Voter Education And Outreach Plan
The California Voter’s Choice Act (VCA) requires the County to develop a Voter Education and Outreach Plan that informs voters on all aspects of the VCA, including Vote Center and Ballot Drop-off locations, and information specific to voters with disabilities and non-English preference voters. Public meetings will be held with community organizations and individuals that advocate on behalf of or provide services to these groups. The County will hold multiple public education workshops, with translators available for Spanish, Chinese, Filipino and Korean language speakers. All public events hosted by the County will be ADA accessible.
The County worked with its Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC) and Language Accessibility Advisory Committee (LAAC) to develop the Voter Education and Outreach Plan, which will be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office for review and approval.
Similar to our community outreach and public awareness efforts in advance of the November 3, 2015 All-Mailed Ballot Election, the County will reach out to community organizations, agencies, schools and other groups to raise awareness of the new election model. This will be combined with a broad media campaign using direct mail, news media (including student newspapers), social media (such as Facebook and Twitter), and public access media to announce the implementation of the VCA. The campaign will promote the toll-free voter assistance hotline, 888-SMC-VOTE (888.762.8683), inform voters how to obtain their ballot in an accessible format, and provide multilingual services and accessibility to persons with hearing disabilities.
The Registration & Elections Division will reach out to organizations hosting community events and community organizations found in the Addenda. The community events and community partners list will evolve as new ones are added and/or changed.
The County will promote the SOS’s nonpartisan Democracy at Work program through social media. The Democracy at Work program provides the opportunity for businesses, government agencies and nonprofits to partner with the SOS to encourage greater civic participation through initiatives designed to increase voter registration and voter turnout among employees and the voting public.
The Registration & Elections Division has provided information about the new voting model to more than 200 Community Partners to assist in voter outreach. Election representatives are attending community events, making presentations to organizations, and training interested individuals and groups to assist with education and outreach. Upcoming community events, community partners, and city election official contacts can be found in the Addenda. These lists will evolve as new events and partners are added and/or changed. Additions are welcome to these lists. The list will be updated on www.smcacre.org.
The County has added college organizations, veterans and other advocacy groups to its list of community partners. Community partners may assist in simple ways such as placing a flyer in an office, including an article in an organizational newsletter or on a website, or have an Elections representative present information on the VCA to clients, members, and/or residents. Educational tools, including a presentation, flyer, and frequently asked questions, will be available to download from the County’s Election website or copies available from the Division’s Tower Road location. An online toolkit will include messages, graphics, and other resources which can be customized for various needs.
County representatives will continue to visit local high schools to register and pre-register students and educate them about the VCA election model. While colleges in the county will not be in regular session during the voting period for the June 5, 2018 Election, the Registration & Elections Division will provide information in advance to interested campus organizations.
INDIVIDUAL VOTER NETWORK
Outreach and education activities are not limited to organizations. Individual voters may serve as part of a support network to alert the Registration & Elections Division to barriers to voting and provide solutions to ensure widespread awareness to the new voting model. The Division is developing a contact form on its website for this purpose and will provide office contact information at Vote Centers to receive comments.
Voters attending County educational workshops will be offered badges to wear with a statement such as, “Ask me about San Mateo County’s Voter’s Choices – choosing when, where and how to vote.”
In the future, the Registration & Elections Division may create a Voter Participation Committee to focus on confronting barriers to voting and solutions to ensure widespread voter turnout.
NON-ENGLISH PREFERENCE VOTERS
As part of its outreach efforts, the County will continue and expand its outreach to voters who prefer to use a language other than English.
A news release, distributed to all media serving San Mateo County residents, will announce the toll-free voter assistance hotline, which will provide multilingual services. Additionally, advertisements in Spanish, Chinese, Filipino and Korean media will be purchased to promote the assistance hotline.
Vote Centers which require language assistance have been identified by the California Secretary of State through U.S. Census data. Additional identification will be through the public input process, including input provided by the County’s LAAC.
Media partners, including non-English language media, are in the Addenda. The County has incorporated additional media partners from public comments to the Draft EAP.
VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES
The County has a long-standing commitment to working with voters with disabilities to increase accessibility in the democratic process. The Registration & Elections Division website, www.smcacre.org, provides information and resources for voters with disabilities, including details on eSlate Disabled Access Units, the Accessible Vote by Mail System, the ADA Accessible requirements for Vote Centers and the VAAC. The County also provides information on these resources to convalescent hospitals, Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Vista Center for the Blind, Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities, San Francisco Independent Living Resource Center and Peninsula Volunteers – Meals on Wheels.
A press release, distributed to all media serving San Mateo County residents, will announce the toll-free voter assistance hotline, which will provide accessibility to persons with hearing disabilities.
Voters with disabilities may request the County to deliver a ballot to their home or have an electronic voting machine brought to their home. Voters with disabilities may also use their personal computer to download and mark their ballot through the Accessible Vote by Mail System. Vote Center staff may also bring a paper ballot replacement or the eSlate Disabled Access Unit to a car for curbside voting.
Most Vote Centers can be reached via Sam Trans, San Mateo County’s bus service. Persons with disabilities who cannot independently use regular SamTrans bus service, some or all of the time, have access to paratransit. The San Mateo County Transit District provides paratransit using Redi-Wheels on the bayside of the county and RediCoast on the coastside. Riders may call to reserve a trip from one to seven days in advance. The Registration & Elections Division is working with the Paratransit Coordinator to expand voting opportunities for serving persons with disabilities.
A voter with disabilities may contact the Registration & Elections Division to arrange and pay for transportation services to provide a round-trip ride (within the county) if they are unable to reserve a trip through paratransit to the closest Vote Center.
ADDRESSING DISPARITIES IN PARTICIPATION
Citizens may register to vote online directly at registertovote.ca.gov or can access the state voter registration website through a link from the County Elections’ website, www.smcacre.org. Citizens may pick up a voter registration form at the Registration & Elections Division, City Halls, libraries and post offices throughout the County. County agencies serving low-income households and individuals with disabilities provide voter registration forms to their clients. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Secretary of State are working to establish a new California Motor Voter Program as defined by AB 1461. This new program, during DMV transactions, will automatically register any person who is qualified to vote unless that person opts out of registration. This is expected to begin in April 2018. Also, the Registration & Elections Division will mail a registration form upon request.
The Secretary of State provides National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) resources and training to County agencies serving low-income residents and individuals with disabilities. These agencies include, but are not limited to: CalFresh CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), In-Home Supportive Services, Covered California, California’s health benefit exchange, Department of Rehabilitation-Vocational Services, Independent Living Centers, Department of Developmental Services Regional Centers, Offices contracting with the Office of Deaf Access, State and County mental and behavioral health departments, and private practitioners providing services under contract with those departments. The County will provide additional information and training on request to coordinators and staff at agencies.
The draft EAP included six of eight core service agencies providing safety net services to San Mateo County residents (Coastside Hope, El Concilio of San Mateo County, Fair Oaks Community Center, Pacifica Resource Center, Puente de la Costa Sur, and Samaritan House). The amended draft EAP adds the Daly City Community Service Center and YMCA Community Resource Center.
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.
The San Mateo County Transit District offers free community shuttles in Brisbane, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, San Carlos, San Mateo and South San Francisco. As part of the Get Up & Go program, the Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC) operates a low-cost door-to-door, wheelchair-accessible bus and car service for older adults who do not drive. Community members can use the online searchable database www.onecalloneclick.org, maintained by the nonprofit OUTREACH, to locate services and chat with a live person or call OUTREACH Mobility Managers at 408-436-2865 for one-on-one service.
A Roving Voting set-up will be deployed to Pescadero and La Honda to address geographically remote areas where a fixed site is not needed for the small population. This will not be a full-fledged Vote Center due to logistics. The Registration & Elections Division will provide additional information on the capabilities in a press release and on our website.
DIRECT VOTER CONTACTS
Direct contact from the County to voters was the most effective method to inform voters about the November 3, 2015 All-Mailed Ballot Election.
Three postcards are planned to inform voters of the new election model, in addition to information in the Sample Ballot & Official Voter Information Pamphlet and the Vote by Mail Ballot. The first mailing will inform all registered voters of the new voting model. The second mailing will be to voters who have not previously received their ballot by mail to alert them to the upcoming ballot mailing and provide Vote Center information. The third mailing, in the final days before the election, will be to voters who have not mailed in their ballot to remind them to do so, providing information on obtaining a replacement ballot and on Vote Center locations.
Examples of postcards from the November 3, 2015 All-Mailed Ballot Election are included in the Addenda to the Plan.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS
A Public Service Announcement (PSA) script for TV will be distributed with the request for visuals or closed-captioning for voters who are deaf or hard of hearing. A radio script will include a request to stations to post the information on their companion websites to assist in reaching those voters.
Artwork will be available from the County for print and online PSAs, and for government and community partners to use in their social media and newsletters. Print PSAs will be accompanied by a request to post the announcement on any affiliated websites with audio for the blind and visually impaired.
The County will provide Spanish, Chinese, Filipino and Korean language media outlets serving San Mateo County with scripts for PSAs. The scripts will inform voters of the upcoming election and promote the toll-free voter assistance hotline. Artwork will also be available.
The June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election has been allocated $241,000 for voter education and outreach. Additionally, the Registration & Elections Division will provide in-house support for the preparation of graphic and outreach materials, public presentations and community outreach events.
The budget will allow the purchase of advertisements in newspapers, television, radio and social media. A portion of these funds will be allocated to language translation and braille production. The outreach budget does not include printing and postage costs for direct mailings to registered voters. Additional funds in the amount of $200,000 will need to be added to the June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election budget for this purpose.
In addition, The Voter’s Choice California coalition has offered grants to community-based organizations to enlist their support in VCA outreach programs. Information regarding the Voter’s Choice California coalition and their grant programs may be obtained at https://voterschoice.org/