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California’s Voting Accessibility Advisory Committees

Requires the Secretary of State to establish a Native American Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee

By Chris Micheli, February 15, 2022 6:26 am

California Elections Code provides for two voting accessibility advisory committees. They are contained in Division 2, Chapters 8 and 9. Chapter 8 deals with language accessibility and Chapter 9 deals with Native American voters.

Chapter 8 contains Section 2600 which requires the Secretary of State to establish a Language Accessibility Advisory Committee which meets no less than four times each calendar year. The committee consists of no less than 15 members and be comprised of the Secretary of State and his or her designee or designees and additional members appointed by the Secretary of State.

In addition, the appointees are required to have demonstrated language accessibility experience, have knowledge of presenting election materials to voters using plain language methods or another method that is easy for voters to access and understand, or be a county elections official or his or her designee. At least three county elections officials must be appointed to the committee. The Secretary of State is required to consult with and consider the recommendations of the committee. However, the committee serves in an advisory capacity to the Secretary of State.

Chapter 9 contains Section 2700 which requires the Secretary of State to establish a Native American Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee. The Secretary of State must consult with the committee to consider the committee’s recommendations related to improving the accessibility of elections for Native American voters. The Secretary of State may implement the committee’s recommendations as appropriate.

In addition, the committee consists of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State’s designees, and additional members appointed by the Secretary of State. Each appointee must possess demonstrated experience with voting rights or be a county elections official. The committees serves in an advisory capacity to the Secretary of State and do all of the following:

  • Establish guidelines for reaching as many Native American voters as practical.
  • Make recommendations for improving the availability and accessibility of election materials, including, but not limited to, state voter information guides, county voter information guides, and vote-by-mail ballots, and their delivery in print or alternative formats to Native American voters.
  • Make recommendations for the distribution of public service announcements identifying the availability of election materials for Native American voters with at least 45 days before any federal, state, and local election.
  • Promote to Native American voters the Secretary of State’s toll-free voter registration telephone line for citizens needing voter registration information.
  • Make recommendations for providing Native American voters with information regarding voter registration and voting processes, and voting rights.
  • Make recommendations to improve the recruitment of Native American poll workers.
  • Establish subcommittees to further the scope and purposes of the committee as they relate to improving voter services and access for Native American voters.
  • Make recommendations for providing information and services to Native American voters regarding language assistance.
  • Promote the use of plain language and alternative formats for election materials distributed to Native American voters.
  • Make recommendations for materials to train poll workers on issues related to serving Native American voters.
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