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Advocacy and Testimony

In 2013, the California Voter Foundation began engaging in legislative advocacy to support public policy changes that further advance CVF's mission to improve the voting process to better serve voters. Below is a list of bills upon which CVF has taken a position, including support for budgetary changes to restore election funding to the state budget. CVF's testimony from legislative oversight hearings is also provided below.

2018:

CVF Letter to Governor Brown urging him to sign AB 216

Authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, AB 216 would require counties to provide all vote-by-mail voters with postage-paid ballot return envelopes. CVF's 2014 vote-by-mail study identified varying postage costs as a point of confusion for vote-by-mail voters. In 2018, nine California counties provided mail ballot voters with paid postage; CVF support AB 216 to reduce voter confusion, encourage participation, and ensure all voters are treated equally.

CVF Recommendations for Improving Voters Choice Act Implementation in Sacramento County

CVF was deeply involved in the process of implementing the Voters Choice Act in Sacramento County. This memo to VCA Coalition members describes CVF's 11 recommendations to further improve implemention of this new voting model in which every voter is sent a vote-by-mail ballot and local polling places are replaced with ballot drop boxes and county-wide voting centers. This new model can be improved by providing voters with more external, 24 dropoff locations, with dropoff locations open all Election Day hours (7am - 8pm), and providing voters with pre-paid postage ballot return envelopes and "I voted" stickers in their ballot packets.

AB 2125: Oppose unless amended

CVF worked with a coalition of voter adovcacy groups to oppose AB 2125, a bill that would introduce risk-limiting audits in California unless it was amended. In response, the Senate Elections Committee amended the bill to ensure that actual ballots (and not ballot images) be used in the audit, to require the audits take into account all validly cast ballots, and that the audit process be not just observable but also verifiable by the public.

2017:

CVF's Recommendations for Vote-by-Mail Ballot Drop Boxes and Early Ballot PIckup Regulations

CVF weighed in on the Secretary of State's draft regulations governing vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes and early ballot pickup, both of which are services and activiites that will be implemented by counties that adopt the Voters Choice Act. CVF's recommendations focused on security and chain of custody; three of CVF's five ballot drop box recommendations and all five of CVF's five early ballot retrieval recommendations were incorporated into the final regulations.

Election Funding and Governance Proposal

This proposal was developed by CVF in collaboration with representatives of the Future of California Elections (FoCE), the League of Women Voters, the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials, California Forward, the Secretary of State, California State Association of Counties, the Deparrtment of Finance and Verified Voting Foundation. It seeks to establish a funding formula in state law where the state pays 50 percent of counties' local election costs and counties provide greater consistency in voters' services statewide. Developed by the Election Funding Working Group formed by CVF and FoCE in 2016, this proposal was the result of a year-long effort undertaken by working group members.

Testimony before the Little Hoover Commission on California Voter Participation

CVF President Kim Alexander presented written and oral testimony to the Little Hoover Commission in September 2017, "Evaluating California’s Readiness for Election Reforms: Opportunities & Potential Pitfalls", describing CVF's position on the Voters Choice Act/SB 450, the impact of unfunded state election mandates on voter services, and the resulting growing disparities in voter experiences. This testimony was provided as part of the Commission's Voter Participation study.

Kim Alexander's declaration in support of the ACLU's lawsuit challenging California's vote-by-mail ballot rejection laws

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in August 2017 challenging California's existing vote-by-mail ballot rejection laws. For more information, see the ACLU's news release and lawsuit documents.

Media Tips for Election Reform Advocates

This presentation was given by CVF President Kim Alexander to participants in the Election Verification Network in, a nationwide collaboration of advocates, election officials,computer scientists and others to advance secure and verifiable elections.

Comments on Sacramento County's consideration of Vote Center Voting Model

AB 84 - Support (2017 version)

SB 568 - Support

CVF supports two bills that would move California's Presidential Primary election to an earlier date. AB 84, authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, would move California's Presidential Primary from the early June to early March, aligning it with "Super Tuesday". SB 588, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, would move California's Presidential Primary to the third Tuesday in March, or an earlier date by action of the Governor.

AB 216 - Support

Election Mandates Funding - Support (2017)

AB 840 - Oppose

The California Voter Foundation opposes recent amendments to AB 840 which seek to make last-minute revisions to California's post-election verification process.

AB 2010 - Support

Authored by Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, AB 2010 allows counties to accept electronic candidate statements from local candidates for public office and publish them online, as a more affordable method for candidates to reach voters, especially for local candidates who find the cost of placing printed statements in the sample ballot to be prohibitive. CVF helped draft and supported this bill as a way to facilitate more voter information about so-called "down ballot" candidates. Governor Brown signed AB 2010 into law in August 2016.

AB 477 - Support

Authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, AB 477 gives counties the option of collecting voters' signatures missing from mail ballot envelopes on a separate piece of paper, and allows ballots missing signatures to be "cured" and counted up to eight days after the election. CVF helped draft and supported AB 477, which was a recommendation from CVF's 2014 vote-by-mail study. Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 477 into law in October 2015, taking effect for the 2016 election cycle.

SB 365 - Support

Authored by Senator Fran Pavley, SB 365 provides for the use of mail ballot dropoff locations in statute and directs the Secretary of State to develop regulations that establish best practices for their use. CVF helped draft and supported SB 365, which was a recommendation from CVF's 2014 vote-by-mail study. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 365 into law in October 2015.

SB 450 - Amend

Authored by Senator Ben Allen, SB 450 seeks to enact a new voting process where counties have the option of sending every registered voter a vote-by-mail ballot and providing dropoff locations and county-wide vote centers where voters can return ballots and seek assistance over a ten-day period. Counties that move to this model would no longer be required to provide neighborhood polling places. This option would be available to all counties except Los Angeles, where the bill provides a variation of the model in which voters are not automatically sent a ballot, polling places are still eliminated, but the ratio of voting centers to voters would be lower than in other "opt-in" counties. CVF expressed concerns about this bill regarding California's high vote-by-mail ballot rejection rate and sought amendments, some of which, but not all, were made.

SB 450 Concerns letter

CVF joined The American Civil Liberties Union of California, Advancement Project, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - California, California Calls, and Disability Rights California in submitting a letter expressing concern that SB 450 did not require counties that opt in to the new voting model provide postage-paid vote-by-mail ballot return envelopes. This suggested amendment was not incorporated into thte final legislation.

Election Mandates Funding - Support (2016)

CVF letter supporting reinstatement of funding in the state budget bill to support state-mandated local elections programs.

Election Mandates Funding - Support (2015)

CVF letter supporting reinstatement of funding in the state budget bill to support state-mandated local elections programs.

Testimony:

Ten Things California Should Do to Modernize Elections and Increase Voter Turnout - testimony by CVF President Kim Alexander before the Senate Elections Committee, March 1, 2016.

Assembly Select Committee on Civic Engagement, Testimony by Kim Alexander, December 8, 2015

Joint Legislative Hearing on Voter Turnout, Testimony by Kim Alexander, Senate and Assembly Elections Committees, March 25, 2015

 

SB 27 - Support

Authored by Senator Lou Correa, SB 27 was sponsored by the Fair Political Practices Commission and tightens disclosure rules to prevent anonymous donations in ballot measure campaigns. CVF helped draft SB 27 and supported the provisions that require ballot measure committees to self-identify their top ten donors and the FPPC to publish on its web site a summary list of top donors for and against each ballot measure. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 27 into law in May 2014 and it took effect for the November 2014 election. See this page on the FPPC's site for this data.

SB 844 - Support

Authored by Senator Fran Pavley, SB 844 directs the Secretary of State to compile and publish on its web site the total amounts raised for and against each statewide ballot measure. CVF helped draft and supported SB 844, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2014. See this page on the Secretary of State's site for this data.

Election Mandates Funding - Support (2014)

CVF letter supporting reinstatement of funding in the state budget to support state-mandated local elections programs.

 

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This page was first published on August 8, 2016 | Last updated on July 13, 2018
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