Voter Guide Recommendations Released by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

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The Best Practices Manual for Official Voter Information Guides aims to improve voter information and increase voter participation. Recommendations include helping to bridge the civic literacy gap and making information easy-to-read in plain language voters can understand.

“Although many factors contribute to low voter turnout, intuitive and accessible voter information is a powerful tool to engage and expand the electorate,” said Melissa Breach, LWVCEF Executive Director.

In the November 2014 election, only 31% of eligible Californians voted, and young people and people of color continued to be alarmingly underrepresented. To help improve voter information and increase voter turnout, the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (LWVCEF) has released a Best Practices Manual for Official Voter Information Guides as an easy-to-use resource for election officials and community groups working to enfranchise and educate California voters. Find the Best Practices Manual at http://www.cavotes.org.

“Although many factors contribute to low voter turnout, intuitive and accessible voter information is a powerful tool to engage and expand the electorate,” said Melissa Breach, LWVCEF Executive Director. “We are excited to make this resource available to election administrators and community groups working to make voter guides more effective, more inviting, and more useful for California’s diverse voters,” she added.

Created in partnership with the Center for Civic Design and the Future of California Elections, this manual includes recommendations to bridge civic literacy gaps, make information easy to read, and use language voters can understand.

“Hundreds of voices are represented in the research we did for the Best Practices Manual. Many of them are voices of people who never thought they could vote. They thought they weren’t eligible. They didn’t know where to go. They didn’t know how. But when they used voter guides written and designed based on the research-based best practices, they were empowered,” said Dana Chisnell, Co-Director at the Center for Civic Design.

This manual also provides an easy-to-use checklist of recommendations for creating or reviewing a voter guide to help answer the questions voters need. “This Best Practices Manual gives us concrete, pragmatic examples of formats, language, and carefully researched models for ways to really reach all our voters, including those with literacy or reading difficulties and low English proficiency,” said Cathy Darling Allen, Shasta County Clerk.

The LWVCEF will be providing trainings and webinars to assist election administrators and community groups with implementing our recommendations from the Best Practices Manual to improve voter guides. This project is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation.

About the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund:
The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund serves voters and conducts civic education activities. It is a 501(c)(3) corporation, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization, which:

  •     Builds participation in the democratic process.
  •     Studies key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner.
  •     Enables people to seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management.

Find out more: http://www.cavotes.org

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Elizabeth Leslie
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