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, social media, and public access media to announce the implementation of the VCA. The campaign will promote the toll-free voter assistance hotline, inform voters how to obtain their ballot in an accessible format, and provide multilingual services and accessibility to persons with hearing disabilities.
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 will be identified through U.S. Census data and through the public input process, including input provided by the County’s LAAC.
Media partners, including non-English language media, are in the Addenda.
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.shapethefuture.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.
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.
ADDRESSING DISPARITIES IN PARTICIPATION
The County will provide information and training on request to coordinators and staff at agencies serving low-income voters and individuals with disabilities from agencies including, but 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.
A mobile Vote Center may be deployed to address geographically remote areas where a fixed site is not feasible.
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.
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/.