Monday, June 22, 2015

Contra Costa Registrar of Voters likes the concept, wants to see final details of SB 450 before committing to support it

In what seems to be a growing trend, Contra Costa, California, Registrar of Voters Joe Canciamilla today expressed support for SB 450, a bill to re-vamp California’s voting system, saying “I like the concept,” but also said his support for the legislation would be contingent on the form it finally takes.

He cited three recent special elections in the county with low turn-out as motivation to try something new.

He said what mattered to him was that the state avoid “micro-management of the process” and allow the counties necessary “flexibility,” particularly in regard to the required numbers of drop boxes and vote centers in their respective jurisdictions.

He also said that the public outreach process, as contained in the bill’s current incarnation, might be hard to implement in its entirety in the more rural and suburban counties.

He said it would be “hard to find locations in public buildings” to house the vote centers and that schools were becoming less willing to host voting sites, least of all for an extended voting period as contemplated under SB 450.

Asked why it was necessary to have physical vote centers at all in an all-mail-in election, Canciamilla said that there were two reasons for having them:  to provide disabled voters with opportunities to vote independently and to ease the over-all transition from a polling-place-centric to an all-mail-in election.

Like Orange County’s Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, Canciamilla believes that a fully-functioning VoteCal system is essential to the success of the SB 450 plan, but, unlike the Southern Californian official, he’s not so sure it will be ready in time.  Asked how confident he was that VoteCal would be up-and-running in time to support the electoral transition, the long-time public official told Etopia News, “based on the state’s track record [deploying computer systems] on Consumer Affairs and the DMV, not very, but there’s always a first time.”

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