The Advisory Committee on Participatory Democracy (ACPD) was first established in 1997 by the Legislature under the office of the Department of Cultural Affairs. The Committee was given the task of creating a repository of information and reporting back to the Legislature about recommendations on "programs, activities and events related to the participation of citizens in the development of public policy and the improvement of the operation of government."
The 2003 Legislature placed the ACPD under the auspices of the Secretary of State's office with the passage of Senate Bill 309 (now codified in NRS 225.240,et.seq). The 2003 Legislature established very specific goals to reach by the 2008 General Election: attaining 75% voter registration in the state and a voter turnout rate of at least 70% of those registered voters in the 2008 General Election. During the 2006 election season, the ACPD and election officials throughout the state worked together in a collaborative effort to achieve these goals.
The ACPD is comprised of ten members selected by the Secretary of State's office. The Committee's purpose is to assist the Secretary of State in: identifying and proposing programs that promote citizen participation in governance; establishing a Jean Ford Democracy Award; and working with partner organizations at the local, state, and national level to increase voter participation.
During the 2006 election season, the ACPD recommended several programs to the Secretary of State's office, including Newspapers in Education; High Sierra Industries/Hispanic Chamber of Northern Nevada/Latino Empowerment, Advancement and Development; Foundation for Relevant Education about the Law; and League of Women Voters, all of which seek to increase voter participation throughout the state.