The California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP)
at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change
CCEP Newsletter
July 11, 2016

Thanks for staying engaged with Engage!

California's June 7 primary election results will be certified this week by the Secretary of State. This election was confusing for many voters, as discussed by the Los Angeles Times, and offered some opportunities for learning and improvement. While initial results suggested relatively low voter turnout, unusually large numbers of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots that were eventually counted brought the unofficial total turnout numbers up to 47% of registered and 34% of eligible voters.  Although still short of the 39.5% eligible turnout rate we saw in the 2008 presidential primary, this was an upward trend from the low levels of participation in the 2012 primary.

In this month's CCEP newsletter, we share upcoming events, a recording of our June online voter registration webinar, a Washington Post blog co-authored by Mindy Romero on the new California Motor Voter Law, a new report on Participatory Budgeting from our colleagues at Public Agenda, an update on ballot propositions that California voters will weigh in on this November and more!

Thank you for reading, and please note you can now share this newsletter on your favorite social media platform using the buttons above our logo at the top! 
Mindy Romero, Ph.D.
CCEP Director

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New CCEP Publications
CCEP Director Mindy Romero Publishes Blog on Impacts of The New Motor Voter Act
A new Washington Post blog published July 11 by CCEP Director Mindy Romero and Eric McGhee of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) t akes a look at how California's new Motor Voter Law could impact our state's electorate. The blog highlights findings from a new PPIC report, co-authored by Eric McGhee and Mindy Romero.

California Election News

Large Number of Policy Questions on November Ballot

California Voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on a range of state-wide policy questions this November, with 17 propositions on the ballot. This is the largest number of propositions that California voters have had to consider since 2000, when 20 measures qualified for a public vote. Due to low voter turnout in the 2014 general election, we saw a relatively large number of citizen-initiated initiatives submitted this cycle (the number of required signatures is tied to the statewide voter turnout from the previous election).  California is one of 24 states (plus the District of Columbia) that allows direct democracy via ballot initiatives.

Among the 17 ballot initiatives up for California voters to decide on are some high profile issues, including legalizing recreational marijuana, repealing or speeding up the death penalty, a guns and ammunition control measure, a referendum to overturn the statewide ban on single-use plastic bags and a $2/ pack tax on cigarettes and e-cigarettes. To learn more about all the measures on the November Ballot, read this recent article from the Los Angeles Times.

With so many policy questions to weigh in on, California voters will need to take some time to educate themselves in order to make informed choices. The California Secretary of State publishes an official Voter Information Guide that includes arguments for and against each proposition.  If you would like to submit an argument of 500 words or less to be considered for this guide, send it to by July 12th at 5 P.M. The League of Women Voters also offers a non-partisan voter guide  that includes ballot initiatives. 

Featured Events
Primary Voting Experience Public Forum
July 13, 2016
Pasadena, California

Pasadena public radio station KPCC is hosting a forum for voters on Wednesday, July 13 from 7:30-9 P.M. at the Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena. Voters are invited to share their California Primary voting experiences with a panel of experts as well as their ideas on how to make voting better.  Panelists include Kim Alexander, President & Founder of the California Voter Foundation, Maria de la Luz Garcia, Long Beach City Clerk, Neal Kelley, Orange County Registrar, and Dean Logan, Los Angeles County Registrar/County Clerk.

The event is free but registration is required. RSVP and learn more at the  event web page

Online Voter Registration Webinar Recording Now Available 

Did you miss the  June 23 CCEP webinar   Online Voter Registration: Expanding Access to California's Electoral Process ? Or perhaps you tuned in late and wanted to see what you missed. Now you can   watch and listen to a recording   when it is convenient. To read the  CCEP's Online Voter Registration policy brief released last month, click here . Presented with funding from the James Irvine Foundation. 

Millenials and the Future of Work in the Golden State
Thursday July 21 - Friday July 22, 2016
U.C. Berkeley Student Union

Join the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley for a free, two-day leadership summit. They are bringing together young California leaders from all over the state to talk about our generation's vision for a better future in the Golden State. CCEP Director Mindy Romero will be a featured speaker on Friday afternoon. This event is free and lunch will be provided. To register and learn more click here
Noteworthy Civic Engagement Publications

Public Agenda Releases Analysis of Participatory Budgeting in the U.S. and Canada

Public Agenda recently released the first-ever comprehensive analysis of participatory budgeting in the U.S. and Canada. Participatory budgeting (PB) is one of the fastest growing forms of public engagement in local governance. Public Agenda's report demonstrates that PB holds great promise for deepening public participation in communities around the country. But PB is not one-size-fits-all, and some communities are doing a better job than others when it comes to outcomes like diverse participation. 

The report, " Public Spending, By the People: Participatory Budgeting in the United States and Canada in 2014-15 ," details how communities are doing PB, who is participating, and what projects get funded. Some key findings include:
  • U.S. and Canadian residents spent $50 million through PB in 2014-15, with over 70,000 residents voting in that time period 
  • On average, cities and districts allocated $1 million to PB, but that ranged from $61k to $3.4 million.
  • Some communities lag far behind in their representation of lower-income and less educated residents. The report provides demographic data on participants and compares it to local US census data.
The report is a collaboration between Public Agenda and local evaluators and practitioners of PB. It was funded by the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation and completed through a research partnership with the Kettering Foundation. You can read more, check out a summary and download the full report here
Follow them on Twitter  @PublicAgenda

CCEP Outreach: In the Media
Looking Outside California for Election Reforms

What can California learn about election reform from experiences outside our state? A new article and report by Amber Nelson from California Forward  featuring data and commentary from CCEP Director Mindy Romero suggests that looking at election models from other states could increase turnout and save money over the long term. California Forward's in-depth election financing report "Investing in California's Democracy: Building a Partnership for Performance" explores strategies used by California counties and other states to control costs and improve voting systems. 

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
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
Dept. of Political Science
Western Illinois University  

Peter Levine 
Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs 
Director of CIRCLE: The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University
Matt Mahan
Cofounder and CEO

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
Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics
University of Southern California

California Civic Engagement Project
UC Davis Center for Regional Change
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