Appointed members serving from 2022-2023
Dianne Russell (Access Consultant)
- Mrs. Russell has been a disability rights advocate for most of her State of California career over 28 years.
- She was a member and chaired the Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) for the Franchise Tax Board for three years. During this time period, Mrs. Russell and the DAC provided several educational Disability Awareness Events and Trainings for staff and management, while making safety and accessibility changes at the Department. Under her direction the DAC provided the first physical accessibility self-evaluation of the site.
- Mrs. Russell later co-chaired the Statewide Disability Advisory Council (SDAC) for two years while working at the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). There she co-wrote the Guide for Emergency Evacuations for People with Disabilities for the State of California. She provided Disability Awareness Seminars both with and without the assistance of the SDAC throughout the State.
- While working at the Department of Rehabilitation and in collaboration with the Secretary of State (SOS), California County Elections Officials, she co-wrote the Secretary of State’s Voting Accessibility Guidelines and the How to Survey Polling Places for Accessibility with the oversite of the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC). From there, she provided this training throughout the State of California. During her time at DOR in the Business Services Section, she surveyed and provided Self-Evaluation and Transition Plans for the DOR’s many field offices per the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- On a personal level, voting accessibility is near and dear to her as her beloved father struggled with non-accessible voting long before the ADA or California Accessibility laws were created and/or enacted. She knows first-hand how important it is to be able to vote independently and safely.
Fred Nisen, Co-Chair (Disability Rights California)
- Fred Nisen is the Managing Attorney for Disability Rights California’s (DRC) Voting Rights Practice Group. DRC is California’s federally mandated protection and advocacy system. Mr. Nisen has been working for DRC for over 20 years. He began advocating for the voting rights of people with disabilities for almost 15 years and has been in a leadership role with DRC’s voting advocacy for approximately eight years. Under his leadership, DRC operates a busy Voting Hotline for voters with disabilities, trains voters with disabilities and election worker trainers, and improves voting accessibility by working with county elections officials and the Secretary of State’s office.
Janet L. Bell
- Auburn, CA
Mary Helen Gallegos
- Monterey County Elections
Larry D. Smith
- Elections Coordinator
- Riverside County Registrar of Voters
Maria D. Coronel
María D. Coronel joined the Yolo County Assessors, Clerk-Recorder and Elections (ACE) team as an Outreach Specialist I in June of 2020. She currently serves as the lead facilitator for the local VAAC and LAAC committees, Poll Worker/Election Workers Trainer, and Social Media content lead. Prior to María joining ACE, she served Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) for eight years under various roles as a Community Health Assistant- Certified Nutritionist Assistant, Interpreter/Translator, Case Investigator, and Case Manager with programs such as Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Communicable Diseases/Tuberculosis (CD/TB), Nurse Home Visiting (NHV), Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Program (SIDS), and Adolescent Parenting Program (APP).
Prior to serving in Yolo County, Maria worked for Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office as a Regional Support Services Aide under the Migrant Education Region V Program for five years, a Spanish and English (ELD) H.S. Teacher for three years with Kern High School District, and Career Counselor for one year in Kern County.
Maria’s community service passion began during her high school years, upon graduating high school, she committed two years of her life to serve as an AmeriCorps National volunteer time during which she served in some of the most underserved and misrepresented rural communities of this region- Tehachapi, Arvin, Lamont, Weedpatch, Greenfield, Lost Hills, Delano, Wasco, Shafter, etc. As a volunteer, María provided mentoring, tutoring and organizational services aimed at developing leadership skills among migrant families, out-of-school youth, at-risk youth, and those with an undeveloped potential for academic success.
María is a first-generation college graduate- CSU Bakersfield Alumni, born in California but raised in México until her adolescence, she is an advocate for social justice- access to resources, equity, participation, diversity, and human rights. Maria is aware of how vital it is for voters to be knowledgeable about their rights to accessible voting and public servants’ application of inclusion practices.
- Retired Educator
Veronica Elsea, Co-chair (Member of the Santa Cruz County VAAC)
- Totally blind, I have volunteered my time for election work wherever I've lived for the past 45 years.
- While serving on the SC County VAAC, I have participated on the poll worker training team, helping poll workers feel comfortable and ask questions about serving voters with disabilities. On election day I have worked on both public and internal hotlines, answering questions and explaining procedures. I have assisted with outreach, particularly related to helping explain accessible voting machines to Santa Cruz County residents who need to use them.
- I have attended state VAAC meetings for several years, participating in many discussions, most recently regarding accessibility of reading and signing petitions, voting by mail and other current issues.
- I look forward to increasing the visibility and reach of the State VAAC, listening to the needs of others and doing my best to help ensure a safe, accessible and joyous voting experience for everyone.