Nonpartisan program supports and celebrates excellence in U.S. election administration
By Dawn Kruger, Civic Outreach/Engagement Specialist, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department
The Contra Costa County Elections Division has been selected by the nonpartisan U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence as a Center for Election Excellence. This is recognition that Contra Costa County Elections is committed to leadership in election administration and focused on developing even more resilient, trustworthy, and voter-centric election administration practices.
As a Center for Election Excellence, the Contra Costa County Elections Division will have an opportunity to work together with a bipartisan group of election officials to support each other and improve their skills. The diverse inaugural 2023 cohort of Centers for Election Excellence include:
- Contra Costa County, CA
- Shasta County, CA
- Greenwich, CT
- Kane County, IL
- Macoupin County, IL
- Ottawa County, MI
- Clark County, NV
- Brunswick County, NC
- Forsyth County, NC
- Madison, WI
According to a recent study from MIT, public spending on election services ranks near the bottom, about the same as what local governments spend on parking facilities. This means professional development opportunities for election department staff can be extremely limited. The Alliance will provide Contra Costa Elections staff opportunities to collaborate with and share best practices with their colleagues from around the country, creating a national community of learning and support.
“I am thrilled we have chosen the Contra Costa County Elections Division as a Center for Election Excellence,” said Tiana Epps-Johnson, executive director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life. “Contra Costa Elections is a leader in safe, secure, and inclusive elections that put voters first. This program will take their election administration work to the next level.”
“While I have always known that staff at the Contra Costa County Elections Division are expert at what they do, incredibly innovative, and provide an exceptionally high level of service to the Contra Costa Community, I am excited and proud that this department and our staff are being recognized nationally for the hard work we do.” said Debi Cooper, Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Contra Costa County.
The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence launched in 2022 and is a five-year, $80 million nonpartisan program that brings together election officials, designers, technologists, and other experts to envision, support, and celebrate excellence in U.S. election administration. Launch partners include:
- Center for Tech and Civic Life: connects Americans with the information to become and remain civically engaged and ensure that elections are inclusive and secure.
- Center for Civic Design: works with elections offices and advocates across the country, using research, design, accessibility, and plain language to remove barriers and invite participation in democracy.
- The Elections Group: partners with state and local election officials to implement new programs or improve processes for voters and stakeholders by providing guidance, resources, and management support.
- U.S. Digital Response: is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization provides election officials with simple, effective digital tools and rapid response.
- Institute for Responsive Government & Center for Secure and Modern Elections: aligns bipartisan, pro-voter campaigns, making elections more efficient and secure.
- Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school) at Stanford University: referred to as the d.school, the institute brings students and faculty from radically different backgrounds together to develop innovative, human-centered solutions to real world challenges.
- Prototyping Systems Lab: utilizes elements of design thinking, participatory design, and critical making to create change within complex systems.