2010 Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

 

December 19, 2008

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, December 19, 2008, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center

Minutes

A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on December 19, 2008 in Room 324A of the Civic Center.

Present were: Esther Beirne, Greg Brockbank, Steve Burdo, Carl Carter, Linda Bagneschi Dorrance, Ericka Erickson, Barbara Gaman, Marcia Hagen, Cris Jones, Morgan Kelley, Mark Kyle, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Bob Richard, Carlos Sanchez, Steve Silberstein, Cat Woods. Also present was Yvette Cashmere from Grassroots and Elaine Ginnold, Melvin Briones, and Colleen Ksanda from the Registrar of Voters.

Report on November 4, 2008 General Election

Ms. Ginnold distributed a report on the November 4, 2008 General Election. Turnout set a record for Marin County at 90.8%. 141,432 out of 155,640 registered voters voted in this election. The percentage of voters voting by mail continues to increase. 84,390 voters (59.71% of the total turnout) voted by mail. The post election manual tally showed no discrepancies.

Colleen Ksanda, Precinct Coordinator, reported that 772 Marin County voters volunteered to work at the polls. Almost all were experienced poll workers. There were no cancellations of Inspectors and there was a waiting list of over 100 voters. 27 high school students worked in the election.

Ms. Ksanda also reported on a survey of poll workers she did to see if there was interest in on-line training. 82% of the 772 poll workers responded to the survey. Of the clerks who responded to the survey, 83% reported that they had access to the Internet, and of those, 72% said they would take on line training.

Because on line training is expensive to set up and maintain, the committee discussed other options for giving clerks access to training. Options suggested included: putting the training video on line, taking the clerks’ class to West Marin; developing our own on line training program for clerks; using webinars; webcasts of training; video taping the clerks’ training class and putting it on line. The Registrar’s office plans to make a new training video this year and will look at all of the options for providing training for clerks.

Voter outreach for November 4

Ericka Erickson from Grassroots described the voter outreach to low turnout populations they had undertaken in cooperation with the Registrar of Voters’ Office and as part of their civic engagement program. The three target areas are: Marin City, the Canal area of San Rafael, and South Novato. Grassroots provided voter education at shelters and jails, through candidate forums, cable TV program, mailers and phone banking. They reached a total of 808 households.

Voter education was strictly non partisan and covered how to register to vote, deadlines, where to vote, what was on the ballot, and the voting process, including filling in the ovals on the ballot to make sure the votes on the ballot would be counted.

On Election Day, Grassroots conducted exit polls outside polling places at the three targeted areas and also at the B Street Community Center in San Rafael, where many of the homeless vote, to find out the number of and types of problems voters encountered with voting. One of the problems discussed was that of voters who are in domestic violence situations and don’t want to give the address where they are living. It is important for agencies that have contact with victims of domestic violence to provide information about the Secretary of State’s Safe at Home Program, which allows a domestic violence victim to register as confidential so that their address is not available to anyone except the Registrar of Voters office.

The Registrar of Voters also contracted with Lupita Figueredo, for media outreach to the Spanish speaking population of Marin County. She conducted media interviews and distributed press releases and public service information in Spanish to local media and also participated in outreach events sponsored by organizations in the Canal area.

Ms. Ginnold reported that there was an increase in voter turnout from 2004 to the 2008 election in the targeted precincts as a result of these outreach efforts and the interest generated in the 2008 election.

County Measure B

Ms. Ginnold reported that the County will be implementing Measure B during the next two years and during that time, a decision will be forthcoming about the status of the Registrar of Voters as a separate department and that there is no other information about the reorganization of the departments affected by Measure B at this time. Several committee members requested that the committee have an opportunity to provide input into the disposition of the ROV department.

Voting by mail

The committee discussed a report on vote by mail and provisional voting for the November 4, 2008 election as follows:

Out of 97,168 vote by mail ballots issued, 85,0121(87.47%) were returned. Of those returned, 84,390 (99.25%) were counted. Of the 631(.74%) ballots not counted, 311 (49.28) were rejected because they were too late; 244 (38.66%) because the signature on the return envelope didn't match the signature on the voter registration file; and 76 (12.04%) were rejected because there was no signature. The report also showed that 12,100 voters returned their ballots at the polls on Election Day, and the rest returned them either by mail or at the Registrar’s office.

Provisional ballots

Of the 3984 provisional ballots received, 3260 (81.82%) were counted. 445 (11.16%) of those received were not counted because the voter was not registered in Marin County. The remaining ballots were not counted because of one of the following reasons: no signature on the envelope; voter’s registration had been cancelled due to re-registration in another county; voter lived outside of the county; voter had returned a vote by mail ballot; voter had registered too late; miscellaneous reasons.

Voter registration and voter file maintenance

The committee discussed a report on voter file maintenance prepared by the Registrar of Voters. One of the issues discussed was “universal registration” where citizens are automatically registered at some point in their lives and the government takes responsibility for following them so that they can participate in elections. This idea is being discussed at the national level as a means of eliminating administrative barriers to voting, such as the current voter registration requirements with deadlines. A discussion of how the ROV maintains the voter file and what causes a voter’s registration to be cancelled will continue at the next meeting.

New election legislation legislation for 2009

AB 1808 – Candidates for federal offices can now purchase 250-word candidates statements for publication in the county Sample Ballot

AB 2758 – Requires that the source code for newly certified voting equipment be directly transferred from the EAC or testing lab by the vendor to an approved escrow facility.

AB 2786 - Extends authority to receive faxed ballots from overseas voters to 2011

AB 3026 – Prohibits any part of a voting system to be connected to the Internet

AB 3070 – Sets time of primary election on the 9th Tuesday preceding a special general election to fill a vacancy. Sets timetable for nomination period and VBM ballots in such an election.

SB 381 – allows online voter registration when statewide database is ready (2010)

The members of the Election Advisory Committee agreed to hold meetings according to the attached schedule in 2009. The committee will discuss the details of the annual meeting at its January meeting.

Other business

Cat Woods gave the committee feedback about her experience working at the polls on November 4. She was working in a school and the students were chanting Obama’s name periodically throughout the day. The Inspector told them to be quiet, but they would come back and continue their chanting. One voter put his AV ballot into a provisional envelope; and the Chief Inspector was somewhat abrupt. Bob Richard, who also worked at the polls, suggested finding a way to have a shorter day for poll workers since the current hours are very long.

Chris Jones mentioned that the Inspector at the B St. precinct in San Rafael was automatically giving homeless voters a provisional ballot. She said she spoke to the poll workers and the Inspector stopped doing this. The committee suggested that poll workers who handle special populations should be given more training on how to interact with them.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be on Friday, January 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

September 17, 2008

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, September 17, 2008, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center

Minutes

A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, September 17, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 324A of the Civic Center. Members present were: Greg Brockbank, Barbara Gaman, Bonnie Glaser, Marcia Hagen, Cris Jones, Mark Kyle, Anne Layzer, Bob Richard, Steve Silberstein, Cat Woods. Also present were Elaine Ginnold and Colleen Ksanda from the Registrar of Voters’ Office.

November 4, 2008 General Election

Ms. Ginnold distributed a Fact Sheet about the election (attached) and a handout on opportunities for observers to observe various stages of the election process (attached). Cat Woods suggested using an alternative heading for the Observer Opportunities handout and volunteered to suggest alternatives, such as “observing the election is what ensures election integrity”. Ms. Ginnold also passed around a sample copy of the Marin County Voter Information Pamphlet for the November 4th election. Suggestions for changes in wording are to make it clearer that voters can link to Smart Voter from the ROV website by saying..“or link to Smart Voter at…”.

Committee also suggested that the ROV e-mail the observer guide to members and to reformat it into a press release for the IJ and Pacific Sun.

Bob Richard, Mark Kyle, Anne Layzer and Cat Woods requested to be notified when machine testing would begin so that they could observe it.

Election Officer Recruitment and Training

Colleen Ksanda distributed copies of the Election Officer Training Schedule for the November 4th election and invited members of the committee to attend any of the classes. She reported that two regular polling places in Ross and Terra Linda had to be changed for this election because they are under renovation. She has mailed post cards notifying the voters in these precincts about the change. Colleen reported that all precinct boards are filled. 23 High School students have signed up to work and she has 127 additional volunteers who want to work. The appointment letters are going out next week and she will use the extra volunteers to fill positions if some of the appointed poll workers drop out. She has appointed one extra clerk for polling places that have multiple precincts. New this election is that the stipend for training for clerks is $15.00; clerks will get job description cards; and Inspectors will get a guide to assigning breaks.

Vote by mail

Ms. Ginnold reported that of the 23,000 post cards sent out to voters who did not vote in the Feb. 5th primary Election and to new voters. 2500 voters sent back the card and requested permanent VBM status. Approximately 3000 cards were returned as undeliverable or with address changes. The voter files will be updated with the new information. NOTE: as of Sept. 25, there are 80,241 permanent vote-by-mail voters in Marin County. This is 55% of registered voters.

Ballot study

Ms. Ginnold described the ballot study that was done with the Brennan Center on Sept. 2. Of the 15 participants in the study, at least 13 had voted before, one was a new voter and one was a voter with limited English skills. None of the voters experienced any difficulty or confusion in voting the ballot and gave positive feedback about it. In response to participant suggestions, the Registrar of Voters increased the spacing between the lines of the Voter Instructions, and printed the advisory notice “Vote on both sides of this ballot” in red on the final ballot.

Report from Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee

Minutes of the September 10th meeting of the Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee were distributed and discussed. Minutes reported on the following:

ROV has installed security cameras to increase security of the ballots and voting equipment. The post election manual tally is scheduled for Thursday, November 13 at 9:00. The ROV will be working with Prof. Phillip Stark again. Professor Stark is developing a formula that can be used to determine the number of precincts to manually tally to achieve a predetermined statistical level of confidence that the results of the manual tally match the reported results in close races. Bob, Mark, Anne and Cat requested to be notified when machine testing would begin so that they could observe it.

Report from Voter Outreach and Education Subcommittee

Minutes of the September 17th meeting of the Voter Outreach and Education Subcommittee were distributed and discussed. Minutes reported on the following:

Outreach to voters, including Latino voters, in Marin County is being done through PSAs and press releases to all media, the G-Channel, You Tube and Channel 26. Channel 14 will be conducting a voter registration drive at Pickleweed Park on Oct. 10th . Staff from the Registrar of Voters will be there to register voters.

The ROV has distributed affidavits of registration to all of the high schools and colleges in the County, to Marin Housing Authority properties and to locations in West Marin. ROV contracts with the League of Woman Voters to distribute affidavits to libraries, post offices, DMV, City/town clerks’ offices and fire stations. In addition, one League member has volunteered to distribute affidavits to the elementary schools for use by parents and staff. Committee members reported seeing registration drives taking place throughout the county.

On October 20, the deadline to register to vote, the ROV office will be open until 8:00 p.m. to receive registration cards. Staff will be stationed at both entrances to the Civic Center to assist voters. The office will also be open on Sat., Nov. 1 and Sun., Nov. 2 from 9:00 to 1:00 for voters who want to drop off their ballots or vote in the office.

Other business

Committee discussed the Republican National Committee’s mailing to voters who are registered Democratic. The mailing tells them that they are Republican and asks them to send money. Steve Silberstein reported that he had seen a report on the website, Calitics, that this mailing was confusing voters in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and many had re-registered as Republicans in response to it. Elaine will be meeting with the Postal Service this afternoon to see if the barcode on the envelope is the type that causes mail to be returned to the sender as undeliverable. (NOTE: Post office said that the bar code used on the envelope is a post net bar code and that any mail that is undeliverable or has address changes will be discarded at the Post Office)

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:20 a.m. The next meeting of the Election Advisory Committee will be on Friday, December 19.

August 15, 2008

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, August 15, 2008, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center

Minutes

A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, August 15, 2008 in Room 324A of the Civic Center. Present were: Steve Burdo, Linda Bagneschi Dorrance, Bonnie Glaser, Marcia Hagen, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Steve Silberstein, Cat Woods, and John Young. Also present was Sandy S. from Grassroots. Elaine Ginnold and Melvin Briones were present from the Registrar of Voters.

Ballot design

Ms. Ginnold reported that Marin County will be participating in the Brennan Center’s ballot usability project. The project will study the usability of ballots in counties throughout the US and identify ballot design problems that could affect the vote. 10-15 people are needed to participate in the study for 20 minutes on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Ms. Ginnold passed around a sign up sheet. 5 members signed up to participate and 3 members signed up to observe.

Ms. Ginnold also asked for and received feedback from committee members on the voting instructions that will be printed on the ballot.

Vote by Mail Notice

Ms. Ginnold reported that the department is planning to send out a post card in late August with information about voting by mail permanently and about the different ways people can choose to vote – by mail, at the polls and early at the ROV office. The post card will include an application for permanent vote by mail status. It will be sent to approximately 23,000 voters who are new voters and voters who did not vote in the Feb. 5 Primary Election, who are not permanent vote by mail voters. The cost of printing and mailing the card and staff time to prepare it will be approximately $3000. Committee gave feedback for revisions to the messages on the card

Vote by mail Information page in Sample Ballot

Committee reviewed and gave feedback on the information about voting by mail that will be published in the Voter Information Pamphlet for the November 4th election.

Goals and objectives for 2008-09

Committee reviewed the goals and objectives statements for FY 2008-09. See attached goals and objectives. Suggestions on reaching out to minority language voters include: sampling in the Canal area to see what barriers are to voting (language, literacy, fear of the dangers of voting in their native countries); surname matching of voter file to identify potential Latino voters. UC-Berkeley has capability of assisting counties with this. Suggestion was made to put language spoken on name tags of poll workers in precincts where there are bi- lingual poll workers.

Election legislation update

Ms. Ginnold reported on election-related legislation that has already been chaptered and will be effective January 1, 2009 as follows:

  • AB 1808, Chapter 137. Allows candidates for US representative to purchase space for a candidates’ statement in the County sample ballot. Requires the SOS to include information on candidates for US Senator, Supreme Court justices and president and vice president in the State Pamphlet.
  • AB 2758, Chapter 198. Requires copy of approved source code for voting systems be directly deposited into an approved escrow facility.
  • AB 2786, Chapter 252. Extends provision allowing special VBM voters to return their ballots by fax to 1/1/1011.
  • AB 3026, Chapter 200. Specifies that no voting system shall be connected to the Internet and prohibits modem or wireless connections for transmitting election data.

Other legislation

  • SB 381 – on line voter registration. Passage looks favorable. However, if passed, the legislation won’t be effective until the SOS statewide voter registration database has been completed. The SOS has revised its requirements in the Request for Proposals to include the requirements for on line registration in the event that this bill passes.

Other business

Committee members requested that their names be added to list of people that receive the poll worker newsletter, Marin Votes.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be on Friday, September 19, 2008.

July 18, 2008

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, July 18, 2008, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center

Minutes

A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, July 18, 2008 in room 324A of the Marin Civic Center. Members present were: Steve Burdo, Linda Bagneschi Dorrance, Ericka Erickson, Bonnie Glaser, Cris Jones, Morgan Kelley, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Steve Silberstein and Cat Woods. Also present was Yvette Cashmere from Grassroots. Present from the Registrar of Voters office were: Elaine Ginnold, Colleen Ksanda and Michael Smith.

Elaine Ginnold welcomed new members Ericka Erickson, who is replacing Antonia Hollander for Grassroots, Bonnie Glaser, and Steve Silberstein.

Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on June 21, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisor’s chambers. It received excellent publicity and was included in the “The Three Things to do Today” column in the Marin IJ. Approximately 50 people attended the meeting, but there were only 8 members of the Election Advisory Committee. The speaker was David Dill, Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and founder of verifiedvoting.org.

Report on June 3, 2008 Direct Primary Election

Ms. Ginnold distributed a report on the June 3rd Primary Election, which included a report on the manual tally of precincts after the election. Out of the over 11,000 votes in 12 precincts that were tallied, there were a total of 4 variances, due to votes marked in a way the scanner could not read (i.e. small dot instead of filling in oval). The report also provided information that 80.64% of the persons eligible to vote in Marin County are registered to vote and that Marin is one of only 6 counties in California where the per cent of registered to eligible-to-register voters is over 80%. Turnout for the June 3rd Election was 43%, with 71% of the turnout from voters voting by mail.

Committee requested information about the number of people who turned in their vote by mail ballots at the polls and the number of ballots rejected because they are too late or have no signature. Also requested information about the age breakdown of voters in the county and the percent of eligible to registered voters by county. Discussed the need for a scientific study of people who aren’t registered to vote and an analysis of the rate of registration for different population groups.

Newsletter for pollworkers/pollworker surveys

Colleen Ksanda distributed the newsletter, Marin Votes that she prepared for poll workers. This is the second issue of the newsletter, which is published once per year during the summer before the November election. Colleen also reported on the results of the poll worker training and polling place surveys that were conducted before the June election. A summary of the responses from the surveys follow:

  • Respondents to the poll worker training survey asked for more training in balancing the Roster, thought that the video and the written exercises used in the classes were the most effective training tools, and thought the classes were extremely or very helpful.
  • Respondents to the Election Day survey of poll workers thought they did a good job in processing regular voters at the polls, wanted more training in poll closing procedures and felt that they were well trained in their election day duties. Their biggest challenge at the polls was the boredom from a very slow day.

November 4, 2008 election

Elaine Ginnold explained procedures for write-in candidates at all elections. Write in candidates are required to file nomination papers to become qualified write-in candidates between 57-14 days before an election. The Registrar of Voters prepares a list of the qualified write-in candidates to send to each polling place. Only votes for the qualified write-in candidates are counted. Voters must fill in the oval next to the write-in line and write the candidates name on the line in order for the vote to be counted.

Registering voters who do not have street addresses

Voters who do not have a street address or who are homeless can register to vote by describing where they live. There is a space for this description on the voter registration card.

Voting by mail

The Registrar of Voters plans to mail postcards about voting by mail to new voters and voters who did not vote in the February 5th primary election. The postcards will describe the option of voting by mail and will have answers to commonly asked questions about voting by mail. Committee requested information on the number of homeless voters who voted. Elaine to see if this information is available. Erika Erickson suggested that Grassroots include the precinct serving Ritter House voters in the precincts they plan to survey in November.

Election legislation update

Ms. Ginnold reported that the county has taken an “opposed” position on AB 2218 regarding assessment district elections because, if the legislation passes, it would create additional expenses if the Registrar of Voters is required to conduct these types of elections, which are held for property owners, not registered voters.

Set goals for Elections Advisory Committee for 2008-09

The Committee agreed that goal statements for 2008-09 should be developed from the areas of focus featured in the annual reports for the last 2 years and made suggestions for objectives for 2008-09. Ms. Ginnold to develop the goals and objectives statements and bring them to the next meeting for approval by the committee.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting of the Election Advisory Committee will be held on Friday, August 15, 2008, at 9:30 a.m. in room 324A of the Civic Center.

June 19, 2008 Annual Meeting

April 18, 2008

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, April 18, 2008, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center

Minutes

A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, April 18, 2008. Members present were: Anne Layzer, Bob Richard, Carl Carter, Barbara Gaman, Antonia Hollander, Linda Bagneschi Dorrence, Greg Brockbank and Morgan Kelly. Also present was Leonard Herrmann for Cris Jones, Marie Ebbing and Terry Graham. Present from the Registrar of Voters were Melvin Briones, Elaine Ginnold, Colleen Ksanda and Michael Smith

June 3rd Direct Primary Election

The Committee discussed the Fact Sheet for the June 3rd election and the notice about non partisan cross over voting that will be on the official table at the polls on Election Day (See Fact Sheet attached.) Colleen Ksanda announced that she still needs 30 clerks and a Deputy Inspector (for Stinson Beach). Committee members suggested that we promote our student poll worker program at the 7 high schools, and also recruit at College of Marin and Dominican for the November election to involve more young people in the election process. There was a discussion of the possibility of the central committees conducting their own elections either by caucus or by mail rather than having the county do it. This decision must be made by the parties and would probably require state legislation.

Hand count of ballots at polls proposal

Linda Bagneschi Dorrance explained her request for a pilot project to hand count ballots for one race for the June 3rd election. According to proponents of the hand count, the counting of ballots at the polls would serve as a check on the machine count and visa versa. At least 112 people have signed a petition requesting the hand count.

Morgan Kelly moved and Anne Layzer seconded to deny the request for a hand count at the polls because the chain of custody of the ballots would be broken and it would disrupt the current process, which already includes a hand count of randomly selected precincts as a check on the machine count after the election.

Terry Graham and Marie Ebbing spoke in favor of the pilot project. After discussion on the pros and cons of the proposal, the committee voted 7-3 to reject the proposal for a pilot project to hand count ballots at the polls. Vote includes 2 members who could not be present at the meeting requesting via email that their votes be cast against the proposal.

Anne Layzer moved and Morgan Kelly seconded to implement the Registrar of Voters’ proposal for observation of the poll closing and ballot counting process as an option to increase voter confidence in the machine count. In summary, this option would have observers, including proponents of hand counting ballots at the polls, observe the closing of the polls, write down the results from the results tapes posted outside the polls, follow the ballots to the Civic Center, check the results from the polls with the reported results and participate in a hand count of a random selection of 1-2 of the observed precincts after the election. Motion carried with 7 in favor and 1 abstaining. Elaine Ginnold to work out the details with Linda Bagneschi Dorrance, if she wishes to pursue this option.

AB 2218 regarding Prop. 218 elections

Bob Richard reported that this legislation addresses the issue of conflict of interest in some Prop. 218 elections (landowner elections). It would require that Prop 218 elections be counted by an impartial party, such as the Registrar of voters or city clerk. A requirement for signatures to be on the envelope and not on the ballot has been dropped from the amended version of the bill. Committee agreed to watch the bill.

Annual Meeting

The Committee discussed topics for the annual meeting and decided that a panel discussion along the lines of “what happens to my ballot after the election” should be the topic. It could include a discussion of mail ballots, provisional ballots, post election audit. A time for questions and answers from the public would also be part of the meeting. Committee made suggestions for panel participants. Elaine Ginnold to organize the panel.

Leo Herrmann distributed a flier about a meeting to be held by Project Homeless Connect for volunteers and participants on May 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Loretto Parish Hall, 1811 Virginia Ave., Novato. At the meeting volunteers will help connect participants to services.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be the Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 19th, at 7:00 p.m., in the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, 3501 Marin Civic Center, San Rafael.

March 26, 2008

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, March 26, 2008, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center

Minutes

A meeting of the Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, March 26, 2008. Present were: Antonia Hollander, Morgan Kelley, Jeanne Leoncini, Esther Beirne, Greg Brockbank, Bob Richard, Kathy Callaway. Also present were: Michael Smith, Elaine Ginnold, Colleen Ksanda and Melvin Briones from the Registrar of Voters’ Office

June 3, 2008 Direct Primary Election

The committee discussed preparations for the June 3, 2008 Direct Primary Election. Ms. Ginnold distributed the printed post card notice to non partisan voters letting them know that the American Independent, Democratic and Republican Parties will permit non partisan voters to vote a party ballot and the Guide to the ballots printed in the sample ballot. The American Independent, Green and Peace and Freedom Parties have no candidates and will therefore have no ballots. Voters in these parties will get the non partisan ballot and are not allowed to “cross over” and vote in other parties.

Michael Smith suggested that it would be helpful if the political parties would conduct their own elections, rather than have the counties conduct central committee elections as currently required by law. He remarked, “Parties could come together and have a party.”

Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee

Ms. Ginnold distributed the minutes and reported on the meeting of the Election Integrity /Voter Confidence Subcommittee which was held on March 20. The topics discussed were: hand counting ballots at the polls, information about voting by mail in the sample ballot, suggestions for the polls, procedures for chain of custody of ballots and equipment, and audit and reconciliation procedures. The next meeting of this subcommittee will be on Thursday, April 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Registrar of Voters’ Office.

Hand counting ballots at the polls

Members discussed hand counting ballots at the polls and whether the committee should take a clear position on this issue since it has now been discussed for the past two meetings and in one subcommittee meeting and the Board of Supervisors referred advocates of this procedure to the Election Advisory Committee. Bob Richard suggested that it would be beneficial if some of the ideas proposed to enhance election integrity, such as hand counting ballots at the polls, could be studied in a research setting. Committee decided to take a position on this issue at its April 18th meeting.

June 19th Annual Meeting

Committee discussed potential topics and speakers for the June 19th Annual Meeting. Topics suggested included: post election audit procedures, the electoral college (how a president is chosen and why it is not by popular vote), all you wanted to know about elections, redistricting. Speakers suggested were Deborah Bowen, Professor from UC Berkeley to speak about current research into election issues; someone who would appeal to the general public, or perhaps finding co-sponsors for the event. This discussion will continue and a decision will be made on speaker/s to invite to the April meeting.

Cost of elections

Ms. Ginnold distributed a spreadsheet showing the election costs for the Feb. 5 Presidential Primary Election. The cost of direct services and supplies for this election was $831,012. This cost does not include overhead, which is included with the election billing. It also does not include a set-aside for equipment replacement, since this is considered part of the overhead expense. Michael Smith pointed out that all departments are required to cut their budgets by 5% for FY 2008-08, which will mean dramatic cuts in county services as the county focuses on providing core activities.

Other business

Bob Richard requested that the bill on 218 elections be put on the agenda for the next meeting. Antonia Hollander requested a copy of the local measures on the ballot June 3.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:20 a.m. The next meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 18, 2008 in Room 324A of the Civic Center.

February 29, 2008

Registrar of Voters
Election Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, February 29, 2008, 9:30 a.m.
Room 324A, Marin Civic Center

Minutes

A meeting of the Registrar of Voters’ Election Advisory Committee was held on Friday, February 29, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. in room 324A of the Civic Center. Present were: Esther Beirne, Greg Brockbank, Steve Burdo, Kathy Calloway for Barbara Gaman, Carl Carter, Linda Bagneshi Dorrance, Antonia Hollander, Chris Jones, Anne Layzer, Jeanne Leoncini, Mark Kyle, Morgan Kelly, Bob Richard, Carlos Sanchez, Barbara Tomber. Also present were Tom Pierce, Clayton Smith and Eva Waskell. Melvin Briones, Elaine Ginnold, Colleen Ksanda and Michael Smith were present from the Registrar of Voters.

The committee discussed the draft speaker policy and recommended that, rather than require a speaker form to be filled out by 9:30 on the day of the meeting, post the form on the ROV website along with the speaker policy and a message that advance request to speak is appreciated.

Elaine Ginnold reported on the Feb. 5 Presidential Primary Election. Committee members discussed the report and gave the following feedback about the election:

  • Put AIP as the abbreviation for American Independent Party on the Roster
  • Tell voters what party they are registered in on the Voter Information Pamphlet.
  • Tell voters, “please make sure you are currently registered in the party in which you want to vote” in the Voter Information Pamphlet.
  • Add party to registration information on IVR phone system
  • Give poll workers a statement to use to explain provisional voting (an explanation for voters is already on the provisional envelope.)
  • Voters in mail ballot precincts need more information about why they are in a mail ballot precinct and about returning their ballots. Bob suggested incorporating an explanation of this in the poll worker training classes.
  • Explain why some voters need to show ID at the polls.

Antonia Hollander gave a brief report on the voter education activities conducted by Grassroots for the Feb. 5 Primary Election.

Chris Jones reported that there have been no problems for homeless voters in the past two elections.

Tom Pierce, who was an official election observer on Feb. 5, reported on his experience. He attended a poll worker training class, observed the processing of mail ballots, visited polling places on Election Day, and followed the ballots from the polls to the Civic Center on Election Night. Tom reported that he observed that the voting process worked well, the security of the ballots and voting equipment was good, that poll workers he observed followed the 2 person rule, the poll worker instructions and were dedicated. In addition, the department focuses on continuous improvement of election processes.

Michael Smith reported on his and Roy Givens’ experience assisting at the polling place at the Community Center in Marin City, where voters who had registered in the AIP party thought they were non partisan and could choose a partisan ballot. He also described the election night situation where he and Colleen Ksanda went back to the one polling place that hadn't returned its ballots. The ballots were locked in the ballot box. Since they didn't have a key, they brought the entire ballot box back to the Civic Center.

Bob Richard described his experience as a poll worker in a precinct next to a mail ballot precinct. Voters from the mail ballot precinct thought they could vote at his polling place. Bob suggested that we get rid of VMB precincts, or ask the Voter Education/Outreach Subcommittee to look at ways to educate voters and poll workers about them.

Committee members reviewed the Guide to the Sample Ballot page in the Voter Information Pamphlet and made suggestions on improving the instructions to Non Partisan voters.

Ms. Ginnold will e-mail the Notice to Non Partisan Voters to committee members for their feedback on the language. CA Election Law requires this notice to be sent to all Non Partisan voters who are permanent vote by mail voters informing them of their ballot options for the upcoming election. Ballot options for Non Partisan voters for the June 3rd election are: Non Partisan, Democratic, Republican and American Independent. Voters can “crossover” when they apply for a mail ballot or when they go to the polls.

Ms. Ginnold reported on the results of the 1% manual tally and described the audit test that the department conducted with UC Berkeley statistics professor, Phillip Stark. Professor Stark is writing a report on this which will be shared with the Committee.

The committee had a lively, but brief discussion of the issue of hand counting ballots at the polls.

The committee heard from Clayton Smith, a resident of Marin County, who supports paper ballots and who would like to see a description of the election audit procedures and auditing standards on the website so that people can test the standards for themselves. He would also like to see an explanation of how ballots are generated. He reported that the seals on the plastic envelopes used to return VBM and provisional ballots can be peeled off (ROV is aware of this issue and is looking for a seal that will stick to plastic).

Linda Bagneschi Dorrance announced that the Tangible Ballot Initiative petition is being circulated now. A tangible ballot is a paper ballot. Anyone interested in assisting with this project should visit www.tangibleballot.org and download a petition to gather signatures. The deadline to mail in petitions is April 17. The goal is to get 6,000 valid signatures from Marin County.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. The next meeting will be on Friday, March 28, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 324 A of the Civic Center.