Public Comments (40-62)
at Hearing and Registration & Elections Division

Post

PLEASE NOTE:  These questions and comments have been summarized from the January 18, 2018 Public Hearing. For the complete comment, please listen to the audio which can be found on our website. If you believe that your question or comment was not summarized correctly, please email the Registration & Elections Division at registrar@smcacre.org so that we can update the record.

(40) What are your target statistics for voter turnout for June?

What would you consider a success? For November will you reevaluate the voter turnout expectations after the June Election? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
While the Legislature’s passing of the Voter’s Choice Act is in part to increase voter participation, we are not setting a target.  Participation varies for a variety of factors, including who the candidates are and what the measures are.

(41) Will the rest of California Counties continue to have regular polling place Elections?  

Registration & Elections Division Response:
There are four other counties piloting the VCA model for the June election.  

The Voter’s Choice Act would, on or after January 1, 2020, authorize any county except the County of Los Angeles, to conduct any election as an all-mailed ballot election if certain conditions are satisfied, including conditions related to ballot drop-off locations, vote centers, and plans for the administration of all-mailed ballot elections.  

This bill would, on or after January 1, 2020, authorize the County of Los Angeles to conduct any election as a vote center election if certain conditions are satisfied, including conditions related to ballot drop-off locations and vote centers. The bill would, on or after January 1, 2020, authorize the County of Los Angeles to conduct a special election as an all-mailed ballot election pursuant to specified provisions that apply to every county that chooses to conduct a special election as an all-mailed ballot election.

Will every city/town hall have a drop box? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Yes, every City/Town Hall will have a drop-box.

Are the 4 exterior drop boxes open 24 hours/day? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have not finalized the locations for the final three drop-boxes but we hope to confirm locations which will provide 24/7 access. 

How will voters know where the drop boxes are located?  

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Drop-box locations will be listed in the Sample Ballot & Official Voter Information Pamphlet and on our website.  Voters may also call our office for location information.

(42) How are you checking to make sure that voters aren’t registered in more then one county? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Each Vote Center will have access to the State’s voter database, Vote Cal. 

Will you consider having a flat fee for the VBM voter file to allow the electoral process more accessible to smaller campaigns? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
A flat fee for the VBM voter file is being considered.

(43) What % of your budget is for security? Insert below

Registration & Elections Division Response:
All of our processes are conducted with security in mind. As we explore each component of the election process, security measures are also taken into account for each and every one. Although there is no specific amount in mind, it is safe to say that security is always at the forefront of every aspect of the election.

(44) Is the number of vote centers prescribed by law or are you providing additional vote centers?   

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The number of Vote Centers is prescribed by the law.

(45) Some voters may feel uncomfortable entering government facilities in today’s political climate, would you consider moving the vote centers/drop boxes from city halls to libraries & other community centers? Insert below

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Some Vote Centers are in libraries and community centers.

(46) When are you are going to have more general public meetings for the public to comment?

In particular, are you going to have any that are happening during hours that are more convenient for working people? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We do not have plans for additional public meetings for comments on the Amended Draft EAP, but we will take your feedback on meeting time under consideration for future meetings. 

We received several comments from voters in advance of the hearing via email and a web form on our website.

When will the amended plan be released? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The Amended Draft EAP will be released in late February.

What is your plan for signage at former polling places?

Registration & Elections Division Response: 
Our plan is to reach out to each facility that has previously served as a polling place and provide them with a sign they can put up informing voters of the change.

(47) Will the comments from the public be included in the amended EAP? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Public Comments will be available on our website.

And will the comments that are made subsequent to the amended EAP be included in the final EAP? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Comments to the Amended Draft EAP will also be posted to our website.

When will the results of the Election be announced? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The results of the election will begin to be released on election night beginning at 8:05 p.m.

Will they start being released at the beginning of the 29 day voting period?

Registration & Elections Division Response:
State Election Code 15101 © states “Results of any vote by mail tabulation or count shall not be released before the close of the polls on the day of the election.”

(48) What are the other legislations is impacting the June, 2018 Primary? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
AB 1436 (2012) Conditional Voter Registration Law and AB 1461 DMV New Motor Voter Law (2015), will increase voter registration and the total number of voters turning out at the polls.

Where can I find more Information about them?

Registration & Elections Division Response:
You can learn more about these laws online at the California Legislative Information, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

(49) How will the new Motor Voter Law impact voter registration? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The Motor Voter Law will increase voter registration.

Election Security-What does safe & secure mean to you? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The Registration & Elections Division follows all of its established processes and procedures to ensure the integrity of the election is never compromised. You are welcome to visit our office and observe any process of the election.

Are you subcontracting with any company to administer your election process? 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We contract with Democracy Live to provide services for overseas voters, uniformed military and their family members, and for accessible sample ballot and vote-by-mail services.

Is there any vetting done of the vendors who provide these services?

Registration & Elections Division Response:
These services have completed an extensive certification process with the State and undergo additional scrutiny by San Mateo County before implementation.

(50) More outreach to Iranian American community. Would like to see materials available in Farsi. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The County follows the language requirements provided by CA EC 14201 (d).  At this time, there is a not a precinct where 3% or more of the voting-age residents speak Persian and/or Farsi.

Would like to see Persian New Year added to our Outreach plan.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added the Persian New Year: Nowruz, San Mateo to our Community Events list, and we will contact the organizers to find out if it is possible to do outreach at the event

(51) Why closing down polling places? In New Hampshire, they have a more secure voting system for cheaper. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Though we are not having neighborhood polling places on Election Day, the Voter’s Choice Act provides for Vote Centers to be open 29, 10 and 3 days prior to Election Day, allowing many more days to get to a Vote Center where more services will be available.

Why aren’t we moving in that direction? San Mateo County’s Electronic Voting system is not secure. The plan is currently unacceptable.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We don’t have enough information on New Hampshire’s system to comment on it, but the Hart InterCivic voting equipment is secure.

(52) For outreach focus on non-vbm voters especially young voters, ESL & formerly incarcerated voters. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added more information to the Voter Education and Outreach Plan

Provide additional materials on website for other groups to provide presentations and outreach about SB450. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We will be providing an online toolkit for individuals and groups to have information on the VCA for their own outreach efforts

Partner with large corporations in county-use Facebook/other social media to target ads and get the word out. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added information on engaging business through the State’s Democracy at Work program to the Voter Education and Outreach Plan.

Setup an advisory committee to help work on outreach plan. Make sure to design VBM envelope so that voters don’t accidently throw away. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The envelope says OFFICIAL BALLOT – VOTE BY MAIL on both sides.

Provide good signage at former polling places.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Our office will reach out to each facility previously used as a polling place and provide them with a sign they can put up informing voters of the change.

(53) Make arrangements with paratransit, SamTrans, lyft and other transportation organizations to provide discounts fairs on election day. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
While the Registration & Elections Division agrees that it would be terrific for transportation organizations to provide Election Day discounts to voters, it is not directly related to our mission: “To register County citizens to vote and efficiently conduct transparent elections.” 

Suggestions for outreach events: Lunar New Year, Cinco de Mayo. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have attended two Lunar New Year events added and Cinco de Mayo to our Community Events list.   We will contact event organizers to find out if it is possible to do outreach at the event. 

Work to ensure that the formerly incarcerated understand their rights.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added more to the Voter Education and Outreach Plan on helping current inmates and those formerly incarcerated understand their voting rights. 

(54) Make sure that there is equity in vote center locations. Concerned that there is no location in west Menlo. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We took many factors into consideration when selecting Vote Center locations.  There is at least one Vote Center in each city.

Drop boxes in city halls =concerning because of parking, people don’t know where they are & some people feel uncomfortable walking into government buildings. Suggestions for vote center locations: at colleges to engage young people and churches which are centers of community

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have found most City Halls to have adjacent parking lots.  If a resident doesn’t know where their City Hall is, this may be an opportunity to learn where it is.  In past years, many of our county polling places have been in government buildings, from libraries to city halls to a national guard facility. 

Our staff at the polls have always endeavored to make sure voters feel welcome and free to cast their ballot in privacy, regardless of whether their polling place was in a government facility, commercial building, or private residence.

Vote Center staff will only confirm a voter’s identity and eligibility when they arrive to cast their vote. Identification will only be required of first-time voters who registered online, and who do not have a signature on file. Vote Center staff will not question voters on other matters.

We hope that voters will feel comfortable casting their ballots in those Vote Centers hosted by government facilities. However, under the Voter’s Choice Act voters have a variety of options in casting their ballot, which they may do at any Vote Center or by mail.

(55) There is no “Choice”, we are being forced to receive a vote by mail ballot.

With the voting period extended to 29 days, it makes it more difficult for independent candidates to get their message out & for voters to make an informed decision. Concerned about the privacy of VBM ballots (other people in household, seeing/taking ballot). There is more likely to be fraudulent VBM ballots cast by people who don’t actually live in San Mateo County.  

Registration & Elections Division Response:
You may wish to discuss the VCA with your State representatives. 

How are you checking to make sure that the voters are actually SMC residents?

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The County follows CA EC Division 2, Chapter 1, Article 2. Determination of Residence and Domicile.  Also, the State voter registration database will be used to ensure a voter is not registered in another county.

(56) Concerned about minorities and young people who are less likely to use Vote by Mail.

Recommend having Vote Centers on college campuses. Increased education and outreach to first time voters (18-year-olds). 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have expanded our outreach plans to include college campus organizations and student-run newspapers.  We have also expanded our outreach plans to reach more targeted minority organizations and media. 

Extend hours of vote centers into the evenings to give more opportunities to vote for working people.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
While we will not have Vote Centers open in the evening, they will be open on two weekends.

(57) Suggests reaching out to political parties so that they can educate & mobilize their voters about this new vote models. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added political parties to our community partners list.  

Need to increase voter education-clarify penalties for voter fraud & explain how to report voter fraud.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We post the Voter’s Bill of Rights in every Vote Center which states, “The right to report any illegal or fraudulent election activity to an election official or the Secretary of State’s office. If you believe you have been denied any of these rights, or you are aware of any election fraud or misconduct, please call the Secretary of State’s confidential toll-free Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).”

(58) In the future, please video tape the hearings so that the information is more accessible to the people who are unable to attend in person. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
There is an audio recording on our website at www.smcacre.org/california-voters-choice-act.

Develop a certification program to train individuals/groups on how to successful conduct voter registration/outreach drives

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We are happy to train interested individuals or groups on how to conduct a successful voter registration drive.  It is possible other organizations such as the League of Women Voters and political parties will offer this type of training. 

(59) Would like to point out the strength of this model.

It extends the voting options. For many people, voting on just one day is an obstacle. This model will overcome that obstacle.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your comment.

(60) Please don’t forget the Veterans in your Outreach Plan.

Would like to see outreach done at the VA Hospitals in both Menlo Park & San Bruno.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added the VA Outpatient Clinic in San Bruno, the Palo Alto VA Medical Center and the Menlo Park Peninsula Vet Center to our list of possible community partners to contact. 

(61) Have vote centers at libraries for people who aren’t comfortable going into government buildings. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We currently have three Vote Centers in libraries.

Concerned about the vote center desert in west Menlo.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Menlo Park has two Vote Centers.

Concerned about being able to get through to Tower on Election Day. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We are prepared to handle a high volume of calls and respond to emails on Election Day.

The voting machines aren’t secure, paper ballots =cheaper & more secure.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
There have been no security breaches to the Hart InterCivic voting equipment the County uses, but individuals may choose to vote on a paper ballot by mail or at a Vote Center if they prefer.

(62) Future public meeting please invite Jerry Hill and Kevin Mullin, who voted for the VCA, & members of the BOS, who allocated funds for the VCA, to hear what the public response to the act is. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Though everyone is welcome to attend a public hearing, this hearing was held specifically for the Chief Elections Officer to receive feedback on the draft EAP.  The Registration & Elections Division received comments from members of the Board of Supervisors’ staff. The Supervisors will receive a report on the EAP at the March 13, 2018 Board meeting.  You may wish to contact your representatives’ offices directly with your feedback on the VCA.

Propose a citizen’s commission to measure the outcomes.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your comment.  We will not be implementing your suggestion at this time, but we will reconsider in the future.