California is a national leader in voter accessibility. The state’s new online voter registration system introduced last fall registered over 800-thousand new voters—30 percent of them were 30 years old or younger. These numbers may grow in the future since same day voter registration in California is expected to be in place by the next presidential election. So while some states are making it harder to vote, California is a leader in reaching out to get more people involved.
One statistic that is bothersome is the number of people who actually vote. California ranks near the bottom of states for voter participation. The people who run elections in the state’s 58 counties are working hard to improve the number of people who register and who vote.
Their organization, the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO) is playing a major role in the Future of California Elections which is attracting people who care deeply about democracy and improving participation in our elections.
The outgoing President of CACEO is Gail Pellerin, the Santa Cruz County Clerk/Registrar of Voters who believes that California is becoming a model state for participatory democracy.
But still she knows that much must be done, and that funding for programs that educate voters and improve turnout is critical.
The incoming CACEO President is Cathy Darling Allen of Shasta County. She agrees that there are many things that can be improved and reminds us that California 58 counties are diverse but not nearly all the same. So the importance of finding the right local solution for each county cannot be underestimated.
There are some things the state can do. One area, that Darling-Allen feels strongly about, is education. She thinks the schools can do better in teach our youngsters about government and about the importance of voting.