Vote Center Siting Tool for the California Voter's Choice Act
Vote Center Siting Tool
Developed by the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP), this mapping tool is designed to provide assistance to California county election offices seeking to implement the Voter's Choice Act in elections. The Vote Center Siting Tool was initially released in February 2018 and updated in September 2018 to reflect the latest census data and an adjustment to our model methodology. The goal of this tool is to help election officials identify optimal sites for potential Vote Center and Vote-by-Mail drop boxes. The tool uses a facility allocation model that incorporates the siting criteria included in the California Voter's Choice Act. The resulting interactive web maps are intended to supplement what election officials and stakeholders already know about their counties' profiles and needs.
What is the Voter's Choice Act?
In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 450, known as the Voter's Choice Act (VCA), which allows counties to chose to adopt a new voting system. In counties choosing to adopt the new model, every registered voter is mailed a Vote-by-Mail (VBM) ballot, which voters can either mail in, or return at a ballot drop box or a newly established vote center. At vote centers, which replace traditional neighborhood polling places, voters can cast their ballots in person, drop off their completed VBM ballots, access conditional voter registration, receive replacement ballots, and access additional resources, such as language assistance and accessible voting machines. While there are fewer vote centers than polling places by design, vote centers are open to voters for up to ten days prior to Election Day and available for all voters to utilize countywide. The expectation is that voters could choose to cast their vote by mail or drop box, and those desiring an in-person experience (e.g., using an accessible voting system, location convenience or for a sense of community) would have numerous dates to do so rather than just one. Fourteen of California’s 58 counties were eligible to adopt the model for the 2018 election cycle, and five counties did so—Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento and San Mateo. All other California counties are eligible to adopt the model in 2020. In 2020, Los Angeles County will opt in to the model but will not be required to mail all registered voters VBM ballots until 2024. In addition to Los Angeles County, the following counties have publicly announced that they will adopt the VCA for the 2020 election cycle: El Dorado, Fresno, Mariposa, Orange and Santa Clara. All together, eleven California counties will be conducting elections under the Voter’s Choice Act in 2020—approximately half the state’s current registered voter population.
The Vote Center Siting Tool is live here!