CVF in the News

Mailed-in ballots provide convenience and are intended to boost turnout, but it's also easy for voters who use them to miss a step.

By Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press, October 30, 2018

Excerpt:

ATLANTA (AP) — Drawing on her years of military experience, Maureen Heard was careful to follow all the rules when she filled out an absentee ballot in 2016.

She read the instructions thoroughly, signed where she was supposed to, put the ballot in its envelope and dropped it off at at the clerk’s office in her New Hampshire town. She then left town so she could return to a temporary federal work assignment in Washington, D.C.

"I have learned over the years, many years in the military of filling out forms, how to fill out forms — and I was very intimidated by the process," said Heard, who served in the Air Force and was a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I have to make sure I get it absolutely right.' And then it didn't count."

California and other key states take a very long time to count votes.

By Daniel Costa-Roberts, Mother Jones, October 30, 2018

Excerpt:

If you’ve been nervously counting down the days until the November 6 election, we’ve got some bad news for you: You might have to wait quite a bit longer before you know who will control the House. That’s because roughly a dozen key races are taking place in states where election officials often spend days or even weeks counting votes, making it difficult for media outlets to project the winners of close contests.

Insight with Beth Ruyak, Capital Public Radio, October 22, 2018

Kim Alexander from the California Voter Foundation goes over the essential details and changes to the process on the final day of voter registration in California. (listen to segment

By Scott Shafer, KQED News San Francisco, October 10, 2018

Excerpt:

Currently, the terms of gubernatorial debates and whether or not they happen are largely dictated by the front-runner. Conventional wisdom says debates are more likely to help the challenger or the candidate who is behind in the polls.

It's true there were plenty of debates before the June primary, including a televised debate in San Jose with the six top-polling candidates for governor. But that's not the same as a one-on-one matchup, where it's harder to skate under the radar.

"The most important thing about debates is that it gets people on the record making commitments before they’re elected," said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation. "It isn’t so much that every registered voter will watch the debate, but rather you have a public record of what they say they'll do if they win."

While debates might not increase voter turnout, at least they would help publicize the fact that an election is happening and who's running, Alexander said. (full story)

By Saul Gonzalez, KCRW FM Los Angeles, October 4, 2018

Excerpt:

Retired high school teacher and Monrovia resident Stephen McCarthy is the kind of careful, consistent responsible voter get-out-the-vote activists dream about.

“I have never missed an election going back to when I had to stamp a paper ballot in 1972, and I have never missed an election since,” Murphy told KCRW recently.

So you can imagine how McCarthy felt, when on primary election day in June, workers at his local polling place told him that both his and his wife’s names weren’t on official voter rosters.

“I was appalled,” said McCarthy. “I was shocked. I was angry.”

McCarthy and his wife were allowed to vote using provisional ballots that get counted after the election, but it was a huge frustration for them. And the McCarthys weren’t the only voters having troubles on Election Day in June.

Elections officials try to correct initial problems with pilot program

By Mike Luery, KCRA TV Sacramento July 11, 2018

Excerpt:

Some California election officials announced Wednesday changes to correct the initial problems with the experimental vote-by-mail system used during the June primary.

Statewide, more than 7 million Californians -- 37.5 percent of California's registered voters -- voted in the June primary. Five counties -- Sacramento, Nevada, Napa, Madera and San Mateo -- used the new vote-by-mail system designed to improve participation. Of those only one, Nevada County, experienced a turnout above 50 percent during the primary.

The new system also created some voter confusion. 

Dozens of people eager to vote last month at McKinley Library in Sacramento were surprised to find the doors closed, according to voter watchdog, Kim Alexander, the president and founder of California Voter Foundation.

By Adhiti Bandlamudi, Capital Public Radio, June 5, 2018

Excerpt:

Sacramento County is switching to a “voter center” model for today’s election, but some people are concerned the change may confuse voters.

In the past, voters had to go to their specific precinct to vote in an election. Now, the county has adopted a new way, where people can go to any voting center to cast their ballot.

This model was tested in San Mateo County three years ago. Jim Irizarry, that county’s assistant chief elections officer, says the system was a tremendous success.

“It increased voter participation, it lowered election cost for the participating jurisdictions. It was an efficient election to administer,” Irizarry said. He added that the returns were processed quickly and they were able to determine the winner of the election clearly.

By Diana Lambert and Jordan Cutler-Tietjen, Sacramento Bee, June 5, 2018

Excerpt:

A line of voters stood Tuesday morning in front of the McKinley Library in East Sacramento waiting for it to open.

The library, a longtime polling place, has been relegated to a dropbox location as part of a new system approved by state legislators in 2016.

Unlike polling places or the new vote centers, dropbox locations are only open during regular office or business hours. Since McKinley Library doesn't open until noon on Tuesdays, that also meant voters couldn't drop off ballots until that hour.

"People are in the habit of voting the way they voted last time," said Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation.

Data analytics firm says this is normal: "It's the way that campaigns are run."

By Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, June 5, 2018

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, polls will be open to voters in eight states, including California, which holds gubernatorial primaries among many other national, state, and local elections.

Under California law (Section 2194 of the Election Code), voter data (name, address, phone, age, party affiliation) is supposed to be "confidential and shall not appear on any computer terminal... or other medium routinely available to the public."

However, there's a big exception to that law: this data can be made available to political campaigns, including companies that provide digital analysis services to campaigns. In other words, candidates and their contractors can get voter data, but there's little definition in the law about how those parties are required to be custodians of that data and how that data ought to be secured.

By Ben Adler, National Public Radio, Weekend Edition Sunday, June 3, 2018

Excerpt:

California's nontraditional nonpartisan primary system could negatively affect Democrats running for the House and Republicans running in the state's races for governor and senator.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: 

Tuesday's primary election in California has political watchers riveted not just because of what's on the ballot but also because of the state's unusual primary system - the jungle primary. As Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the state is split on whether or not it's working.

BEN ADLER, BYLINE: It's called the jungle primary for a reason. Republicans are at risk of being shut out of California's races for governor and U.S. Senate on Tuesday, and Democrats could face the same fate in several congressional races seen as crucial to retaking the House all because voters approved Proposition 14 back in 2010.

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