San Francisco''s Ballot Simplification Committee plays a vital role in informing the voters about local ballot measures. The Committee prepares an impartial summary of each local ballot measure for publication in San Francisco''s Voter Information Pamphlet, which is mailed to each registered voter in advance of each election. The Committee, which was created in the 1970s, consists of five voting members and one non-voting, ex officio member.
Of the five voting members, the Board of Supervisors appoints three and the Mayor appoints two. Two of the three members appointed by the Board of Supervisors must be nominated by either the Northern California Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences or the Northern California Broadcasters Association. The League of Women Voters of San Francisco must nominate the third member. Of the two members appointed by the Mayor, the Northern California Newspaper Guild must nominate one member, and the other member must be an educational reading specialist recommended by the Superintendent of Schools of the San Francisco Unified School District. Each of the appointive members must be a resident and registered voter of the City and County. The City Attorney or his or her representative serves as a non-voting ex officio member.
Each Ballot Simplification Committee digest includes four subsections: (1) The Way It Is Now; (2) The Proposal; (3) A "Yes" Vote Means; and (4) A "No" Vote Means. In general, digests may not exceed 300 words in length, and must use language as close as possible to the eighth-grade reading level. The Committee also reviews other materials that are published in the Voter Information Pamphlet, such as definitions of the terms that appear in the pamphlet.
The Ballot Simplification Committee conducts its work in public meetings, and must complete its digests no later than 85 days before the election. For the November 3, 2009 Municipal Election, this deadline is Monday, August 10, 2009. For more information about the Committee meetings, contact the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375.
Notices and Agendas
Notice of Cancellation - August 7, 2009
Meeting Agenda, August 3-7 (PDF)
Notice of Cancellation - July 31, 2009 and August 6, 2009 (PDF)
Meeting Agenda for July 27, 2009 - July 31, 2009
Press Release - BSC Meetings for the November 3rd, 2009 Election (PDF)
Ordinance: Candlestick Park Naming Rights
Materials for Voter Information Pamphlet
Ordinance: Mid-Market Special Sign District
Ordinance: Advertisements on City Property
Charter Amendment: Board of Supervisors Aides
Charter Amendment: Budget Process
Previous BSC Agendas