The California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP)
at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change
CCEP Newsletter
July 26, 2016
Its Another Engaging Issue of Engage!

This is an exciting time for politically engaged Americans, with one major party convention last week and another taking place this week, each offering more drama than past conventions in decades. This short video explains what takes place over the four day party conventions- it's not all confetti and balloons. 

During the break between binge-watching the conventions, we wanted to keep you abreast of exciting developments in civic engagement across the Golden State. 

In this edition of the CCEP newsletter, we share an opportunity to attend a legislative hearing on vote centers, several developing stories related to who can vote in California, good news for proponents of civic learning in California public schools, a new report on disparities in political participation in our state, 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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California Civic Engagement News
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and students celebrate the publication of the Civic Learning Task Force Special Report

California Approves More Civic Learning in Schools

After more than a dozen years of striving for a more robust civics curriculum in California's public schools, advocates for civic learning are about to get their wish. On July 14, the State Board of Education approved a new California History-Social Science Framework-last updated in 2001-that includes greater focus on civic learning in elementary through high school. The California Department of Education will ready the new History-Social Science Framework for publication before the end of this year, and will roll out the framework to school districts throughout the state. 

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye teamed with State Superintendent Tom Torlakson to establish the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning which issued its recommendations and blueprint for action in 2014.   

"With the new History-Social Science Framework, our state has taken a major step forward in providing all students with the knowledge and skills they need to participate in civic life," said the Chief Justice. 

The Chief Justice and her Power of Democracy Steering Committee have also partnered with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to co-sponsor  Civic Learning Awards , which recognize California public schools for providing high quality civic learning opportunities to all their students.

California Legislators Consider Bill Allowing Felons to Vote While Incarcerated
A bill introduced by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber seeks to restore voting rights to convicted felons behind bars.  "Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism," Weber told her colleagues during a recent heated floor debate on the bill. 

The concept of taking away a criminal's right to vote - referred to as "civil death" - has existed since the times of ancient Greece and Rome and was imported to America by the English colonists, the report said.

Voters in California changed the state constitution in 1976 to prohibit voting in elections while "imprisoned or on parole" for conviction of a felony, but allowing participation in elections after time served.

Block the Vote: A Journalist Discusses Voting Rights and Restrictions

National Public Radio's Fresh Air recently re-aired a 2015 program worth revisiting this election season. It has been 52 years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed restrictions intended to prevent Black Americans from voting. However, many states have recently added restrictions that election experts argue are more subtle ways of discriminating against people of color, as well as poor people and youth. Host Terry Gross discusses these laws in their historical context with Ari Berman, author of "Give Us the Ballot." 

Spotlight on the Civic Engagement Field

Each month, the CCEP highlights the work of a community organization that has made a meaningful impact on civic engagement.
Greenlining Institute Promotes #Voteat16 Initiative

Greenlining Policy Fellows Sara Chandler and Kerry Sakimoto
This past summer, The Greenlining Institute partnered with several advocacy organizations across the state to promote civic engagement by working for legislation to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in their local school board elections. Lead by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-80), the #Voteat16 initiative drew support from advocates across the state, who recognized the importance of recruiting youth into the voting process at an earlier age. 

Research has shown that earlier voting can improve voter turnout, and inspire lifelong civic engagement. Voting is also intrinsically linked to health, wellness, and the empowerment of local communities.

Follow the Greenlining Institute on Twitter @Greenlining. 

Featured Events

Informational Briefing on Vote Centers
August 2, 2016, 10 AM and 1:30 PM
State Capitol Building, Room 444, Sacramento

The California State Assembly Elections & Redistricting Committee is hosting two informational hearings on vote centers next Tuesday at the State Capitol Building. Featured speakers include Committee Chair Assemblymember Shirley Weber, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Amber McReynolds, the Director of Elections for the City and County of Denver, and CCEP Director Mindy Romero.

Each informational hearing will last about 2 hours, and will focus on the use of vote centers in lieu of neighborhood polling places. The state legislature is currently considering a bill that would allow California Counties to establish vote centers and mail every registered voter a vote-by-mail ballot

Noteworthy Civic Engagement Publications

Unequal Voices: California's Racial Disparities in Political Participation

A new report titled "Unequal Voices," co-authored by CCEP advisory committee member Karthick Ramakrishnan and released by The Advancement Project and University of California, Riverside School of Public Policy shows that California's racial disparities in political participation persist and extend beyond the ballot box. 

Using voter and civic engagement data collections from 2004 to 2014, the authors analyze data on voter turnout in presidential, midterm, and local elections, data on voting by mail, as well as data on participation beyond the ballot box - contacting public officials, supporting political campaigns, attending political meetings, protesting, engaging in consumer activism, and discussing politics.

Civic Engagement Success Stories
Million Votes Project Aims to Close California's Electoral Participation Gap

A grass-roots community group in Southern California is on a mission to register one million new voters by 2018. The goal is an electorate that more closely matches the states demographics. 

The project, an alliance between six community organizations, is targeting immigrants, people of color, working class citizens, and college students. They plan to go into communities that don't typically see voter outreach, such as county jails and skid row, to get new voters to register.    Read more about the effort HERE

City of San Rafael Honored for Outstanding Civic Engagement Efforts

The Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy recently announced that the City of San Rafael has earned Platinum Public Engagement , the Institute's highest engagement award. The City is being honored with the award because of its dedication to involving residents in local decision-making through the employment of advanced public engagement policies and techniques.

"This award is a testament to the great work of our dedicated staff and to a City Council committed to working with the community to make San Rafael an even better place," said Mayor Gary Phillips, "This is an area where we must constantly improve, iterate, learn, and listen. The job is never done."

For nearly a decade, the Davenport Institute has been researching, training, and consulting with public officials to improve ways in which local governments involve their residents in making difficult policy decisions. In May of this year, the Davenport Institute launched the "How are WE Doing? Public Engagement Evaluation Platform" to help cities and local government agencies evaluate public engagement efforts. The platform includes the opportunity for recognition as part of an awards program.

CCEP Outreach: In the Media
California Primary Election Results Certified

More than five weeks after the votes were cast, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla certified the final results of the states June 7 primary election. About 8.5 million Californians, or 47.7% of registered voters, cast a ballot. An Associated Press article published in the Washington Post and other media outlets nationwide features analysis of factors that impacted voter turnout by CCEP Director Mindy Romero.

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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