Will we change our voting methods?

Today the Ballot Simplification Committee started its work by looking at two ballot measures dealing with elections. (NOTE: Neither the official title nor the letter designation of the ballot measures are available to the committee, so all measures are referred to as “Proposition blank”) The first measure considered was a proposal to give San Francisco voters an extra day on which to cast their ballots for the Nov. 2011 election. If approved by voters, the measure would require the Dept. of Elections to open polling places on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 as well as the scheduled date of Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011. The cost of the extra election would be met by a special fund to which individuals and corporations could contribute. If, in the judgment of the City Comptroller, this fund becomes large enough to pay all costs of the extra day, the Saturday opening will go forward. After the election, the Department of Elections will be required to prepare a report on the effect of the extra voting day on voter turnout and its impact on working families, and educational benefits.

The second ballot measure discussed changes the requirement for voting registration to permit Election Day Voter Registration for municipal elections. If this measure is approved by voters, citizens would be allowed to register and vote on Election Day Nov. 8, 2011 and in subsequent municipal elections. The change would not affect consolidated elections, which combine federal, state and local elections. Those would continue to require voters to register at least 15 days before the election because those registration requirements are set by the state.

The approved drafts for both of these ballot measures are now posted on the Dept. of Elections website http://www.sfelections.org/bsc . Citizens who wish to appeal the wording of any ballot measure must send a written appeal to the Dept. of Elections within 24 hours.

The Committee will not meet on Tuesday, July 27, so the next report of activities will be posted on Wednesday, July 28.

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