California: San Francisco sets sights on open source voting by November 2019 | The San Francisco Examiner

San Francisco could have an open-source voting system in place by the November 2019 election, under a plan approved earlier this month by the Elections Commission. The timeline could result in the emergence of San Francisco as the leader of the open-source voting movement in the United States. For supporters of open-source voting, the importance of that point can’t be underscored enough. “San Francisco could help write some U.S. democracy history with its leadership role,” said a Nov. 18 letter to the Elections Commission from Gregory Miller, co-founder of the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation, a collection of executives from top technology companies like Apple and Facebook. “And the total estimated cost to do so [$8 million] is a fraction of status-quo alternatives.” Open-source voting systems bring a greater level of transparency and accountability by allowing the public to have access to the source codes of the system, which is used to tabulate the votes. A system owned by The City could also save taxpayers money.

California: Chinatown seniors caught in middle of voter fraud claims — again | The San Francisco Examiner

Most seasons bring unwanted rituals. Christmas begets horrid fruitcakes, Thanksgiving balloons our waistbands and San Francisco’s election season brings predictable accusations of voter fraud — with Chinatown seniors caught in the middle. This election, the Asian Pacific Democratic Club, comprised of local, politically active Asian-Americans connected to Mayor Ed Lee, is suggesting that a powerful Chinatown nonprofit, the Chinatown Community Development Center, may be connected to the theft of Chinese-speaking seniors’ votes. According to Tom Hsieh, a prominent political consultant in charge of the APDC, anonymous elderly Chinese-speaking voters were wrongfully persuaded to hand over their ballots, which were then filled out and illegally cast by someone else.

California: San Francisco Board of Supervisors breaks ranks on voting system | San Francisco Examiner

Progressive members of the Board of Supervisors are considering ways to derail a proposal to eliminate San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting system. As Tuesday’s deadline approaches for supervisors to submit proposed charter amendments for the June ballot, City Hall insiders say Supervisor David Campos is considering a measure to compete with Supervisor Mark Farrell’s plan to eliminate ranked-choice voting and revert back to runoff elections.

Campos declined to discuss his thoughts Friday, but confirmed that he is thinking about such a measure.

Meanwhile, fellow progressive Supervisor John Avalos said he hopes to deprive Farrell’s measure of the six board votes needed to place it on the June ballot. “I think it might be best to make sure that it doesn’t go forward,” Avalos said. Farrell introduced his measure on Election Day, saying, “Almost a decade later, massive numbers of San Franciscans continue to be confused about our voting process in The City.”

California: How Ranked-Choice Voting Silenced 31,500 Voters | The Bay Citizen

Sixteen percent of San Francisco voters who filled out their ballots correctly and completely — more than 31,500 people — did not have a say in the final outcome of the city’s mayoral race, according to The Bay Citizen’s analysis of election results.

Their ballots were discarded or exhausted, because they did not list either Ed Lee, the eventual winner, or runner-up John Avalos as one of their top three candidates. Unlike other cities, San Francisco does not allow voters to rank all the candidates on the ballot.

Editorials: San Francisco Ranked-Choice Voting Draws Critics After Mayoral Race | Huffington Post

Ranked-choice voting was the cure for what ails American politics, boosters said. Now in use in four California cities, this new voting system was supposed to increase voter turnout, stanch the flow of special interest money and encourage high-minded, positive campaigns.

But it didn’t play out that way in the biggest ranked-choice election yet – the 2011 San Francisco mayoral race. Turnout was down, the worst in a competitive race in about 35 years, as the San Francisco Chronicle noted.

Voting Blogs: A different view on whether the of ranked-choice voting in San Francisco was “effective’” | Election Law Blog

Following up on this postDoug Johnson posted the following comments to the election law listserv, which I reprint here with his permission:

According to the November 10 numbers from the Department of Elections, the final round tally in the San Francisco Mayoral election was 79,147 votes for Ed Lee, 51,788 for John Avalos, and 48,983 “exhausted” ballots. “Exhausted” means the ballot did not contain a vote for either Lee or Avalos, thus the voter was excluded from sharing his/her preference in the final runoff.

Percentage-wise, Ed Lee won the vote of 43.4% of voters participating in the Mayoral election. John Avalos received the final vote of 28.4% of voters participating in the election. And 28.2% of voters casting ballots in the Mayoral primary were blocked from expressing their preference in the final runoff (26.9% were exhausted and 1.3% were over/under votes).

California: S.F. ranked-choice voting hurts progressive backers |

Under San Francisco’s traditional voting system, interim Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor John Avalos would be headed for a December runoff in which stark contrasts could be drawn between the moderate longtime bureaucrat and the progressive former social worker. It would have been interesting, but it’s not going to happen.

Under San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting system – in use for the first time in a competitive mayor’s race – Lee won with less than a third of first-place votes. Ironically, it’s Lee’s supporters who are calling for the end of ranked-choice voting. And Avalos and his backers believe it’s a beneficial system that should continue.

California: Mayoral candidates contact Department of Justice over reports of election fraud | KTVU San Francisco

Seven San Francisco mayoral candidates sent a letter to federal and state officials Sunday requesting an investigation into media reports that supporters of Mayor Ed Lee were filling in ballots for voters Friday. The letter points to reported witness testimony and video allegedly showing staff members from the group SF Neighbor Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 “completing ballots for voters” and “preventing voters from marking their ballots for other mayoral candidates”.

In the letter, the mayoral contenders ask Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez and California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to investigate these claims. The letter was signed by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, County Supervisor John Avalos, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, state Senator Leland Yee, Michela Alioto-Pier and Joanna Rees.