Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters (Ret.), Orange County, CA
Neal Kelley is the retired Registrar of Voters for Orange County, California, the fifth largest voting jurisdiction in the United States, serving more than 1.9 million registered voters.
Kelley served as the Registrar of Voters 2005 through 2022 and led the office through the largest cycle of elections since Orange County was founded in 1889. In his role as the County’s chief election official, he led an organization responsible for conducting elections, verifying petitions, and maintaining voter records.
Prior to joining Orange County, Kelley developed and grew several companies of his own, employing hundreds of people from 1989 to 2004. He was also an adjunct professor with Riverside Community College’s Business Administration Department, and served as a police officer in Southern California during the mid 1980’s.
He has been the recipient of numerous state and national awards for election administration and is a past recipient of the “Public Official of the Year” award by the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks (iGO). Kelley was named as one of “OC’s 100 Most Influential” individuals by the Orange County Register in 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Kelley is a former appointee and founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Election Security Task Force (Government Coordinating Council (GCC), where he helped to oversee the protection of the nation’s election infrastructure. He also served as a member and past chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Board of Advisors, is a former member of the EAC Voting Systems Standards Board and a former member of the EAC Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC). In addition, he served as a member of the 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on the Future of Voting.
Kelley has been invited to testify before committees of the U.S. House, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, several state legislative bodies, and both federal and state courts.
He is the past president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials (CACEO) and is the past president for the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks (iGO).
Kelley earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business and management from the University of Redlands and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California.
Why Neal joined CSSE:
“In recent years, election officials and their families have been the targets of a surge in threats and violence. I know firsthand what a surreal and scary experience it is to wake up one day and have local law enforcement contact you because people are angry that you did your job and simply counted votes. As a country, we must protect election officials to keep our elections secure and fair. Particularly with the midterms approaching, law enforcement and election officials must work together to keep this new threat from interfering in our elections.”