Supporting and Defending Election Officials and Election Administration
- Election officials in California and across the country are facing an increasingly hostile and threatening public. The number of threats and amount of harassment election officials and their staff are enduring is unprecedented. CVF exposed this crisis in its landmark 2021 report, “Documenting and Addressing Harassment of Election Officials”, at https://www.calvoter.org/harassment. In response, CVF has formed a network of over 120 stakeholders across a number of sectors to defend and build a community of support for election officials and election administration.
Combating Mis- and Disinformation
- Election officials in California continue to battle mis- and disinformation about the voting process. CVF urged the news media and campaigns to exercise patience and caution when reporting the November 8 election results and refrain from attempting to "call" races on Election Night. CVF also served as a trustworthy, nonpartisan news source for many journalists and news organizations, including the New York Times, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Bay Area News Group, the Sacramento Bee, and local television and radio stations across the state. These news stories can be found at https://www.calvoter.org/cvf-in-the-news.
- CVF is also curtailing mis- and disinformation by connecting election officials and other stakeholders with groups who are doing research on this issue and providing election officials and others with tools and resources they can use to track, report, respond to, and counter mis- and disinformation.
Funding Election Administration
- CVF is continuing to support the need and seek opportunities for state- and federal-level funding for election administration. CVF is involved in a nation-wide, collaborative effort with election officials, other nonprofits, counties, cities, and states who are working together to try to get election infrastructure in the U.S. more adequately funded.
Accelerating California’s Vote Count Process
- After the November 8th election, CVF produced research using historic live election returns data from the California Secretary of State's web site to show how vote counting takes longer with expanded use of vote-by-mail balloting. This research can be found at https://www.calvoter.org/content/news-roundup-long-vote-counts-drop-box-access-117-election-hero-day.
- CVF also created and frequently updated the Close CA Contests Tracking Sheet at https://www.calvoter.org/content/monitor-close-ca-races-vote-counts-cvfs-tracking-sheet to help the public better track election results day-by-day. This project exposed the need to improve how official election results are reported to the public in order to reduce opportunities for mis- and disinformation about the outcome of close contests.
- CVF is working to address the inefficiencies in the current voting process and increase transparency around election results reporting on the California Secretary of State’s website and county election offices’ websites.
- CVF is working in election security, specifically by protecting Election officials:
In September 2022, CVF hosted Peace at the Polls CA to help local and state election officials, law enforcement officers, and nonprofit election observers prepare for potential conflict in and around voting sites and election offices before, during, and after California’s November 8th, 2022 election. This event provided de-escalation tips to help prepare attendees to effectively handle potential confrontations and aggressive poll monitoring. The event was also designed to strengthen relationships between local leaders and promote communication to help ensure prompt and thoughtful action if necessary to keep the election and vote-counting process peaceful. Over 100 local elections staff and law enforcement officers from half of California’s 58 counties attended, representing over 82% of California’s population. A list of the resources shared with attendees, as well as a video recording of the event, is available on CVF's Peace at the Polls CA Resources page at https://www.calvoter.org/content/peace-polls-ca-resources. CVF is exploring the possibility of continuing this briefing in California annually and replicating the event in other states.
To reduce the risk of doxxing attacks and threats at their homes and to their families, in 2022 CVF co-sponsored legislation (Senate Bill 1131/Newman) with the Brennan Center for Justice to protect California election workers’ security and safety by allowing them to enroll in address confidentiality programs. SB 1131 was signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 26, 2022 and included an urgency clause, so the protections went into effect immediately and before the November 2022 election.
During the committee process, the scope of the bill was expanded to make address confidentiality programs accessible to any government employee in the State of California, not just election workers. This expansion of address confidentiality access, especially for people working in public positions is being granted by a growing number of states, and California’s new law is another step forward in this trend, protecting more peoples’ security in the digital age.