Working group examines future of California elections
"Roadmap” highlights opportunities for policymaking, partnership and innovation
Late last year, a working group of California election officials, advocates and experts came together to talk about the future of elections in the Golden State. The shared goal was to step back from the day-to-day, election-to-election concerns that often consume the debate and take a long view on behalf of the state’s current and future voters.
Convened with the support of the James Irvine Foundation through its California Democracy Program, the group met in person in Los Angeles, Mountain View and Sacramento to share ideas about the current state of elections in California, to identify needed reforms and opportunities for growth, and commit to working toward concrete solutions in various areas of the voting and election process. [Disclosure: I served as a consultant to the Working Group, serving as facilitator.]
In December 2011, the Working Group released a Roadmap for the Future of California Elections. While acknowledging that the Roadmap does not necessarily “reflect all conceivable solutions, all priorities of each participant or the endorsement of every participant” the Working Group did unanimously set forth 10 “guiding principles” for reform:
The policies and practices that govern California’s elections — and the institutions and individuals responsible for administering them — should:
These principles are followed by more concrete policy goals in four general areas: voter registration and education, voting technology, voting options and election administration.
Participants were enthusiastic both about the process and the outcome.
On the Verified Voting blog, Pam Smith said, ”it turned out to be an extraordinary conversation and a process which could very well serve as a model for other states as well … The participants included a diverse range of representatives with a concern for voters and not-yet voters, for elections and how they function, and for California’s democracy.”
Using these goals as a backdrop, the Working Group will continue its activities in 2012 and will be engaging public, private and non-profit sector partners to work toward the goals set forth in the Roadmap.
The full Roadmap can be found online here.