The Elections Commission was established by San Francisco Charter § 13.103.5 pursuant to a Charter amendment called Proposition E that was passed by voters in the November 6, 2001 Consolidated Municipal Election. The Elections Commission assumed policy-making authority and oversight of all public federal, state, district and municipal elections in the City and County of San Francisco effective January 1, 2002.
These duties include but are not limited to approving written plans prior to each election, submitted by the Director of Elections, detailing the policies, procedures, and personnel that will be used to conduct the election, as well as an assessment of how well the plan succeeded in carrying out a free, fair and functional election.
The Commission sets general policies for the Department of Elections and is responsible for the proper administration of the general practices of the Department, subject to the budgetary and fiscal provisions of the San Francisco Charter.
The Commission’s standing committee is the Budget and Oversight of Public Elections Committee, which reviews and makes recommendations to the full Commission regarding the Department’s annual budget, and election plans.
The Commission consists of seven members who serve five-year terms. The Mayor, the Board of Supervisors, the City Attorney, the Public Defender, the District Attorney, the Treasurer, and the Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified School District each appoint one member of the Commission.
There are significant qualifications for service on the Elections Commission. The Mayor's appointee is required to have a background in the electoral process. The City Attorney's appointee is required to have a background in elections law. The Treasurer's appointee is required to have a background in financial management. The members appointed by the District Attorney, Public Defender, the Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified School District, and the Board of Supervisors are required to be broadly representative of the general public.
Members of the Commission are officers of the City and County and as such owe a duty of loyalty to, and must act in the best interests of, the City and County. Although each member of the Commission is appointed by a different City official or body, the Commissioners neither represent nor owe a duty of loyalty to their appointing authority. Commissioners must use their independent judgment about what is in the best interest of the City. Members of the Commission serve without compensation
See Documents for links to the City Charter and Commission Bylaws.