenging but also inspiring to see how supportive people are of the nonprofit sector in times of need.
And who does the government answer to? Voters.
Now more than ever we must ensure voters can securely vote with confidence.
At the California Voter Foundation, we have been working for over 25 years to improve the voting process.
Now we are asking you to support CVF with your donation.
Our work to improve vote-by-mail balloting and ensure voting systems are secure is timely and crucial, given the likely increase in mail ballot use due to the pandemic as well as ongoing threats of interference in our voting process.
Big changes are being planned for elections in California and beyond due to the coronavirus pandemic and uncertaintly about whether voting in person can be safely conducted. This issue of CVF-News provides a roundup of news and developments. For a more in-depth perspective, listen to my interview with John Howard and Tim Foster featured in this week's Capitol Weekly podcast.
Like many nonprofits, CVF relies on donations to support our work. On May 7th, CVF will join in the Sacramento region's Big Day of Giving fundraising event and I hope we can count on you to support our work in this important election year. Please visit our BDOG page and pledge a donation today!
-- Kim Alexander, President & Founder, California Voter Foundation
This edition of CVF-News provides an overview of the significant problems California voters experienced on Super Tuesday, when voters in Los Angeles County encountered wait times as much as four hours to cast a ballot and voters in other counties also experienced delays due to connectivity issues with the statewide voter registration database. The inability to access the California Secretary of State's web site and its online polling place lookup tools contributed to voter confusion.
The California Voter Foundation, which has long advanced election security and working to ensure voter confidence, is taking a close look at what went wrong to determine what changes can be made before November and beyond so these problems are not repeated in the future. One hundred percent mail ballot delivery to voters in LA (and beyond, in light of health concerns) is being considered but comes with administrative challenges that must also be assessed.
1. Of California’s 25.3 million eligible voters, 20.7 million, or 82 percent are registered as of February 18. This is this highest rate of registration heading into a California presidential primary in the past 68 years, according to California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla. California’s Presidential Primary, which was held in June in 2012 and 2016, is taking place this year on March 3, Super Tuesday, in an effort to give California voters a greater say in deciding who the presidential candidates will be.
2. For the first time, Californians can register at any voting site and vote on Election Day. Under SB 72, enacted in 2019, Californians can conditionally register and cast a conditional ballot at polling places if they have never been registered. Another law enacted just last month, SB 207, allows Californians who are registered but have moved within their county or wish to update their party preference to complete and sign a short form and cast a regular ballot. These reforms help voters who need to change their party preference so they can vote for the Presidential candidate of their choice, but may result in long lines at some voting sites on Election Day.
Sacramento, CA -- A growing percentage of California voters will cast vote-by-mail ballots in the state’s March 3 Presidential Primary, but not all of those ballots will get counted.
“While casting a vote-by-mail ballot is a popular option, it’s not without its challenges,” said California Voter Foundation (CVF) President Kim Alexander, whose organization works to improve the vote-by-mail process through research and legislative reforms.
In 2018, one out of every 100 vote-by-mail ballots cast got rejected according to data published by the Secretary of State. Mail ballots are rejected primarily for three reasons - arriving too late, or the voter forgetting to sign their ballot envelope, or the signature not sufficiently matching the voter’s signature on file.