California Association of Clerks and Elections takes step into 21st century digital era

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(photo credit: Josh Berglund)

Back to the Future is not only a fantastic Michael Fox trilogy to come out of the 1980’s… it is the rally cry for the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO) who, by working together, are taking local government administration (including elections) boldly into the 21st century digital era.

CACEO’s annual meeting occurred today, next door to some of the internet and technology giants of the world’s headquarters – Redwood City. A fitting location for the work of clerks and registrars who come together once a year to share knowledge and expand their strategy for increasing access to government through voter registration efforts, social media implementation and language requirements.

Attendees heard from a number of key players on issues like Senator Jerry Hill regarding current levels of technology in the state, David Becker and Zachary Markovits from Pew Center on the states on the election performance index rating, and Greg Lavender of CitiBank on data security in the digital age.

The Future of California Elections (FOCE) collaboration was featured (of which CACEO and many individual registrars are active and expert participants with their boots-on-the-ground perspective of elections administration). FOCE Director Doug Chapin introduced FOCE Deputy Director Astrid Garcia (formerly with NALEO) who highlighted the various partnerships between advocates and registrars on topics like language access and voter registration.

CACEO President and Shasta County Registrar Cathy Allen Darling shared how the opportunity for stakeholders to come together had resulted in surprisingly helpful developments, such as California Voter Foundation Kim Alexander’s op-ed supporting the in increase funding for elections.

“If I had written that, no one would have read it – and it probably wouldn’t even have run. I am all for anyone who is willing to recognize and call for help for registrars from the state,” said Darling.

California Forward Leadership Council Co-Chair Lenny Mendonca spoke to the group about state initiative, economic, and realignment reform efforts. He highlighted the ways CA Fwd is already working to support counties in their administration of elections, stating that CA Fwd is “committed to a transparent and accessible system of elections and governance.”

Sacramento County Registrar and CACEO Legislative lead Jill Levine concurred with the California Forward Action Fund’s support of AB 1135 (Mullin) and SB 29 (Correa) which would both help registrars ensure Vote by Mail ballots are properly counted.

As the members – from Humboldt to Imperial – return to their respective counties, President Cathy Allen Darling boasted about the high energy, interest in current legislation, and highlights from the Pew Center presentation. CA Fwd is an enthusiastic partner and supporter of CACEO in their 105th year as we ride our hoverboards into a transparent and accessible elections future!  


John Guenther

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