Public Comments (96–113)
(Received Electronically) to Amended Draft EAP and Registration & Elections Division Replies

Post

(96) Michael Thank you for your email. 

In looking over the proposed vote centers, I notice that the County Office of Education is still on the list for Redwood City.  I had suggested that the location be changed to the library in Redwood Shores instead of the County Office of Education.  My argument was that the library is better located in Redwood Shores, more visible to people driving in and out of Redwood Shores and more familiar to residents of Redwood Shores.  I doubt if you surveyed residents here in Redwood Shores few would know where the County Office of Education is located and could find it.

I hope that this suggestion will be reviewed and hopefully implemented.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you again for your feedback. I’m sorry that we are disappointing you. 
In confirming facilities to use as Vote Centers, there are a number of practical issues that made certain locations better suited to multi-day voting under the California Voter’s Choice Act. These include the availability of space, lack of conflicting events, security considerations including lockable storage space,  and others. On top of the much greater period of operation, including weekend hours, many facilities that served as polling places were unable to accommodate us. That said, we feel confident the County Office Of Education will serve well as a Vote Center, as it has as a polling place for many years.

(97) Michael Thank you for your response to my feedback on a suggested change to Vote Centers. 

Your explanation makes sense and I understand the rationale behind the decision.

(98) Martha Hello.  To sum up, I am VERY disappointed in the process here of asking for our support! 

I attended the meeting in January in San Mateo, submitted my comments, read the answers online to my comments and those of others, and now want to comment on the amended draft before the deadline.  I am affronted that no changes were made to improve the accessibility of community drop boxes for ballots in Redwood City, and in other cities where drop boxes are presumed to be most available when placed in city halls. 

This is SO wrong that it seems like instead of listening to us all, the drafters just doubled-down on what they originally wanted.  It seems as if they wanted predictability, by having most of them in city halls, etc., rather than convenience for voters who preferred not to place their ballots in US mail boxes, but wanted to put them in what should be safer, taken directly to ballot counting centers instead of main regional post offices.

I will skip any other thoughts if you would please add more dropboxes in our neighborhood shopping centers, schools, or post offices.  If you prefer “official” government sites, then choose local postoffices in every city, even though in little malls.

Thanks for your work on this.

I worry that people are NOT getting this message who are the ones who don’t vote normally!

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your additional feedback.

We have spoken to the USPS and they do not want ballot drop-boxes near post offices.  They expressed concern about confusion and postal customers putting mail meant for the USPS into ballot drop-boxes.

We have just received permission to place an exterior ballot drop-box in East Palo Alto.  It will be at the East Palo Alto Government Center, 2415 University Avenue.  We are also finalizing additional drop-box locations inside public libraries.

(99) Regina I am chagrined to read that NONE of the suggestions for polling places that were given during the public comment period have been instituted as per the EAP revised draft you have kindly provided. 

This is unacceptable, especially considering that only 8% of eligible youth, 17% of eligible Asians, 18% of eligible Latinos vote in our County, accessibility to polling places is critical to participation.  I see no commentary explaining why suggestions for alternative and/or additional locations, especially given the abysmal statistics for voter participation in these groups, were completely disregarded.  I would like to know what if any suggested polling place locations were considered, and why they were rejected.  Access to polling centers, drop off boxes and location is not a trivial matter. There is serious contention in our nation about gerrymandering and voter access at this moment, I’m sure the importance of access is not lost upon this office.  

Regarding notification of changes to all voters,  I have seen that the press releases via Nextdoor have not been released to all SM County communities; e.g. my neighborhood in North Central San Mateo was included, Bel Haven, East Palo Alto was not, .  What is being done to follow up and correct these omissions in a timely manner?  The Education and Outreach plans still have no timelines given for when/how these will be accomplished.  

Finally, though I was glad to read the comment that extended effort to reach eligible voters that are involved with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) would be performed, my concerns about accountability were left completely unaddressed, and the extended efforts were left undefined.  There was a reference on p89 of the Amended Draft EAP to read CA EC 18100 for more information.  I was not able to find CA EC 18100, as given.  However, I was able to find CA ELEC 18100 which states the following:

(a) Every person who willfully causes, procures, or allows himself or herself or any other person to be registered as a voter, knowing that he or she or that other person is not entitled to registration, is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail for not more than one year.

(b) Every person who knowingly and willfully signs, or causes or procures the signing of, an affidavit of registration of a nonexistent person, and who mails or delivers, or causes or procures the mailing or delivery of, that affidavit to a county elections official is guilty of a crime punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail for not more than one year.  For purposes of this subdivision, “ nonexistent person” includes, but is not limited to, deceased persons, animals, and inanimate objects.

I didn’t find this illuminating at all in the context of my expressed concern for outreach to eligible voters in the the system, or to the question of accountability for outreach efforts.  There was no response at all to my question about efforts to re-enfranchise those formerly involved with the CJS.  I consider this an open item and would like to present it again, for the next EAP Draft.  If CA EC 18100 is going to be referenced again as part of the response then please define it specifically, and how it addresses the concerns and suggestions I’ve  expressed in response.  

Thank you for your work on this very critical project.  I look forward to the next Amended Draft and response to the concerns I have raised.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
I am sorry that you feel that we have not incorporated suggested locations into the Amended Draft EAP.  We made some changes to Vote Centers based on feedback, but there are many reasons we could not make all changes suggested, including space size, secure storage, availability for a number of days, including weekends and holidays, etc.  We changed the Atherton City Hall Vote Center to Menlo College; changed Marchbank to Gellert Clubhouse in Daly City and added a 4th site in Daly City, Lawson Hall. We added a Fire Station in South San Francisco and the Fair Oaks Community Center in Redwood City.  We confirmed the Martin Luther King Community Center in San Mateo and also changed the 10-day Vote Center in East Palo Alto at the Family YMCA into a 29-day Vote Center.  Unfortunately, in Half Moon Bay, the city found it had a scheduling conflict with the Ted Adcock Community Center, so we will be moving to their Emergency Operations Center.

We release press releases widely, but it is up to the media to choose whether to publish them or not.  That is why we feel it is important to pay for advertising and send postcards directly to voters to get the word out about the election model changing.  Most advertising won’t be until the month before the election, but we are doing outreach, making presentations and attending community events throughout 2018 to let people know about the change.  People need to contact Nextdoor to ask about what they do and do not share with the public.  We are almost done working on the detailed schedule for outreach and we will post it when it is completed.  We are still working on the Education & Outreach plan schedule, and we will post it when completed. 

We added the following information on page 11 of the Amended Draft EAP/Education & Outreach Plan to address your concerns:

The County regularly provides information on voting rights and elections to the Sheriff’s Office to share with inmates in the county’s correctional facilities. Information will also be given to the Service League of San Mateo County for inmates and to the Service League and the David E. Lewis Community Reentry Center for former inmates.  Would you be interested in volunteering to assist with outreach to eligible voters in the County Jail and/or to those who have been previously served time in the County jail?  There is not necessarily direct access to those in jail at this time, but one can help educate the Sheriff’s deputies and do outreach to public defenders and the service league.

(100) Gail Re Amended EAP

Gentlemen:
The amended plan has several obvious failings, Most, if not all, of them were pointed out when the first draft was published.

*No addresses are shown in the plan  for any of the voting centers or drop boxes. It is impossible evaluate how effectively  the elections division will communicate this and other key information to voters in advance of election day.

*Prior to election day voting centers are open  only 9 to 5. This is not helpful to working voters or those with difficult schedules. More should be open in the evening. There is no 29 day vote center on the Coast at all. There needs to be one.

*Many voting centers are sited at government buildings. In the current atmosphere this is a deterrent to minority voters. Some of the centers,  such as the Redwood City center, have difficult parking access. More, if not all, should be at locations where voters will be comfortable and where parking is easy.

*Only 4 drop boxes are set to be available 24 hours a day. One is at Tower Road, far from population centers, and the other three are to be determined.

*All public outreach appears to involve county personnel attending an already-scheduled public gathering. There should be a budget and a plan for community outreach workers to make door to door visits and leaflet at schools and supermarkets.

*There is no mention of a plan to have prominent signage at the old precinct voting locations to direct confused voters on election day.

Very little use is made of the many school sites in the county. Most notably the public community colleges should have voting centers.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your additional feedback.  We are sorry to hear you are disappointed.

Though addresses were not printed for the Vote Centers were not in the Amended Draft EAP, we will have the addresses available on our website shortly.  We are still updating this list due to cancellations, and we would like to minimize confusion by not featuring the addresses at this time.  If you are unable to find a location by name and city on a search engine, we would be happy to provide you with any addresses at this time directly.

We believe by being open on week days, weekends and Memorial Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., voters will have time to visit a Vote Center.  If we find this is not correct, we will adjust for the November election.  In addition to the four-day Vote Centers in Half Moon Bay and Moss Beach, we will have a Roving Vote Center in Pescadero and La Honda on Election Day. 

In confirming facilities to use as Vote Centers, there are many practical issues that made certain locations better suited to multi-day voting under the California Voter’s Choice Act. These include the availability of space, lack of conflicting events, security considerations including lockable storage space, and others. On top of the much greater period of operation, including weekend hours, many facilities that served as polling places were unable to accommodate us. Many schools are still in session before and on Election Day, and they have not been able to host a multi-day Vote Center.  

We have announced the locations of the three 24/7 ballot drop boxes in the final EAP.   You will also see that Skyline College is now a Vote Center.

(101) Yedida Dear San Mateo County Elections Officials,

I have one additional comment in addition to the ones I sent earlier. The amended EAP did not expand the hours for vote centers beyond 9-5. Please expand these hours to 8am-8pm. It is impossible for the working public to get to a voting center that is open only 9-5. Limiting the hours of voting centers to 9-5 means they will not be accessible to a wide portion of the population. 

Thank you.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your additional comment about the Vote Center hours.  We believe by being open on week days, weekends and Memorial Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., voters will have time to visit a Vote Center.  If we find this is not correct, we will make adjustments for the November election.

(102) Yedida Many individuals work 7 days a week. 

Some work two or more jobs in order to afford living in the Bay Area.  I wouldn’t expect that one “vacation day,”  Memorial Day, will be sufficient to accommodate all of these folks. 

If these individuals are first-time voters, how would you be able to determine whether adjustments will be needed?  You won’t have data on their previous voting patterns.

(103) My main comment has to do with the hours of Vote Centers:

I feel it is critical to have these locations open beyond working hours of 9am to 5pm, it is critical to have these sites open in the evening and on weekends.

I will be helping with outreach through the League of Women Voters so making sure all groups are working together and not duplicating efforts is really important. I hope that the Elections Office will be working to coordinate our efforts.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your valuable volunteer work with the LWV and thank you for your comment.

We believe by being open on week days, weekends and Memorial Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., voters will have time to visit a Vote Center.  If we find this is not correct, we will make adjustments for the November election.

We hope to be made aware of organizations and individuals doing outreach, but duplicating efforts can have a positive effect – they say a person needs to hear something 3 times in advertising to notice it.

(104) Pedro Locations of Proposed Vote Centers. 

Open 29 Days before Election at the Main SSF Library

Open 10 days before election: None. Here is my question: Why So. San Francisco does not have a voting site like the other cities. Available sites: Magnolia Center, 601 Grand Ave.; Community Learning Center, 520 Tamarack Lane; Grand Ave. Library, 306 Walnut Ave. You can choose the 10 days before election any of these sites and they are wheelchair accessible.

Opened 3 days before election: Grand Ave. Library and Fire Station 64. (More sites should be opened.)

Ballot drop-off Box Locations opened 28 days before election.

SSF Main Library, 840 W. Orange Ave. and So. San Francisco City Hall. The availability for wheelchairs at this site should be explained to the voters in the pamplets or change the site. The entrance for the handicap is on Miller Ave. near Maple Ave. My suggestion is to offer another site instead of the City Hall, like the Magnolia Center or Municipal Building on 33 Arroyo Dr.

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

The California Voter’s Choice Act requires one Vote Center per 50,000 population or one per city if fewer than 50,000 live in a city.  We have met this requirement with South San Francisco.  South San Francisco is one of just four cities in the county with a Vote Center open for 29 days.  South San Francisco, Daly City, San Mateo and Redwood City are the only cities with 3 (or more) Vote Centers due to their large size.

We received an answer today (3/15/18) to confirm we could have drop-boxes inside two libraries (Burlingame and East Palo Alto) and tentatively in a third one (Half Moon Bay).

(105) Annie One of my friends pointed out that the opening hours (9 to 5) are not ideal for working people. 

I understand that having extra hours will be costly but I share my colleagues worry about the proposed hours.  In your answer to her,  you said that if your estimation that the proposed hours would be sufficient was incorrect, they would be changed/extended for the November elections. How will you know? What is the criterion that the election division uses to judge whether the opening hours were sufficient?

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The Registration & Elections Division will have comment cards and office business cards available to anyone who does come in to vote and wishes to express a complaint about the hours.  We will know a very close count of the number of  voters who go to each center through the number of votes on each machine and the number of paper ballots we receive to know how much it is used.  We will hear from staff if they have a line at open or close, weekday vs. weekend.  We would also hear through media.  We welcome other suggestions on how to determine if the hours set are working.

The opening hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. include weekends and the Memorial Day holiday.  On Election Day, all Vote Centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  The eight hour day (not the specific hours) comes from SB 450. Work is around the clock these days – people work early and late as well as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  People work 4 – 10 hour/day, some hold two jobs, etc. To accommodate these hours, in addition to some Vote Centers being open for 11 days in a row under SB 450,  the California Elections Code section 14001 requires employers to post a notice to employees advising them of provisions for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections.

More than 64% of the voters in San Mateo County are permanent Vote-by-Mail. When the County held an all-mailed ballot election in November 2015 and had 30+ universal polling places open only on Election Day, 97.5% of the ballots were returned by mail.

(106) Date:  March 12, 2018; 11-12pm Host:  OCA, San Mateo County Chapter

OCA, San Mateo County Chapter is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group.  We have 4 chapters in the San Francisco Bay Area and headquartered in Washington DC.  We advocate for Asian Pacific Americans by advancing their political, economic and social wellbeing.

After reviewing the 2nd Draft of the EAP in reference with our comments for the 1st Draft of the EAP, we had additional comments and questions.  The following categories had suggestions from the community that were not included or addressed in the 2nd EAP.

DROP BOX LOCATION/VOTE CENTER LOCATIONS:
Our suggestion to have a Drop Box/Vote Center located in the Library in Millbrae/instead of City Hall was considered.  These were locations that we suggested that would be good to keep or include, but were not resolved in the 2nd Draft of the EAP.

  • San Mateo County Library at 3rd/El Camino as a Vote Center or Drop Box
  • College of San Mateo and the Farmer’s Market would be an ideal location due to the concentration of people in one area
  • Employment Centers, near high tech businesses

COMMUNITY LEADERS TO INCLUDE:
These were community leaders that were suggested to maximize outreach, but were not mentioned in the 2nd Draft of the EAP.

  • Rotary Clubs; Foster City, Belmont
  • Palo Alto Medical Foundation
  • AARP
  • Pilgrim Baptist Church
  • St. James AME Church
  • Universal Unitarian Church
  • Local minority owned businesses

MEDIA PARTNERS:
Some suggested media partners for furthering the outreach effort are the following.

  • Real Estate magazine
  • Radio Show, in Spanish Language (Burlingame)
  • Women’s March advertisement
  • SF Examiner Sunday Special
  • El Show de Paula Maruri
  • Local “Patch” online newspapers

PHONE BANK VOTERS:
Our community members suggested that the election office consider doing phone banking as a form of outreach to educate voters about the change.

  • Assisted Living Facilities outreach

These are additional comments and questions regarding issues in the 2nd Draft of the EAP.

Bilingual vote workers – With the difficulty in providing a bilingual person at each Voting center, a bilingual person can be called by any of the Voting Center.   Have someone sit at home waiting for calls would be more efficient than having people physically present.  Can the election office have a phone-in translator available so there is not a need to find a Chinese and Spanish speaker to be physically present at each Vote Center?

PSA – With 3 months before the Primaries, when is the script coming out or when will these be announced and shown on TV or the news?  Who will be writing the script going to TV, news, radio stations for the PSAs?  Plus, when are the all mail election notices going out?

Artwork for posters/script to partners – Who will be providing the artwork for the posters and signs informing of this voting change?  Who will be writing the script and doing the artwork?

To be absolutely transparent, can the $200,000 budget be broken down to show line item expenses?

DropBox – The EAP only show location of the DropBox.  They should be showing hours, location info and dates.  City Hall is not a good place for dropbox.  To reiterate, it would be better and more inviting to have drop boxes at libraries and community centers.

Community Leaders – It was mentioned in the 2nd Draft of the EAP that the community leaders to reach out to the election office.  It’s the election office that wants to do the outreach to educate the community in this new way of voting.  Shouldn’t the election office be reaching out to the community leaders?

In general the responses in the 2nd Draft of the EAP felt generic.  There seems to be a lot of cut and paste responses making the 2nd Draft less genuine.  There also appears to be a lot of blanket answers which does not answer specific questions.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your additional feedback.  When consolidating from more than 300 polling places to 39 Vote Centers, we will not be able to include every location suggested to us.  In confirming facilities to use as Vote Centers, there are a number of practical issues that made certain locations better suited to multi-day voting under the California Voter’s Choice Act. These include the availability of space, lack of conflicting events, security considerations including lockable storage space, and others. On top of the much greater period of operation, including weekend hours, many facilities that served as polling places were unable to accommodate us. We are in contact with several libraries about having secure ballot drop-box locations inside their buildings.

The list of community partners is not meant to exclude any organization.  It is a list that will continue to change as we receive new suggestions and make changes if an organization wishes to be removed.  Any organization that contacts us to be a partner will be added. 

We will add Rotary Clubs, Pilgrim Baptist Church, St. James AME Church and Universal Unitarian Church as we realize how important they are in the San Mateo community.  We will contact them to confirm their interest.

The media list too will grow and change. Most Real Estate magazines are printed far in advance to work with us.  Patch regularly carries our press releases and we will add them to the media list. We would appreciate your contact information on the radio show in Spanish in Burlingame.  Could you also provide more information about the Women’s March advertisement and contact information?  We will add “El Show de Paula Maruri” to the media list and contact her to see if we can work together.  The Secretary of State’s office has announced a partnership with Nextdoor, and there is a plan for 4 announcements.

We have contacted several assisted living facilities and included them in our Community Partners list.  Would your organization like to be trained to make presentations at these facilities?

SB 450 requires us to recruit bilingual staff for each Vote Center.  We do plan to provide alternate means of translation, such as having staff translating by phone, if we are not able to recruit bilingual staff.  We would encourage members of your organization to apply for Vote Center positions at jobs.smcgov.org.

The Secretary of State’s office has recently completed a :30 video PSA. We are working PSA scripts will be available before the end of March. Our staff will write the scripts.  We have staff who have worked in commercial radio and television with experience writing scripts.  The stations receiving the scripts may also decide to write their own script. We cannot guarantee public service announcements will be broadcast; scheduling is up to the media. 

The first all-mailed/Vote Center announcement to all voters will go in the mail in mid-April.

We have three graphic artists on our staff working on art for all materials. Our graphic artists do an outstanding job on our materials.

When we produce the post-election report, the budget will be broken out. The money spent to date has been on translation and printing our first brochures.

Thank you for your suggestions on drop-box hours and locations.  We received an answer today (3/15/18) to confirm we could have drop-boxes inside two libraries (Burlingame and East Palo Alto) and tentatively in a third one (Half Moon Bay).  

The Chief Elections Officer has personally reached out to numerous elected officials and community leaders.  The Registration & Elections Division staff has reached out to more than 200 community organizations. There have been presentations on the VCA at more than 20 community events to date and the pace will pick up as the election draws closer.

Many people had the same questions, thus the copied responses in the Amended Draft EAP.  Also, the volume of comments would not have been able to be answered personally during the 14-day comment period. We may not have had specific answers to provide to every question as we are adapting and improving the plans every day.

(107) Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on San Mateo County’s Amended Election Administration Plan dated March 1, 2018. 

We were pleased to see additional detail provided on the Voter Outreach and Education and the earlier opening of the East Palo Alto YMCA Vote Center location.  It was also valuable to see the public comments that had been made on the initial draft of the EAP to see where our community had questions and common concerns.  

There are areas of the EAP that we feel need additional details or where concerns continue.  We have described them below.

Location of Vote Centers and Ballot Drop-Off Boxes
Most importantly, we are still very concerned that the locations of some of the Vote Centers and the majority of Ballot Drop-off Boxes are in government offices, primarily City Halls.   This issue was raised by many of the people who provided feedback on the Draft EAP and yet there have been no changes made to the location of Drop-off Boxes.   

 Our immigrant communities are very reluctant to go into government offices and have well-founded fears about possible deportation of their family members.  These communities have historically lower voter turnout and it seems that we would want to do all that we can to encourage them to vote. To accomplish this, we should place Ballot Drop-off Boxes in places where they feel safe and that they frequent, such as community centers and libraries.  We do not understand the rationale for why these concerns were not taken into account.  
We also feel that the Vote Center hours should expand evening hours to better accommodate voters who work.  Due to the high cost of living in our area, many people are working at two jobs and often work on the weekend.   Vote Centers should be open until 8pm on more than just Election Day.

 Only 38 Vote Centers were listed in the Addenda, but 39 Vote Centers are required per the Voter’s Choice Act formula.  Could you please clarify this discrepancy?  Is there a 39th Vote Center yet to be identified? 

When will the final three, 24 hour Ballot Drop-Box locations, with 24 hour availability be determined?  We are hopeful that they will be located in areas of low voter turn-ou,t or in areas that will not have a Vote Center like La Honda and Pescadero.

How will voters be able to find the nearest Vote Center or Ballot Drop-off Box?  Will there be an online tool people that people can use to type in their home or work address and see a list of the nearest Vote Centers and/or Drop-off Boxes?  Besides a listing on the County’s website, where will the list of Vote Centers and Ballot Drop-off Boxes be available?   We previously sent you a link to a tool, based on Google Maps, that showed the location of previous polling places and proposed Vote Centers and Ballot Drop-off Boxes, which could be a potential resource for voters.  We would be happy to discuss this with you. 

 Voter Education and Outreach Plan
We appreciate that email addresses and phone numbers were included on the list of Community Partners and that new organizations were added.  However, we are still unclear as to how this list is to be used by the County or by organizations such as ourselves.  Is the County expecting the Community Partners to initiate contact to request materials or presentations?   It seems more proactive if the County directly communicated with all of the Community Partners to make them aware of what resources are available, including organizations such as ourselves, who are able to make presentations.

 Does the Elections office have a schedule of when and where presentations will be delivered?  Currently, we are developing plans and materials for our voter outreach presentations and we do not want to duplicate efforts.  How can we best coordinate our efforts? 

There is a listing of upcoming Community Events.  Will the Elections Office have a table staffed by employees and provide information on VCA at all of these events?  Is there an opportunity for us to partner with you at some of these events?

 The EAP mentions that a variety of materials will be made available.  What is the target date for when the County’s presentation, flyer and FAQ will be available on the web site?  
 The primary way that voters will be contacted directly is through three postcard mailings.  Will the mailing list be continually updated so people who register to vote during May will receive at least one of the postcards?  Will mock-ups of the postcards be available to view prior to mailing and can these quantities of these postcards be provided to partners to hand out as part of our outreach efforts?

 We were glad to see some information included in the Amended EAP about reaching out to eligible voters that are, or have been, involved with the Criminal Justice System (CJS).  Could you please elaborate on what information is provided?  Is there follow up to ensure that the information was disseminated?  Will a presentation be made to the Sheriff’s Office on this new way to vote in San Mateo County?  How will an inmate get their ballot if it is mailed to their home address?  Is there a way that replacement ballots can be delivered to them at the correctional facility?  How can voting be made accessible to inmates with disabilities? 

 These questions also apply to eligible voters who are no longer involved with the CJS.  Will the Service League and the David E. Lewis Community Reentry Center be doing outreach to former inmates and advising them to re-register to vote?  Will the County ensure that these organizations are well versed on the new voting system?

 Last, but not least, signage at former polling places is going to be critical! Despite the County’s best efforts, some people will be unaware of the change, and will head to the polling place they have been going to for years, to find that they can no longer cast their vote there.  It will be very important to post a statement that their voting location has changed and include a list of Vote Centers where they can vote, along with a telephone number that will be answered, if they have questions.  

We appreciate the collaborative nature of the development of the Election Administration Plan and look forward to working with the County on a successful implementation.

Regards,

Christine 
San Francisco Peninsula People Power

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for providing feedback on the Amended EAP.  
The Registration & Elections Division has regularly used City/Town Halls as polling places and placed ballot drop-boxes inside City/Town Halls throughout the County.  SB 450 requires at least one Ballot Drop-off box for every 15,000 registered voters in the County for a projected total of 26 Ballot Drop-off boxes for the June 5, 2018 Election.  Twenty will be inside City/Town Halls.  There will be ballot drop-off boxes inside every Vote Center.  Another four ballot drop-off boxes will be accessible on a 24/7 basis.  Finally, the Registration & Elections Division is enclosing a postage-paid envelope to return ballots in one of the hundreds of street-side mailboxes, dozens of post offices or for pick-up from a residence which receives mail delivery.

Almost every Vote Center is a previous polling place. Among the 39 Vote Centers, three are libraries, four churches, four fire stations or related, five school or school administration, and eleven are in community centers.  Many people consider Community Centers. Libraries, schools and fire departments as government buildings.  Some people are uncomfortable going into a church if they are not religious or are a member of another religion.  

In confirming facilities to use as Vote Centers, there are a number of practical issues that made certain locations better suited to multi-day voting under the California Voter’s Choice Act. These include the availability of space, lack of conflicting events, security considerations including lockable storage space, and others. On top of the much greater period of operation, including weekend hours, many facilities that served as polling places were unable to accommodate us.

The opening hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. include weekends and the Memorial Day holiday.  On Election Day, all Vote Centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  The eight-hour day (not the specific hours) comes from SB 450. Work is around the clock these days – people work early and late as well as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  People work 4 – 10 hour/day, some hold two jobs, etc. To accommodate these hours, in addition to some Vote Centers being open for 11 days in a row under SB 450, the California Elections Code section 14001 requires employers to post a notice to employees advising them of provisions for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide election.

There are 39 Vote Centers listed in the Final Addenda.  With the changing list, it was a proofreading error to omit one. 

The final three 24/7 drop-box locations have been confirmed –outside the Pescadero Fire Department, Mike Nevin Health Clinic in Daly City and the Government Center in East Palo Alto.

Voters will receive information on where the Vote Centers and drop-boxes are in the Sample Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlet, with their Official Ballot, on our website and by calling our office.  We are preparing downloadable flyers as part of our online tool kit for your use and others.  There is one flyer with all locations and four flyers broken up by north, central, south and coastside portions of the County. We are working on how we can assist voters with maps online and we will review the tool you previously sent.

We have communicated with more than 200 of the community partners.  Here is a copy of the email:

 “Hello,
I am writing on behalf of the San Mateo County Registration and Elections Division.  We are confirming that your organization would like to be considered as a community partner in providing your residents/members/clients with information on the all-mailed ballot/vote center election on June 5, 2018.

If you are interested in a presentation or would like us to participate in an event, please let me know.  If your organization would like to do its own outreach, we can provide training and/or information. 

Please also provide your organization’s mailing address for our updates. If you would no longer like to receive email as a community partner from us, please let me know to take you off our list.

Thank you.”

We are posting the information on presentations on our website calendar. If you are giving a public presentation about the VCA, please email the information to us at registrar@smcacre.org and we will post it on our calendar.

Some events listed are presentations and others are events where we would have a table. We can discuss partnering together at events, but we would appreciate it if we could make our outreach efforts more widespread by attending different events.
The target date for the online tool kit is Friday, March 23, 2018.

The mailing list will be updated in-between mailings. We did not plan to have the postcards available as handouts since we are creating other materials, but we could consider it. 

Prior to an election, we contact the Sheriff’s Office to make sure they are aware of the election.  A representative from the Sheriff’s Office picks up voter registration forms at the Vote Center inside 555 County Center, Redwood City. We do not have the information on how the Sheriff’s Office distributes the forms, but you could contact them for details.

The Sheriff’s Office drops them off completed registration forms at the same Vote Center where pick-up was made. Inmates can use the jail’s address as their residence or a San Mateo County home address.

The registration forms are delivered to the Registration & Elections Division. The forms are processed in their own batches and ballots are issued, but not mailed. The ballots are delivered to the same Vote Center where they are picked up by the Sheriff’s Office and distributed. The inmates can either mail their ballots or the Sheriff’s Office will return them to the Vote Center.

If an inmate has a ballot delivered to their home, they would need to have someone in their home pick it up and re-mail it.  The inmate could also re-register through the above process.

We have not received requests for replacement ballots or assistance for helping an inmate with disabilities but thank you for bringing these situations to our attention to develop working procedures in concert with the Sheriff’s Office.

We cannot reply on behalf of the Service League or the David E. Lewis Community Reentry Center.  We will ask for their help and offer to provide training to their staff or hold presentations for their clients at their facilities. 

We plan to do a mailing to the former polling places with a flyer they can post or use as information to provide anyone who stops by.  We will also let them know they can have voters call us.  

(108) Dear Mr. Church.

We are concerned about parts of the Election Plan and how it will confuse and ultimately disenfranchise voters in Menlo Park.

1) Location: Onetta Harris Community Center has not been a polling place in the last few election cycles, but there have been three precincts. Residents expect convenient access to voting centers. For our population, additional locations in East Palo Alto don’t serve the same function as additional locations in the neighborhood.

2) Hours: Its current hours are 12pm-8pm. We read in the draft that the hours of Voting Centers are 9am – 5pm. We’d like you to expand the hours to increase the flexibility for people to vote.

3) Parking: The Onetta Harris Parking Lot serves Beechwood School, an Afterschool Program, the Belle Haven Pool, the Menlo Park Park Senior Center and Kelly Park in addition to the Community Center. It is often full and has safety issues. 

4) Outreach: The voter outreach in this community pales in comparison to other areas of the county. We are concerned that residents are not informed of the changes to the way we vote. As a community partner, we have not noticed adequate voter outreach.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for expressing your concerns.  We do not want to disenfranchise any eligible voter in San Mateo County.

The change from 300+ polling places to 39 Vote Centers may make the distance greater to visit in-person, but there Vote Centers will be open at least 24 more hours than past polling places.
In confirming facilities to use as Vote Centers, there are a number of practical issues that made certain locations better suited to multi-day voting under the California Voter’s Choice Act. These include the availability of space, lack of conflicting events, security considerations including lockable storage space,  and others. On top of the much greater period of operation, including weekend hours, many facilities that served as polling places were unable to accommodate us.

The opening hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. include weekends and the Memorial Day holiday.  On Election Day, all Vote Centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  The eight hour day (not the specific hours) comes from SB 450. Work is around the clock these days – people work early and late as well as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  People work 4 – 10 hour/day, some hold two jobs, etc. To accommodate these hours, in addition to some Vote Centers being open for 11 days in a row under SB 450,  the California Elections Code section 14001 requires employers to post a notice to employees advising them of provisions for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections.

More than 64% of the voters in San Mateo County are permanent Vote-by-Mail. When the County held an all-mailed ballot election in November 2015 and had 30+ universal polling places open only on Election Day, 97.5% of the ballots were returned by mail.   

Voter outreach has only just begun with 10-day printed notices of public hearings on the VCA.  Most voter outreach will take place in the last month before the election.  If you would like to provide any specific media suggestions to reach your neighborhood, please email them to registrar@smcacre.org.

(109) March 15, 2018

VIA E-MAIL & U.S. MAIL
Re: Feedback on San Mateo County’s Revised EAP

Dear Mr. Church,
Disability Rights California (DRC) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the San Mateo County’s revised Election Administration Plan (EAP). DRC is the protection and advocacy system for Californians with disabilities. Under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), DRC is charged with ensuring “the full participation in the electoral process for individuals with disabilities, including registering to vote, casting a vote and accessing polling places.” See 42 U.S.C. § 15461.

Requesting Remote Accessible Vote by Mail Ballots or Replacement Ballots

As Voter’s Choice California (VCC) said in our comments on the draft EAP, the process for getting a remote accessible vote-by-mail ballot or a replacement ballot is not described in the EAP. The county is required to indicate in the EAP how voters with disabilities may request a remote accessible vote-by-mail ballot or replacement ballot. Elec. Code § 4005(a)(10)(I)(ii). The revised EAP still does not describe that process. Additionally, we recommend that the county note that any list of voters with disabilities making a request for a remote accessible vote-by-mail ballot will remain confidential. In trainings that I have done on remote accessible vote-by-mail, a big concern is making sure that the voter’s disability is kept confidential.

Mobile Vote Centers
We appreciate that the decision to have a “Roving Voting set-up” to serve the remote areas including Pescadero and La Honda. However, the term “Roving Voting set-up” is a bit confusing. Is this a mobile vote center? The Voter’s Choice Act (VCA) requires counties to consider the need for a mobile vote center as they draft the EAP. Elec. Code § 4005(a)(10)(B)(VI)(xiv). Mobile vote centers have the same services any other vote center has except its location moves around. It is unclear whether this “Roving Voting set-up” will have the same services as any other vote center. This should be clarified.

The EAP does not give any detail about where the “Roving Voting set-up” will be. It may be a good idea to reach out to community centers or residential care facilities to set up a mobile vote center at their location for a specific day. Wherever you choose to have the “Roving Voting set-up” or mobile vote center you need to figure out how you will get the information to voters that they are available and put it in the Voter Education and Outreach Plan.

Workshops
As you know, the VCA requires that information about workshops for the language minority communities and the disability community be described in the Voter Education and Outreach Plan. Elec. Code §4005(a)(10)(I)(i)(vi)(ia)&(ib).  In both the draft plan and the revised plan, there are descriptions of these workshops and there are no dates.

Thank you for your dedication to this project and your willingness to be responsive to community and outside input. We appreciate the open line of communication we maintain with you and your staff. You can reach me with questions or comments at any time.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
This is an oversight on our part and we apologize for the omission. We have added information in the EAP under Vote by Mail ballots on ways to request a replacement ballot and other voting options for people with disabilities.  We have also added that any list of voters with disabilities making a request for a remote accessible vote-by-mail ballot will remain confidential.

We offer a mobile voting options for persons with disabilities. We will offer a roving voter set-up in Pescadero and La Honda for a part of Election Day.  This will not have all the services of a Vote Center due to logistics.  We have added this information to the Voter Education & Outreach Plan.

We have not scheduled dates or locations for the workshops but we are working on it.  Thank you for your patience with us.

(110) March 14, 2018

Dear Mr. Church: Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on San Mateo County’s Amended Draft Election Administration Plan (EAP) which was published on March 1, 2018. We appreciate that all public comment was included in the document and were happy to see additional details on the Outreach Plan. There are, however, concerns that were raised during review of the original Draft EAP that have not been addressed fully and are covered below. We also raise new concerns.

Location and Hours of Vote Centers and Ballot Drop-off Boxes

  • Vote Centers

We appreciated that the Vote Center located at the East Palo Alto YMCA was changed to a 29-day Vote Center, addressing the concern that there were none located in the southern part of the county. We also appreciated the addition of community centers and educational institutions as 4-day Vote Centers in some cities. That said, we think the 14 siting criteria in the law are critically important and showing that Vote Center locations were chosen with an awareness of those 14 siting criteria is important for transparency and public trust in the process. We ask that you show publicly, either in the next EAP or at a public meeting, how the Vote Center sites chosen compare to the ideal Vote Center sites as dictated by the 14 siting criteria, using the UC Davis siting tool.
There was a great deal of feedback on the importance of evening hours for Vote Centers, and yet the Amended Draft EAP sets the hours as 9-5 pm. We recommend that the needs of the working public, and the request for expanded hours, be incorporated into the county’s plans.

We noticed a discrepancy in the total number of Vote Centers. On Page 2, a total of 39 Vote
Centers is indicated, but in the addenda, the listing of Vote Centers includes only 38 locations.
Could you please clarify?

  • Ballot Drop-Off Boxes

We were disappointed that there was no change in the location of the Ballot Drop-Off Boxes despite strong public feedback that locating these boxes in city halls and other government offices was problematic, especially for our immigrant communities. The county’s response about the fact that city halls are safe places to vote does not address the fears of the immigrant communities. Many will not go inside to find out how friendly the people are. Even U.S. citizens have family members who may fear deportation. It is critical to locate Ballot Drop-off Boxes at facilities where everyone feels welcomed, such as libraries, grocery stores, and community centers. Additionally, given that all Ballot Drop-Off Boxes are located in city halls, we are concerned that they were sited there without a rigorous analysis of the 14 siting criteria, as required by the legislation. We ask that you publicly share, either in the next EAP or at a public meeting, any analysis your office undertook to make sure the Ballot Drop-Off Box locations were supported by the siting criteria.

Please inform the public the date by which the locations of the last three Ballot Drop-Box locations will be finalized. We think it is important that they be dispersed throughout the county especially if, as it states in the Amended Draft EAP, that they are to be accessible to voters 24 x 7.

  • Roving Voting Set-up

Finally, page 11 notes a “Roving Voting set-up” that will serve geographically remote areas. Is that a mobile Vote Center, as provided for in the Voter’s Choice Act? Will it have all the functionality of a Vote Center; and if not, how does it meet statutory requirements? The “Roving Voting set-up” is mentioned as something that will service La Honda and Pescadero. In order to ensure its success, it is important for the county to both provide more information about implementation and to collaborate with community organizations in those two areas.

Direct Voter Contacts
The Direct Voter Contacts section states that there will be one direct contact with all registered voters, a second contact with voters who have not previously received their ballot by mail, and a third to remind voters who have not mailed in their ballot. The Voter’s Choice Act requires that at least two direct contacts “with voters” must be sent with the purpose of informing them of the upcoming election and promoting the hotline. The law’s text does not suggest that two direct contacts “with voters” can include one direct contact with voters and one additional direct contact (or two, in this case) with a subsection of voters. We urge that at least two of the direct contacts go to all voters, in order to ensure compliance with the law.

We also recommend that the county use additional methods of directly contacting voters to do education about the Voter’s Choice Act, like a texting campaign. The International Institute of the Bay Area (IIIBA) along with Collaborative Resources for Immigrant Services on the Peninsula (CRISP), promotes a texting system created and maintained by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The system allows immigrant community members to receive immigration information directly to their phone via text messaging. Such a system could also be used to send out text message reminders to voters to mail in their ballots or to visit a Vote Center to cast their ballots at the opening of the 10-day Vote Centers and the opening of the 4-day Vote Centers.

Finally, we have several detailed questions about the current plan for direct contacts. ‧ What is the schedule for the mailing of the postcards? ‧ Is the mailing list continuously updated so if someone registers to vote after the first mailing, they will get on the list for contact and receive postcards pursuant to the schedule? ‧  Will there be an opportunity for the public to review the content of the postcards prior to finalization?

Voter Outreach Plan
We have significant feedback on your voter outreach plans. We suggest you consider creating a voter outreach and education committee that can work closely with your office on the issues below.

  • Community Partners

We appreciate that contact information was added to the list of Community Partners in the addenda, but we are still a bit confused as to what this listing represents. The Amended Draft EAP does not indicate what the role of community partners is or how the elections office intends on interacting with or using them. On Page 9 the Amended Draft EAP says, “Community partners may assist in simple ways such as placing a flyer…” Is it the elections office’s intention to list community partners and then hope they do some of the activities suggested? We believe that the elections office has an obligation to reach out and engage the community partners listed and describe plans with specificity. In fact, we believe that the EAP’s lack of detail fails to satisfy the Voter’s Choice Act’s requirement for “[a] description of how the county elections official will have a community presence to educate voters regarding the provisions of this section.”

Also, given the large number of Community Partners listed, how do we ensure that outreach efforts being undertaken by these Partners and the county are not duplicative? Will the county provide any coordination for these outreach efforts? How will you make sure our collective efforts are not missing large numbers of voters?

  • Community Events

The addenda include a list of community events but it does not provide details as to what role the Elections Office plans to have at these events. The elaboration in the Q & A about tabling is not sufficiently specific. Is this the extent of the community presence? Will tabling be done in partnership with community organizations? Are there plans for the county to work with the listed community partners at these events in more meaningful ways?

  • NVRA Agencies

According to the Amended Draft EAP, National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) agencies in the county can get “additional information and training on request.” The county should be more proactive in this effort. NVRA agencies are required by law to offer clients voter registration, and the county should provide information and training to prepare NVRA agency staff to explain the VCA at the same time.

  • Information at Former Polling Places

In response to a concern raised in the Public Comment section, the county stated that they would be providing information to former polling places about the fact that voters needed to go elsewhere to vote. The Amended Draft EAP needs to include more details on what type of information and when it will be provided. Additionally, the elections office should post notices on these polling places on Election Day, so people who come to their usual polling places will know where they need to go to vote. These notices should include a listing of Vote Centers and Ballot Drop-off Boxes, along with a telephone number to call for assistance if needed.

  • Other Areas of Voter Outreach

The Elections Office needs to offer a variety of options for voters to find out the locations where they can vote or drop off ballots. This could include an online tool where voters can type in an address and see the nearest Vote Center or Drop-off Box. The listing of Vote Centers and Drop Boxes needs to be updated on the web site and easily located on the web page.

We would like to see more details on the Outreach Plan in terms of print and social media beyond a listing of media partners.

Is there an overall schedule for publicizing Voter’s Choice which includes specifics on which partners and what content? Also, are there any ideas as to how the Community Partners can assist in the publicity efforts?

Voters with Disabilities
We were pleased to see that additional Community Partners were added as well as detailed information on transportation alternatives to get to Vote Centers. However, this section has not been amended to include:

  • A workshop specifically aimed at increasing accessibility for and participation of people with disabilities. Details such as location, dates, and times of workshops should be included.
     
  • More detail on voter education for people with disabilities at community events.

Also, the section states that accessible Vote by Mail ballots or replacement ballots may be requested, but it does not describe how. Lastly, there is a lack of information concerning guaranteeing confidentiality of requests for accessible ballots.

Language Access
We are baffled as to why the addenda, which compose a huge portion of the Amended Draft EAP, are not translated. Critically important information, central to the Amended Draft EAP and its purpose of educating the public, is in the addenda. To best serve all voters in the county, the addenda should be translated. And this is not just about serving voters. The Voter’s Choice Act mandates the translation of the EAP, with no exemption for large chunks simply because they are labeled as addenda and not put in the body of the EAP.

The Elections Office has stated an intention to try to recruit at least one Spanish-speaking and one Chinese-speaking election worker in each Vote Center. The Voter’s Choice Act, however, requires the EAP to provide the number of bilingual Election Board members and the languages spoken. This means the county needs to set a target for bilingual poll workers, state it publicly in the EAP, and then strive to meet it. Furthermore, the elections office is required to specifically solicit public input regarding which Vote Centers should have bilingual staff. We did not see any additional information in the Amended Draft EAP on how this would be accomplished.

Miscellaneous Comments
The toll-free hotline number is 888-SMC-VOTE. It is not listed in the main body of the EAP, but is listed in a response on page 90. It should be listed in the body of the EAP.

While there is reference to the existence of security and contingency plans, they are not included in the Amended Draft EAP as required by the Voter’s Choice Act.

The Amended Draft EAP jumps from page 5 to page 9 – either the relevant pages should be inserted or the page numbers should be corrected.

Thank you for the opportunity to review and provide further input on the Election Administration Plan. Collaboration between community groups and the county is key to a successful rollout of the Voter’s Choice Act. We appreciate the open and cooperative spirit your staff has shown and we look forward to continuing to work closely with your office on VCA implementation.

Kind regards,

Georgia Antonopoulos and Petra Silton
Thrive Alliance of Nonprofits in San Mateo County

Diane Leeds
San Francisco Peninsula People Power

Dornaz Memarzia
National Iranian American Council

Ann Kuchins
League of Women Voters of North & Central San Mateo County

Shirley Des Marais
League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County

Jeremy Barousse
Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN)

Bradley Cleveland
San Mateo County Union Community Alliance

Rosa Maria Uriarte
International Institute of the Bay Area

Pedro Gonzalez
Former Mayor and Councilmember of the City of South San Francisco

Fred Nisen
Disability Rights California

Joshua Grossman-Swenson
Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County (LASSMC)

Tim
Gail 
Elsa 
Marna
Carole 
Swarnalatha 
Individual voters

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We began work on Vote Center locations before the UC Davis siting tool was available. Please see the maps in the Addenda for how, in part, the locations were selected.

In confirming facilities to use as Vote Centers, there are a number of practical issues that made certain locations better suited to multi-day voting under the California Voter’s Choice Act. These include the availability of space, lack of conflicting events, security considerations including lockable storage space,  and others. On top of the much greater period of operation, including weekend hours, many facilities that served as polling places were unable to accommodate us.   The opening hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. include weekends and the Memorial Day holiday.  On Election Day, all Vote Centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  The eight hour day (not the specific hours) comes from SB 450. 

Work is around the clock these days – people work early and late as well as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  People work 4 – 10 hour/day, some hold two jobs, etc. To accommodate these hours, in addition to some Vote Centers being open for 11 days in a row under SB 450,  the California Elections Code section 14001 requires employers to post a notice to employees advising them of provisions for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections.

There are 39 Vote Centers listed in the Final Addenda.  With the changing list, it was a proofreading error to omit one. 

We have received confirmation on 3/15/18 to be able to add secure drop-boxes inside the Burlingame and East Palo Alto Libraries.  Tentatively, one will also be added inside the Half Moon Bay Libary. 

The locations for the 24/7 drop-boxes are now in the EAP. Due to logistics, we cannot provide the full Vote Center services in the Roving Voting set-up – we are not counting it as a Vote Center.  As we finalize details, they will be made public.  

In addition to the postcards,all registered voters will receive  direct contact via the Sample Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlet and the Official Ballot.  Due to increases in printing, paper and postage, the cost of the three postcard mailing is approximately $200,000. We encourage any organizations to use text to educate their clients or members.  We will contact the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to see if they are able to use their list for this purpose. 

The postcard mailings will occur in mid-April, early May and late May-early June. The list will be updated in-between mailings.There is no plan for public review and comment on the postcards prior to the mailing. 

We have communicated with more than 200 of the community partners.  There is a copy of the email earlier in this comment section. 

We do not think duplication is a great problem – in advertising it is said a person needs to hear the message at least three times before they really hear it.  We are asking for email addresses of people who download the online tool kit so we can contact them to learn about how and where they plan to use it.  We expect any voters not reached by community partners will be reached through mail or advertising. At some community events we will have a table and at others, we will make presentations.  We think it would be more beneficial for us to “divide and conquer” to reach a wider audience. 

NVRA agencies receive their information from the Secretary of State’s office and they will be providing information on the VCA.  We will plan to contact the agencies and offer training. 

We will mail a flyer to former polling places.  We can not guarantee if they will be posted. Would People Power like to assist by commiting to provide the volunteers call and/or visit the former polling places?  

We are working on online tools for voters to see where the nearest Vote Centers and drop-off boxes are located.  

We are working on the detailed media plan.  Most publicity will be in the month prior to the election. Community partners can add an article from our online toolkit to an existing newsletter.  We have a digital signature that can be printed on an Avery badge and worn to inform people about the VCA.  We will have flyers to include on their websites, distribute or post.  

We are developing a workshop schedule and we will promote these on our website and send the information to our community partners and government network. 

A request for replacement ballots may be by phone, email or fax.  There may be time to mail a request. We have added this information and a statement on the confidentiality of requests for accessible ballots.  

We were prepared to read any part of the Addenda in other languages in person or by phone, but we did not receive any requests.  Your letter is the first comment on the Addenda and languages. The target set for bilingual Vote Center Representatives is at least one Spanish and one Chinese speaking person in each vote center.  We are reviewing the information provided by the SOS on languages by precinct to determine other language needs.  

We welcome input on any subject at any time at registrar@smcacre.org, by phone, mail or in-person.  

We have added the toll-free number in the plan. 

The EAP does mention security and contingency plans in the Vote Center section.  We are updating our plans to reflect the voting model change.

The Amended Draft EAP did not include page numbers on blank page, which were counted when numbering pages.  Blank pages had been removed from our PDF version and we will replace them with blank numbered pages.

(111) Dear Mr. Church: We write to provide feedback on the San Mateo County Amended Draft Election Administration Plan (EAP) published March 1, 2018.

Before we do so, we wish reiterate our appreciation for the open and collaborative way your office has approached Voter’s Choice Act (VCA) implementation in San Mateo County, both with regard to working with our Voter’s Choice California coalition and with community members and organizations.

Generally speaking, we have left recommendations and input that are specific to San Mateo County to community-based organizations in San Mateo County. However, we are extremely concerned that the feedback of community organizations, especially related to the placement of drop boxes and vote centers, has largely not been taken into account in the Amended Draft EAP. We urge you to factor in their concerns and to think about moving locations to make them more accessible and welcoming to all members of the community. We are worried that voter participation, in particular among underrepresented communities, will suffer if the locations are inhospitable.

Much of this letter will reiterate points that we made in our previous feedback. For ease of reference we provide the relevant code sections.

Direct Voter Contacts
The Voter’s Choice Act, Elec. Code § 4005(a)(10)(I)(i)(X), requires at least two direct contacts with voters in addition to any other required contacts. The San Mateo County Draft EAP discusses one direct contact with all registered voters, a second contact with voters who have not previously received their ballot by mail, and a third to remind voters who have not mailed in their ballot. We believe that at least two direct contacts are required to be with all voters and recommend a revision of the Amended Draft EAP reflecting plans to meet that requirement.

Voter Education and Outreach Plan
The overview has been updated to list the types of media the county plans to use. It also notes that the county will hold multiple ADA-accessible public education workshops with translators for Spanish, Chinese, Filipino and Korean language speakers. It is unclear as to whether there will be a workshop specifically aimed at increasing accessibility for and participation of people with disabilities, as required by Elec. Code §4005(a)(10)(I)(i)(VI)(ib).

In addition, providing details as to the location, dates and times for workshops is critically important to the community. Similarly, while the Amended Draft EAP lists a number of events in an addendum, there are no details as to the county’s plan for voter education at those events. Providing that detail, even if it is preliminary, would both give the public a more substantive idea as to what to expect and stimulate further ideas about outreach.

Requesting Remote Accessible Vote by Mail Ballots or Replacement Ballots
The county is required to indicate in the EAP how voters with disabilities may request a remote accessible vote-by-mail ballot or replacement ballot. Elec. Code §4005(a)(10)(I)(ii). We do not see the process described. Additionally, we recommend that the county note that any list of voters with disabilities making a request for a remote accessible vote-by-mail ballot will remain confidential.

Vote Center and Drop Box Hours and Bilingual Election Board Members
Community feedback regarding the hours of operation for Vote Centers and Drop Boxes has recommended going beyond the 9-5 PM timeframe to accommodate working people. We urge the Elections Office to consider the community’s preferences. One of the most significant benefits of the VCA is that it brings voting to the voters. It is designed to locate the voting experience where it is most obvious and available. The hours of operation are key to achieving this goal.

Currently the Amended Draft EAP notes the county’s intention to try to recruit at least one Spanish-speaking and one Chinese-speaking election worker in each Vote Center. However it still does not do what the code requires. Namely, to provide the number of bilingual Election Board members and the languages spoken. Elec. Code §4005(a)(10)(I)(vi)(IX). Furthermore, the elections office is required to specifically solicit public input regarding which Vote Centers should have bilingual staff. Elec. Code §4005(a)(6)(B)(ii).

Security and Contingency Plans
While there is reference to the existence of security and contingency plans, they are not included in the Amended Draft EAP as required by the code. Elec Code §4005(a)(10)(I)(vi)(VIII)(ia) & (ib).

Mobile Vote Center
The Amended Draft EAP states that a Roving Voting set up will be deployed to Pescadero and La Honda. The plan does not define “roving vote center” or describe ways in which it will be publicized or how the community will be involved in developing the plans for its use.

Pagination
There continue to be missing pages in the Amended Draft EAP.

Translated Versions of the Draft EAP
The translated versions of the Amended Draft EAP are not fully translated; none of the critically important content in the addenda has been translated. The Voter’s Choice Act, Elec. Code § 4005(a)(10)(E)(iii), requires that any draft plan, amended draft plan, and final plan be made public in all languages for which the county has federal or state law language access requirements. The law does not provide an exception for EAP addenda content. While it is understandable that city names, addresses, location names, organization names, and the like might not be translated, the addenda currently includes large portions of text that should be translated.

The table of contents reveals that the header/title of each addendum has been translated. Given that, it appears that it would be relatively easy to provide the header/title of each addendum in translated form.

Thank you for your dedication to this project and your willingness to be responsive to community and outside input. We appreciate the open line of communication we maintain with you and your staff. You can reach any of us with questions or comments at any time.

Very truly yours,
Dora Rose League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Jonathan Stein Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus

Registration & Elections Division Response:
In addition to the postcards,all registered voters will receive direct contact via the Sample Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlet and the Official Ballot.  Due to increases in printing, paper and postage, the cost of the three postcard mailing is approximately $200,000. 

We planned to include the topic of increasing accessibility for and participation of people with disabilities in all workshops since this information may be needed by speakers of different languages.  If this is not a correct interpretation of the law, we will have an additional workshop specifically aimed at increasing accessibility for and participation of people with disabilities. We are currently developing the workshop schedule. 

We have added whether we are doing a presentation ar have an information table at events. 
We have added information in the EAP under Vote by Mail ballots on ways to request a replacement ballot and other voting options for people with disabilities.  We have also added that any list of voters with disabilities making a request for a remote accessible vote-by-mail ballot will remain confidential. 

In confirming facilities to use as Vote Centers, there are a number of practical issues that made certain locations better suited to multi-day voting under the California Voter’s Choice Act. These include the availability of space, lack of conflicting events, security considerations including lockable storage space,  and others. On top of the much greater period of operation, including weekend hours, many facilities that served as polling places were unable to accommodate us.   

The opening hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. include weekends and the Memorial Day holiday.  On Election Day, all Vote Centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  The eight hour day (not the specific hours) comes from SB 450. 

Work is around the clock these days – people work early and late as well as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  People work 4 – 10 hour/day, some hold two jobs, etc. To accommodate these hours, in addition to some Vote Centers being open for 11 days in a row under SB 450,  the California Elections Code section 14001 requires employers to post a notice to employees advising them of provisions for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections.  

The target set for bilingual Vote Center Representatives is at least one Spanish and one Chinese speaking person in each vote center.  We are reviewing the information provided by the SOS on languages by precinct to determine other language needs.  We would welcome members of your organizations to apply to work at a Vote Center to assist with language needs. 

We are updating our security and continguency plans to reflect the voting model changes. 

We will offer a roving voter set-up in Pescadero and La Honda for a part of Election Day.  This will not have all the services of a Vote Center due to logistics.  We have added this information to the Voter Education & Outreach Plan. It will be publicized through a press release, our website, email to area partners, and area government/school/special district representatives. 

The Amended Draft EAP did not include page numbers on blank page, which were counted when numbering pages.  Blank pages had been removed from our PDF version and we will replace them with blank numbered pages. 
We were prepared to read any part of the Addenda in other languages in person or by phone, but we did not receive any requests.  Your letter is the second comment on the Addenda and languages. Both of these comments were received at the end of the comment period.

(112) Dear Mark, Thank you very much for the update and information.

My District Director, Ellen Kamei, was at an event at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation yesterday where she heard a presentation on San Mateo County’s upcoming efforts, and she came away very impressed. I’m looking forward to working with you and your office to make SMC’s participation in the VCA a huge success.

Best,
Marc
Assemblymember, District 24

(113) Hello Mark, Thank you for the information.

As the Assemblymember mentioned, I was at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Voter’s Choice Event Monday. I will also try to attend the meeting on the 18th. I will be working on census and voting matters so please feel free to reach out at any time.

Thanks so much,

Ellen Kamei, District Director for Assemblymember Marc Berman