California Ranks 49th on Elections Performance Index

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  • Leila Pedersen
Highlights the state's failure to utilize technology and modernize electoral operations

LOS ANGELES — According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ latest Elections Performance Index (EPI), California ranks 49th in the first comprehensive assessment of election administration in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This annual study measures how well states conducted election compared not only with other states, but over time. California’s overall score increased from 2008 to 2012 but at a rate below the national average. In 2012, only Oklahoma and Mississippi ranked lower than California.

“California voters want convenient opportunities to register, vote, and have their vote counted,” Leila Pedersen “States that ranked the highest have embraced the latest technology allowing voters to use the web to register, find their polling place, look up ballot information, and track the status of their ballot. California has yet to develop such a tool.”

Using data from 17 key indicators, the EPI makes it possible to compare election administration policy and performance across the states and from one election cycle to the next. California was one of two states (with Vermont) that offered no voting information lookup tool on its elections website in 2012.

“California took the lead in passing Election Day Registration and pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds. Neither of these policies can be properly implemented until we have a functioning statewide voter database, or VoteCal,” stated Leila Pedersen, policy coordinator at California Common Cause. “California is a global hub for information technology. Our state has the resources and the ability to implement VoteCal this year. All we need is the political will.”

This November voters will decide who will serve as the state’s next chief elections official. The new Secretary of State will be responsible for setting the timeline to implement VoteCal.

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