The California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP)
at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change
Engage! 
CCEP Newsletter
October 17, 2016

Welcome to the October issue of Engage!  This month the CCEP is celebrating our 4th anniversary.  To mark the occasion we are about to unveil a new, easier to use website- stay tuned for the official launch later this week.  

Vote-by-mail ballots were sent out last week to California residents who registered to receive them.  With the general election less than a month away, we want to encourage you to make sure your voter registration is up to date.  October 24th is the deadline to register or update your voter information if you live in California.  Need some help navigating all the ballot propositions and candidate choices?  Check out the Voter's Edge nonpartisan online voters guide from the League of Women Voters and Maplight, and the Secretary of State's newly launched "Quick Guide to Props".  If you experience any problems with casting your vote, call 866-OUR-VOTE to share your experience with the nonpartisan election protection coalition.

In this edition of the CCEP newsletter, we share two new fact sheets released by the CCEP showing higher youth and Latino turnout in the 2016 California primary election, news about the launch of VoteCal; a new statewide centralized voter registration system, new legislation allowing some felons to vote in jail, record voter registration numbers for California,  a new music video about our  17 ballot propositions, a look at how tech companies are helping to increase civic participation nationwide, upcoming events and much more. 

Thank you for reading, and please note you are invited to share your civic engagement success stories with us via the email link at the bottom of this newsletter.  We would love to hear what is happening in your community related to inclusive civic engagement!
 
Mindy Romero, Ph.D.
CCEP Director

                                                                                      The CCEP is now on Twitter.  Follow us!   Follow us on Twitter
California Civic Engagement News

New CCEP Research!
Latino and Young Voters Voted in Higher Numbers in 2016 California Primary Election

The CCEP released two new fact sheets last week analyzing voter turnout in the June 2016 California primary election.  The data  show young and Latino voters in the state turned out in relatively high numbers for the June presidential primary election, significantly narrowing the participation gap for these historically underrepresented groups.

Approximately one third of registered voters aged 18-24 voted in 2016 primary, up 23 percentage points from 2012.  Youth comprised 7.5% of all voters in the primary.  The data also reveals a notable upswing in voting among California's Latino population. More than one in five voters casting a ballot in the 2016 California primary election were Latino. 

Click  here  for the CCEP Fact Sheet: California's Youth Vote: June 2016 Primary Election

Click  here  for the CCEP Fact Sheet: California's Latino and Asian-American Vote: June 2016 Primary Election

Click here for the press release!

Governor Brown Signs Bill Allowing Felons to Vote in Jail

 
Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2466 late last month, a bill which  restores the voting rights of convicted felons serving time in county jails.

This legislation also reinstates the voting eligibility of felons on probation or under community supervision beginning next year. It does not affect those in state or federal prisons.

The bill stems from California's criminal justice realignment, which led to some people convicted of low-level felonies serving time in county jails.

"Civic participation can be a critical part of reducing recidivism," said Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego.  Opposing legislators had argued that the bill would compromise the integrity of elections.  

Record Number of Voters Registered in California

Almost 1 million new voters have registered in California since 2012, according to a report issued last month by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.  A record 18.2 million people in the state are now registered voters, a number that continues to grow.

California now has more registered voters than the population of 46 states.  More than 370,000 Californians registered to vote or updated their registration in the final week of September alone, thanks in part to the efforts of social media and search engine companies.  

For more information, see the story in the Los Angeles Times

"VoteCal" Statewide Voter Registration Database Goes Live

For the first time, California now has a centralized voter registration database connecting all 58 counties with the Secretary of State's Office.  

"VoteCal modernizes the California voter experience," Secretary of State Padilla said. "VoteCal allows elections officials to continue improving the voter experience in future elections.   This project is over a decade in the making, but it will pay dividends for California voters for years to come." 

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 has required all states to implement a single, uniform, centralized, computerized statewide voter registration system. VoteCal finally fulfills that requirement.

At the new "My Voter Status" website, California citizens can register or check their registration status, find their polling place, opt-out of being mailed the state Voter Information Guide, and, beginning with the November 8, 2016 General Election,  check if their vote-by-mail or provisional ballot was counted by their county elections official and, if it was not, why not.  

VoteCal will make same day voter registration possible in California.  Beginning in 2017, elections officials will offer Californians the opportunity to register to vote on Election Day in their county office and at satellite locations.

The certification of VoteCal will also allow 
16- and 17-year-olds to "pre-register" to vote. These voter registrations will become active once the citizen has turned 18.   Sixteen- and 17-year-olds seeking to pre-register will initially be limited to using paper forms. Online pre-registration will be enabled after the November 8, 2016 General Election.

 
New "Proposition Song" Music Video Released
 
Earlier this month, the California Voter Foundation released a new "Proposition Song" music video, designed to give Californians  a quick, informative, impartial and entertaining overview of all 17 measures on the November 8th ballot. 

The "Proposition Song" reviews all 17 measures on California's statewide ballot in less than five minutes, helping voters sort out the measures by topic. Each proposition is described in rhyme, and the lyrics are captioned in the video to encourage viewers to sing along. CVF does not take positions on propositions, making the song a reliably impartial and unbiased voter information tool.

Accompanying the new song, CVF also released its new California Online Voter Guideproviding voters with easy online access to information about all California state and federal contests. 
 
"This ballot has something for everyone," said CVF president and founder Kim Alexander, noting that propositions cover topics including drugs, guns, the death penalty, taxes, campaign finance reform and the adult film industry. "Our "Proposition Song" and voter guide are designed to help busy people quickly access reliable and timely information needed to make informed voting choices."
Success Story
 
UC Davis Student Groups Team Up to Register their Peers
 
With the deadline to register to vote quickly approaching, student organizations  at UC Davis are coming together to help register their peers. ASUCD, CALPIRG, STEP, and other student groups are teaming up to put on a  three day voter registration event this Tuesday-Thursday October 18-20.  In addition to  the chance to register to vote and have any questions answered, students can expect bouncy houses on the quad, an appearance by Aggie mascot Gunrock, and free voting related giveaways. Voter registration tables  will be set up on the quad , outside dining halls and out front of academic buildings throughout the week to make sure every UC Davis student is #RegisteredandReady! Check out the CalPIRG Students UC Davis website for more information.
National Civic Engagement News
 
Tech Companies Helping to Register Voters
 
Silicon Valley Tech companies are helping to increase voter registration numbers across the nation.  In recognition of National Voter Registration Day on September 27th, the social media platforms Facebook,  Instagram, Snapchat and other social media networks began reminding users over the age of 18 to register to vote. Users on Facebook were directed to a federal website that would then direct them to sites in their home states.  Twitter followed suit with a similar voter registration tool soon after. 

More recently, Google began running a pop-up ad encouraging U.S. users who visit their website to get registered to vote.  That is a lot of users; the tech giant receives more than 10 billion searches per month.  The ad doesn't appear with every search query, but it will, on occasion, pop up and remain in the bottom-right corner of the home page. The ad's text reads "Make sure you're ready to vote" and offers a link to "Register now." 

 
"Your Vote is Your Voice" Documentary on Willie Velasquez Airs on PBS
 
With his rallying cry of "SU VOTO ES SU VOZ," - your vote is your voice - Willie Velásquez started a grassroots movement that would change the nation's political landscape and pave the way for the growing power of the Latino Vote.

Willie registered Latino voters and changed systemic barriers that blocked and diluted the Latino vote. Thanks in great part to Willie's work through the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, the Latino Vote is an important voting bloc in American politics.

"Your Vote is Your Voice," a new documentary about WIllie's life and impact, debuted earlier this month.  The documentary is available to watch online  now through your local PBS affiliate. 
 
The Fight to Vote in 2016
 
Multiple factors are causing concern among election experts and advocates as we approach the November 8th General Election.  In the wake of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act, 14 states have new voting and registration rules in place for this election .  Legal challenges have led to a multitude of recent court rulings that have blocked or struck down some provisions and upheld or reinstated others, leading to the possibility of voter confusion. 

In addition, one of the major party candidates has begun enlisting poll watchers to ensure that the election is not "stolen."  This has led to concerns about possible voter intimidation at the polls.  The situation is nicely summarized in this brief video just released by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School.  
Featured Events
Free Public Forum on Civic Engagement and Civility in Public Space

Saving California Communities is hosting a free public forum on Civic Engagement and Civility in Public Space in Davis on Monday, October 17th. Speakers include Joan Blades from MoveOn.org and Living Room Conversations, Rev. Kristen Stoneking of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and Dr. Mindy Romero of CCEP. The event will be held from 7 until 8:30 PM at the University Retirement Community Auditorium, 1515 Shasta Drive in Davis.  

For More Info contact info@savingca.org or 530-304-6360
2016 Election Post-Mortem Conference in Sacramento

Capitol Weekly and the UC Center are hosting a one day conference titled A Post-Mortem of the 2016 Election on Thursday, November 10th in Sacramento.  The event will be held from 9 AM until 3:30 PM at 1123 J St. Immediately following the conference will be a welcome reception for new legislators, which is free to all conference attendees. This will be the first time that California's new legislature will be convening for an event.

Speakers include George Skelton (LA Times), Debra Saunders (SF Chronicle), Mike Madrid (Grassroots Lab), Cynthia Bryant (California Republican Party), Jim Miller and Amy Chance (Sacramento Bee), and CCEP Director Mindy Romero. 

For Registration information contact Kathy Brown at (916) 444-7665 or kathy.brown@capitolweekly.net. 
Past Events
 Mindy Romero Guest Hosts Politics on Tap (Video)

CCEP Director Mindy Romero filled in for John Howard as host of Capitol Weekly's Politics on Tap program on September 27th.  Dr. Romero spoke with Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation and Mike Madrid of Grassroots Labs about factors that limit voter choices in elections.  Check out the video of their discussion here
Voto Latino Power Summit Pop-Up

Voto Latino is hosted an inspirational one day conference last Saturday, October 15th at the California Endowment offices in Sacramento. The event included panel discussions, workshops,and networking events designed to give participants the tools to empower their communities.  

CCEP Director Mindy Romero was featured as a speaker on the closing plenary, discussing the Millennial vote and best practices for engaging young people through mixed media.  More than 100 young leaders attended.



For more information, visit www.vlpowersummit.com
Dr. Romero Presents Research at Harvard University Center for Governmental and International Studies

Dr. Romero was a featured speaker at an expert witness training on September 14th organized by the Voting Rights Institute at the Harvard University Center for Governmental and International Studies.  She presented CCEP research related to how demographic changes are affecting political representation in the U.S.  
Election Resources
Share "The Power of the Youth Vote" with a Young Person Today

CCEP Director Mindy Romero gave a Tedx talk titled, " The Power of the Youth Vote" at the UC Davis Mondavi center this past May. This talk has since been shown in classrooms around the country as a way to inspire more young people to get out and vote this November.  With the election and registration deadline fast approaching, we wanted to remind you of this resource and encourage you to share it with some young people in your life. #BeTheSpark
Future of California Elections Provides Resources for Voters

The Future of California Elections' Election 2016 resource page provides a variety of useful voter education materials, voter outreach tools, information for voters with disabilities and limited English proficient voters, as well as tips for voters with a criminal conviction.

Also on the Future of California Elections website is the "Voter Experience Index." The Voter Experience Index is a compilation of research, toolkits, and "how-to" guides produced by members and partners of Future of California Elections. You will find best practices to support California's diverse electorate before and through Election Day.

CCEP Outreach: In the Media
New CCEP Research on 2016 Primary 

New research from the CCEP on voting trends in the 2016 California Primary election is generating news coverage from multiple media outlets.   A brief LA Times story on the increase in Latino voter turnout was published this week, and a more in-depth story is forthcoming. The growing role of Latino voters in California was also covered by Univision in a Spanish language television evening news segment.  T he nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism website Cal Matters also published a story highlighting the two new CCEP Fact Sheets released last week.
Mindy Romero Pens Op-Ed for LA Times

Dr. Romero published an Op-Ed piece in the LA Times late last month titled, " How Latino Voters and Legislators are Changing California Politics."  The article explores how the growing influence of Latinos and the range of their political positions are influencing political decisions statewide. With Latinos projected to make up 45% of the state's population and 38% of voters by 2040, Romero projects that they  will exert an ever-growing influence on the state's policy landscape and the Democratic party's agenda.
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
Director of Research
Kirwan Institute

Cruz Reynoso
Professor of Law Emeritus
University of California, Davis
Dan Schnur
Director
Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics
University of Southern California

California Civic Engagement Project
UC Davis Center for Regional Change
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