The City and County of San Francisco website has a new look, which brought it forward about ten years, design-wise. I was there looking for June 8 election updates. One would think the election would be a prominent item on the homepage but – no. Nonetheless, all elections are important, since we only get the government we deserve. With the June 8 election upon us, and the end of attack ad season in sight, let’s vote!
The League of Women Voters San Francisco voter information web pages is full of election information, including all the dates and times for voting in City Hall, where any registered voter can get up close and personal with the ballot, or drop off your vote-by-mail ballot. The poll workers will award you with an “I voted!” sticker, something to wear proudly.
The SF Department of Elections had some (serious and troubling) issues with vote-by-mail ballots this Spring. Before mailing in your completed ballot, check to be sure that ballot has YOUR name on it. Apparently, (inexcusable) errors were made with some (even one is too many) number of ballots, and people were sent materials with another voter’s name. If you are caught up in these (totally avoidable) processing errors, get in touch with the Department of Elections without delay. The person responsible for the Department, John Arnst, takes his responsibilities seriously (truly), nonetheless, WHY did this happen? And, let’s remember these (what else might be amiss?) errors the next time someone floats the proposal to do away with the polls and use only vote-by-mail in the City.
Back to voting, www.smartvoter.org, a League site, provides objective information about all the items on the ballot. The League considers all ballot initiatives and measures and, through a consensus process, makes recommendations yea or nay for most of them. If the League does not have a position about an issue, say, re-gold leafing City Hall every eight years instead of every eighty years, there will be no position. Also, no positions are taken on measures seeking declarations of policy (Prop G on the San Francisco ballot). There are better ways of developing policy than by our goofy initiative process.
You might ask why the SF League’s positions aren’t listed here, for easy reference. We prefer you know why we took the positions we did. Please take a few minutes to understand the background. You may find you disagree which, obviously, is fine. We have spent the last 90 years committed people be an informed voter, and to the principle that your vote is your own.
About being an informed voter, I have been out and about in the many City farmers’ markets the past six weeks talking about statewide Proposition 15, to make public financing available for candidates wishing to run for Secretary of State. Let me tell you that your determination to make your own voting decisions is on parade by the hundreds of people who pass by as we press a Prop 15 brochure upon them.
Exhorting “Vote Yes on 15” gets indignant looks and comments. “Something to think about before you vote – consider voting Yes on 15” is the only way to go on so many levels. We’ve had no end of thoughtful questions from people about campaign finance reform and, candidly, why Prop 15 will make a difference (it’s a meaningful step toward elections money can’t buy). The next time you start thinking other voters are brain dead, pick an issue, get involved in the campaign, and go tabling. You will be delighted to learn nothing could be further from the truth. This is an all-ages and demographic observation, by the way.
Enough reading blogs. Let’s check out the candidates and the issues, and let’s vote! Election day is June 8. LLII.
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