Many California voters will experience major changes to how they register to vote and cast ballots in the coming year. Three recent reforms — online voter registration, automated voter registration, and conditional voter registration make registering to vote easier than ever before. Another will allow third parties — such as community organizers — to pick up and deliver vote-by-mail ballots on behalf of voters. Representing perhaps the biggest shift, the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA) will reshape how, when, and where voters cast ballots.
In 2018, the VCA will be implemented in Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo counties; all other counties are eligible to participate starting in 2020. All voters in these counties will be mailed a vote-by-mail ballot weeks before the primary and general elections and have the option to return it by mail or deliver it in person to any ballot drop box or Vote Center in their county. At Vote Centers — which will replace polling places — voters will have access to language assistance and have the opportunity to register and vote the same day.
Our featured speakers will discuss the impetus for the new law, how it might affect underrepresented communities, and how election offices, community organizations, and others are working together to prepare voters for the change. They also will discuss the funding landscape and opportunities to start planning for statewide rollout in 2020.
Please plan to stay after this event for an opportunity to meet Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg, co-directors of Indivisible, who will be dropping in to give a brief update on the growth and activities of this fast-growing national activist network. This will begin right after the meeting and will last for about 30 minutes.
Astrid Ochoa is the Executive Director of Future of California Elections (FoCE), a network of election officials, reform advocates and civil rights groups working to implement voter registration reforms, and also the sponsor of Voter's Choice California.
James Schwab is California’s Deputy Secretary of State for Policy and Planning for California Secretary of State Alex Padilla where he oversees implementation of recent election reforms. He was the lead staff on the California Voter’s Choice Act.
James Woodson is the Organizing Coordinator for California Calls and serves on the Voter's Choice California Statewide Coalition where he lends expertise about how VCA will influence voter outreach strategies.
Leslie Payne is a Senior Program Officer at the James Irvine Foundation. Her work spans the organization’s Arts Engagement, Better Careers, Fair Work, and Elections Policies and Practices initiatives.