The California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP)
at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change
Engage! 
CCEP Newsletter
November 22, 2016


Dear CCEP colleagues, partners and friends:

As we process and begin to move forward following the presidential election, many Americans are still feeling distressed over the polarization of the nation. Voter turnout data show us that the president-elect was not chosen by half the country; only about a quarter of all Americans eligible to vote chose Trump. Putting aside partisanship, a less than fully participating electorate does not make a strong democracy, particularly when we know that those who voted do not fully represent the diversity of this country.

Now more than ever, there is an urgency to work for the inclusion of all Americans in our democratic and civic structures. Lack of participation has real consequences, not just at the presidential level but also in state and local outcomes.

While remaining steadfast in our support for the political rights of unrepresented groups and against a racialized discourse, we must all work together to address the concerns of the many disaffected voters in this country and offer them credible alternatives to policies of exclusion. We must begin to listen to each other and find common ground where possible. Marginalizing and dismissing those with whom we do not agree results in growing resentment and frustration, as we saw on November 8th.

The CCEP is committed to conducting research that helps inform the realization of a fully representative system of governance. And we stand with our partners in an unwavering commitment against the possible dismantling of programs and policies for equity.  

We look forward to serving alongside all of you as we, together, meet the challenge before us. 

In partnership,  

Mindy Romero, Ph.D.
CCEP Director

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California Community Engagement Spotlight
Yolo Teens Learn About Elections

The Yolo County Elections office hosted a Presidential Elections Bash on the night of the election to give area teens a peek behind the scenes at how the elections process works.  The Woodland Public Library, the Yolo County Office of Education and the League of Women Voters all collaborated to produce the event, but members of the Woodland Teen Advisory Board (pictured) took the lead on planning and promoting the event for their peers. 

"We wanted to be able to have something to celebrate and to show the youth you can learn firsthand how it really works," said Yolo County Registrar Jesse Salinas. About 75 young people attended the inaugural event.  Read all about it in the Davis Enterprise.
Featured Events
Spotlight on California Event 11/30

California Common Cause is hosting a post-election roundup discussion and reception on Wednesday, November 30th at the UC Berkeley School of Law. The purpose is to recognize and celebrate the successes that Common Cause and their partners have achieved this year. 

Speakers include Senate Elections Committee Chair Ben Allen, Common Cause National President Karen Hobert Flynn and California Common Cause Executive Director Kathay Feng.  

Click Here for tickets and additional information. 
Northern California Grantmakers Post Election Special Event 11/30 in S.F.

Next Wednesday November 30th in San Francisco, Northern California Grantmakers is hosting a post-election debrief.  The event will begin at 10:30 AM with a community conversation about what the election means to each of us personally, for the people on your team, and for the communities with whom you work. This will be followed by a noon webinar and then a panel discussion from 1:15 until 2:30.  Panelists Karen Hobert Flynn (President, Common Cause), Anne Johnson (Managing Principal, Grassroots Solutions) and CCEP Director Mindy Romero will explore voter turnout and behavior among key voting blocks, moneyed interests, electoral reforms and other democratic trends in California and nationally. 

This program is open to members of both Northern California Grantmakers and Bay Area Democracy Funders Group. If you are not an NCG member, contact the Registrar at registrar@ncg.org.
California Leadership Forum 12/6 in Sacramento

The Governing California Leadership Forum will take place on Tuesday, December 6th in Sacramento.   Now in its sixth year, the California Leadership Forum convenes thought leaders from state and local government across the Golden State. Join us to meet colleagues, be inspired, and leave with a renewed commitment and new ideas for providing the best service to your community and constituents. 

CCEP Director Mindy Romero will be one of the featured panelists at the Leadership Forum for an 11 AM session titled,  Demographic Shifts and What They Mean for Our Economy, Politics, and Society

Click here to learn more and to register for this free day long learning and networking opportunity. 
California Civic Engagement News
Future of California Elections Launches Voter's Choice California 

With the recent enactment of the California Voter's Choice Act (VCA), Senate Bill 450 of 2016, Future of California Elections has begun organizing a statewide collaboration of election reform and voter engagement organizations to help prepare voters for significant changes to their election system. The new network will be known as Voter's Choice California (coming soon to voterschoice.org). Fourteen California counties are authorized to migrate to the new system as early as June 2018, with the remaining counties having the option to make the change in 2020.
 
Secretary of State Alex Padilla sponsored the new law, which creates a new opt-in model for how elections will be conducted in California.  In counties that choose to adopt the vote center model, all registered voters will be mailed a ballot 28 days before the election. Voters will have the option to return their ballot by mail, take it to a drop-off location, or cast it in-person at any vote center in their county. SB 450 will also expand early voting, allowing voters to cast a vote in person at a vote center or receive assistance during the 10 days leading up to Election Day. The bill was jointly authored by Senators Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys).
 
For more information about Voter's Choice California, contact Future of California Elections at info@futureofcaelections.org.
Looking Ahead to the 2018 
California Governor Race

Now that the 2016 election is behind us, it is time to start thinking about the 2018 election and who will replace Jerry Brown and become California's next Governor.  An article in last week's LA Times takes a look at who is already running, and who other potential candidates may be.  
National Civic Engagement News
Voters Faced Myriad Obstacles to Casting a Ballot in the 2016 Presidential Election

Problems at the polls are nothing new, and this recent election was no exception. Fourteen states passed laws to restrict voting since the last election. This fact combined with long lines at the polls in some areas, outdated voting machines, and fear of voter intimidation may have negatively impacted nation-wide voter turnout.  While it is still to early to get a complete picture of how many voters were disenfranchised in 2016, a new report from the Brennan Center gives a comprehensive look at challenges that prospective voters had to face.  

The New York Times has created a throwback video game that you can play to explore the impacts of voter suppression efforts on the 2016 election. 
Federal Court Rules Wisconsin Partisan Redistricting Illegal 

Yesterday a panel of three federal judges ruled that the Wisconsin Legislature's 2011 redistricting of State Assembly districts is illegally partisan. The case will now be heard by the Supreme Court, where it could set an important legal precedent that could impact the next round of state redistricting in 2021 for congressional and state elections across the country.

Partisan gerrymandering is the drawing of electoral districts for partisan or individual gain. This ruling is a victory for those who feel that this practice is detrimental to our democracy and a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

Read more in the Washington Post. 
Barbara Boxer Takes Aim at the Electoral College

Retiring California Senator Barbara Boxer filed long-shot legislation the week following the general election to abolish the Electoral College.  While Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump in total votes, Trump won the most electors in the Electoral College system to become the president-elect. 

2016 marks only the fifth time that a presidential candidate has won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College.  The last time was in 2000, when Al Gore Beat George W. Bush by over half a million votes nationally but lost to Bush after the disputed Florida recount.  The three other occasions were the elections of 1888, 1876 and 1824.

The Electoral College system allows states with smaller populations to have a meaningful say in elections. However, this system gives voters in low population states like Alaska and Montana more political influence than voters in populous states like California.

If the bill amending the constitution to end the electoral college system were to be approved by Congress, it would have to be ratified by three fourths of the states within seven years to become law. Similar legislation introduced in the past failed to gather enough support to gain any momentum.  
Facebook Under Fire for Fake News

Facebook is facing criticism following the election for the spread of false news stories on their platform that could have misinformed voters. CEO Mark Zukerberg initially played down the role that false news stories played in shaping the public narrative around the election, saying that only around 1% of news stories on the site are fake. Nonetheless, early last week the company blocked fake-news sites from buying advertising.  Later in the week, Zukerberg announced additional steps that the company will be taking to address the issue.  
Past Events
Dr. Romero and Assembly Member Susan Eggman Discuss Youth Civic Engagement with Lincoln High School Students in Stockton


Students at Lincoln High School in Stockton had an opportunity to learn about the importance of youth civic engagement last week. This event came to be after a teacher at the school, Mrs. King, showed her class a video of Dr. Romero's " Power of the Youth Vote" TEDx talk, and her students were interested in learning more. Mrs. King invited Dr. Romero to come speak to her students in person. Assembly Member Susan Eggman, who represents that district and chairs the Assembly Select Committee on Civic Engagement, also joined to speak with the students. The result was a very inspirational assembly encouraging the teens to take an active role in improving their community by encouraging civic participation. Creative teachers like Mrs. King who seek out innovative ways to engage young people in elections are making a difference for our state.  Lincoln students are becoming more politically aware and active, and they are ready to make their voices heard in the next election.
CCEP Advisory Committee Spotlight
CCEP Advisory Board Member's App Forshadowed Trump's Surprising Victory

The polls famously and spectacularly got it wrong on the 2016 presidential election. Nobody foresaw Trump's surprising victories in key swing states.  Well, almost nobody.  CCEP advisory board member Matt Mahon designed an App called Brigade that successfully prognosticated the outcome. 

Brigade is a startup that bills itself as the world's first network for voters.  It asks users who they plan to vote for.  Brigade collected data from nearly 200,000 people, and the results were surprising. Among registered voters on Brigade, Mahon reports that 94.5% of Republicans pledged to vote for Trump, while only 55% of Democrats pledged to vote for Clinton. Even more surprising, most of the Democratic voters crossing over to vote for Trump were women, according to the app.  While this result was thought to be the result of a user-base that skewed conservative, in the end it appeared that Brigade's data foreshadowed the outcome in key battleground states where Trump outperformed other predictions, according to National Public Radio.


CCEP Outreach: In the Media
CCEP Director Featured in NY Times California Election Coverage

CCEP Director Mindy Romero's election analysis was featured in the New York Times California Today column on Election Day (related to the role of fear in motivating voters) and again the following day on the political diversity that exists in the Golden State

CCEP Data on Latino Voter Turnout Cited in LA Times

An election day article in the Los Angeles Times predicting record Latino turnout for California's 2016 general election cited CCEP data on Latino voter turnout in the 2016 primary election.  Twenty percent of voters participating in California's last primary were Latino.  Final data from the recent general election are not yet available, as Vote-by-Mail and provisional ballots are still being counted. 
"VotaVan" Helps Get Rural California Voters to the Polls 

An election day article in the Riverside County newspaper the Press-Enterprise featured CCEP data and analysis of the Latino Vote in California. The article describes an effort to remove obstacles to voting for residents of rural inland farming communities by providing group rides to voters. 
Dr. Romero on Impacts of District Based Elections

A post-election story in the Sacramento Bee on the Woodland City Council's first ever Latino majority features expert analysis from Dr. Romero on the impacts of switching to district-based elections.  

KPCC Examines Voter Turnout in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles Public Radio station KPCC asked CCEP Director Mindy Romero to share her early analysis of voter turnout across the state and in the LA region the day following the election. Results from the November election won't be final and certified by the California Secretary of State until December 16th. Over one million ballots remained to be counted in Los Angeles County as of November 9th. 
Post Election Op-Eds
Mindy Romero Pens Op-Eds Following Surprising Election

In the wake of the surprising election results, Mindy Romero penned two Op-Ed pieces in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee about the importance of a strong a representative electorate and the role that Latino voters played in the election. 

While the CCEP remains steadfast in our commitment to a nonpartisan stance and to provide an unbiased source of information, Dr. Romero felt moved to share her personal take on the available election results.
Internship/ Volunteer Opportunity
Mi Familia Vota Seeking Youth Leaders and Adult Volunteers

Mi Familia Vota registered over 90,000 citizens to vote over the past year leading up to the general election, nearly 9,500 of those in California.  Now that the election is over, Mi Familia Vota will continue to register voters, provide citizenship assistance, and work to ensure that Latino communities are staying engaged and are fairly represented.

Mi Familia Vota is currently recruiting students for it's Youth Leadership and Civic Engagement program.  This program is designed to encourage youth to become more engaged in the political process by working on the issues they care about and meeting their local elected officials .  The next YLCEP program will be conducted from January-June 2017. Please contact the CA State Director Samuel Molina if you are interested in the program (559) 473-6096 or via e-mail  Samuelm@mifamiliavota.org .  

If you are interested in volunteering with Mi Familia Vota, they would love to have you join them! Volunteer  here  for future events and learn about how you can make a difference. Follow Mi Familia Vota on Facebook/Twitter @MiFamiliaVotaCA .
Share Your Civic Engagement Story with the CCEP

UC Davis California Civic Engagement Project

CCEP Advisory Committee

Kim Alexander
President and Founder  
California Voter Foundation 

Matt A. Barreto
Professor, Dept. of Political Science
Professor, Dept. of Chicana/o Studies
University of California, Los Angeles


Jonathan Fox
Professor, 
School of International Service
American University  
 
Luis R. Fraga 
Arthur Foundation Endowed Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership
Professor of Political Science University of Notre Dame
Lisa Garcia Bedolla
Chancellor's Professor of Education and Political Science
University of California, Berkeley
Bruce Haynes
Associate Professor, Dept. of Sociology University of California, Davis
Jongho Lee
Professor
Dept. of Political Science
Western Illinois University  

Peter Levine 
Associate Dean for Research and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs,  Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University
Matt Mahan
Cofounder and CEO
Brigade


James Muldavin
Executive Director
California Center for Civic Participation and Youth Development
Karthick Ramakrishnan
Professor of Public Policy
University of California, Riverside
Ricardo Ramirez
Associate Professor, Dept. of Political Science
University of Notre Dame

J ason Reece
Assistant Professor of Land Use Planning and Law
The Ohio State University
Cruz Reynoso
Professor of Law Emeritus
University of California, Davis
Dan Schnur
Director
Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics
University of Southern California
 Shakari Byerly
 Partner and Lead Researcher
 EVITARUS

California Civic Engagement Project
UC Davis Center for Regional Change
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