Department of Elections Mission and Responsibilities

Plaque stating, “San Francisco Department of Elections, established in 1878”

 

The Department of Elections conducts all public federal, state, district, and municipal elections in the City and County of San Francisco in a manner that is free, fair, and functional.

We are honored to serve you, the voters of San Francisco!

Department of Elections Strategic Plan

Our 2017-2020 Strategic Plan sets forth the Department’s core strategies and objectives, and lays out some specific initiatives to be achieved including expanding digital services, implementing new legislation, and replacing the voting system. The Strategic Plan’s nine overarching goals will shape how the Department prioritizes its attention and resources over the next three fiscal years.

View the Department of Elections 2017-2020 Strategic Plan (PDF)

Department of Elections Responsibilities

The Department of Elections is responsible for conducting elections under the rules and regulations established by federal, state, and local laws– notably, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the City’s Language Access Ordinance; maintaining an open process that inspires public confidence in the election system; providing and improving upon a public outreach and education plan to engage eligible potential voters in San Francisco; and continuing to improve its services by streamlining processes and anticipating the future needs of San Francisco voters.

Serving a registered voter base of nearly 500,000 individuals, the Department is responsible for all components of election administration, some of which include:

  • Maintaining an accurate and complete voter roll and conducting ongoing voter file maintenance procedures;
  • Facilitating the filing of candidate nomination papers, local and district ballot measures, and ballot arguments that appear in the official Voter Information Pamphlet;
  • Producing San Francisco’s official ballot, sample ballot, and Voter Information Pamphlet in various languages and accessible formats;
  • Providing services and voter education to registered voters and potential registrants;
  • Administering the vote-by-mail program for over 285,000 voters who permanently vote by mail and nearly 7,000 military and overseas voters;
  • Securing nearly 600 polling places to administer voting on Election Day;
  • Recruiting and training nearly 3,000 poll workers to administer mandated procedures and serve a linguistically and culturally diverse electorate;
  • Facilitating voting at City Hall starting 29 days before every election;
  • Organizing the collection of ballots and election results data on election night;
  • Performing tabulation of ballots and reporting election results;
  • Conducting the official canvass of votes cast to ensure the accuracy and validity of election results

The Department works to maintain an open and transparent process that inspires public confidence in the election system and encourages voter engagement. The Department continuously strives to improve its services by streamlining processes, creating new and improved ways to serve the public, and anticipating the future needs of San Francisco voters. To accomplish this, we seek feedback from the community through various community partnerships and public observation opportunities, and through our feedback survey available on our website and at our office.

It is our goal to keep you informed and up-to-date with the election process and enhance your overall voting experience. With any questions about registration, voting, or other election-related questions, please contact us through our contact form or by calling us at (415) 554-4375.