Many Californians would no longer have to worry about squeezing a trip to the polls into their working day if a bill proposed by a Silicon Valley lawmaker becomes law. Assembly Bill 674, authored by Evan Low, D-Cupertino, would make November elections on even years a holiday for schools and state workers as a way to boost voter turnout. Private businesses would not be required to close, but Low said he hoped many would choose to give their employees the day off. “I think this will ensure that more people will be able to participate in the electoral process,” Low said in an interview Thursday.
Articles about voting issues in California.
California: Judge says San Diego County must change vote counting procedures in future elections | The San Diego Union-Tribune
A judge has determined that San Diego County didn’t follow proper procedures in an audit of the June primary election and must use a different process when verifying future contests. In a Jan. 10 judgment, San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil determined that state election law says all mail-in ballots need to be included in a manual count of votes from 1 percent of precincts. Previously the County Registrar of Voters only used mail-in ballots received by Election Day in its manual count, while excluding mail-in votes received after polls closed. All ballots – including votes cast by mail, at polling places and accepted provisional ballots – are counted toward election results, but only a small portion are used in an audit used to double-check that votes are accurately counted by automated tabulation systems. Ray Lutz, the head of government watchdog organization Citizens Oversight Inc., said in his lawsuit that all types of ballots cast, including mail-in votes received by the registrar before and after Election Day as well as provisional ballots, should be included in the manual tally to ensure that election fraud has not occurred.
California: Los Angeles County Voting System Redesign Enters Solicitation Phase | Government Technology
Work to redesign the process of how residents vote in Los Angeles County, the largest local election jurisdiction in the U.S., is entering a critical but transformational stage after eight years of research and conceptualization. The county’s Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP), which began in 2009 at Caltech essentially as a research project, has been in design for the past three years. But in October, officials signed an agreement with technology researcher and adviser Gartner Inc. to do a sourcing strategy and readiness assessment over a five-month period. Gartner finished its preliminary work at the end of 2016 and should begin reaching out to members of the IT community during the next few weeks to get feedback, likely finishing its assessment by the end of February.
California: Bill would require teaching of California students about Russian interference for Trump | San Francisco Chronicle
Unwilling to wait for history to become, well, history, a Marin County legislator wants to make sure state schools teach students about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, requiring the topic in history classes. Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, said he is introducing a bill to require the State Board of Education to develop curriculum to ensure “all California students will learn how the Russian government conspired to influence the United States Presidential Election to elect Donald Trump,” according to his office. “The work of 17 intelligence agencies including the FBI and CIA confirmed Russian interference in our election,” he said. “This is a threat to our democracy and must be treated with appropriate significance in American history.”
California: Clock ticking on open source voting effort as San Francisco extends voting machine contract | San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco is expected today to extend a voting machine contract for two years, even as The City plans to switch over to an open source voting system. An update on those open source voting plans are expected to be provided during the upcoming budget process before the Board of Supervisors later this year as the board is expected to approve the extension today. In the meantime, John Arntz, director of the Elections Department, said The City needs to extend the contract with Dominion, formerly known as Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc., for the two scheduled upcoming elections in 2018 – the Statewide Primary Election on June 5, 2018, and the General Election on Nov. 6, 2018. The two-year contract extension from Dec. 11, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2018, totals $2.3 million, for a total of $21 million since The City first entered into an agreement with the voting machine company in 2007 through a competitively bid process. There is also a chance there may be a special November election through a local signature gathering effort.
California: The only thing ‘special’ about California special elections is the cost to taxpayers | Los Angeles Times
Democracy won’t come cheap in Los Angeles in 2017. Voters from Boyle Heights to Eagle Rock will likely vote twice — after two earlier elections last year — to fill a single seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the final ballots costing county taxpayers more than $1.3 million to cast and count. This episode begins with former Sen. Barbara Boxer’s decision to retire in 2016, leading to the election of Sen. Kamala Harris. When she gave up her post as state attorney general, Gov. Jerry Brown chose Los Angeles Rep. Xavier Becerra as her replacement. And to fill Becerra’s seat, Brown must call a special election in the 34th Congressional District. We’ll get to the timing of that election in a moment. The common sense meaning of the word “special” is to describe something that, at the very least, is unusual. But there have been 50 special legislative or congressional elections in California in the last decade, according to state records. Thirteen contests were held in 2013 — more than any single year for almost the last quarter-century.
California: Lawmaker who wants to move the presidential primary to Super Tuesday | Los Angeles Times
California’s presidential primary could find itself squarely in the middle of the Super Tuesday political sweepstakes in 2020 under a proposal being introduced this week at the state Capitol. And while earlier efforts have failed to either influence the outcome of the Democratic or Republican contests or draw high voter turnout, the plan’s author thinks times have changed. “I think there’s a yearning and a hunger for actual engagement,” said Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), the bill’s author. ” There’s not enough discussion of substantive issues that are crucial to Californians.”
Starting Jan. 1, 16 and 17-year-olds can pre-register to vote before they begin casting ballots at age 18. It’s just one of several changes to voter laws in the new year that aim to encourage citizen engagement and make voting more efficient. The first of the year also will see another law take effect that allows voters to head to their county’s election office on Election Day to register and vote. Currently, voters need to register about two weeks before the primary and general elections. “This creates a fail-safe for people who missed the 15 day deadline and still want to vote,” said Kim Alexander, the California Voter Foundation’s founder and president. Lawmakers passed the new same-day registration law in 2012, but it was placed on hold until the state certified the California voter registration database known as VoteCal. VoteCal was certified in the fall, so same-day registration — already in place in other states to boost voter participation — can now go forward.
More Californians voted last month than in any election in state history, the secretary of state’s office reported late last week. About 14.6 million Californians — roughly the population of the six states in New England and more than the population of all but four U.S. states as of 2015 — cast ballots in the Nov. 8 presidential election, according to results certified by Secretary of State Alex Padilla.The previous record of 1 3.7 million voters was set in November 2008. Statewide voter turnout last month was 75.27 percent, the highest since the 2008 presidential election. Presidential election turnout is traditionally higher than other statewide elections. Just 42 percent of voters cast ballots in the November 2014 general election, and turnout was a mere 25 percent in the June 2014 primary. Almost 20 million Californians were registered to vote prior to Election Day 2016, an all-time high. The previous record of 18.2 million was set in 2012.
California: U.S. Department of Justice frees Napa County of bilingual voting oversight | Napa Valley Register
Napa County is free of U.S. Department of Justice oversight on how it reaches out to Spanish-only speakers during elections, though that doesn’t necessarily mean the county will stop its bilingual ballot efforts. County Registrar of Voters John Tuteur attributes the county’s 82 percent Nov. 8 election turnout in part to its Spanish-language outreach. One of his primary responsibilities is to make certain every registered voter can cast a vote in an informed manner, he said. “We’re sticking with that goal,” Tuteur told the county Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting. Still, with this and other recent elections developments, Tuteur wants to hear from supervisors and the community. He’s tentatively scheduled a Board of Supervisors election workshop for Feb. 28.