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March 16, 2011


Elections Commission Meeting

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm

City Hall Room 408


                                                                                                        Order of Business


1.                  Call to Order  6:01 & Roll Call



Present; President Richard Matthews, Commissioners Rosabella Safont, Arnold Townsend, Catalina Ruiz-Healy, Gerard Gleason. Vice President Winnie Yu arrived 6:10.

2.                  Welcome of Commissioner Catalina Ruiz-Healy, appointed by the Board of Education to complete the term which expires January 1, 2013.



President Matthews gave a welcome to new Commissioner Catalina Ruiz-Healy, who has been appointed by the San Francisco Unified School District to replace Derek Turner.  Commissioner Catalina Ruiz-Healy spoke briefly accepting her position as Commissioner, and spoke about her experiences and qualifications.  She spent time in Haiti working to train political parties on how to run an election.  She also worked to monitor elections in both 2004 and 2008 Presidential Elections. Catalina worked with CNN hotline reporting on voter irregularities in New York.  She is currently working with young people stressing their civic participation in voter registration and organizing.    


3.                  Discussion and possible action to adopt Resolution of appreciation of the Ballot Simplification Committee, its clerk, and its counsel for their excellent efforts for the November 2010 election.



President Matthews, read the resolution in its entirety.  Thanking them for their excellent work

to the voters of San Francisco.


The resolution was adopted by the Elections Commission UNANIMOUSLY.


Betty Packard of the Ballot Simplification Committee spoke on behalf of the committee and graciously accepted the resolution.  Betty Packard introduced members of the Ballot Simplification Committee June Fraps, Adele Fasick, Ann Jorgenson, Chris Unruh and Barbara Carr the Committee’s Clerk.   Betty commended the Department of Elections and Director John Arntz, for an outstanding job saying it has been a pleasure working with them and not once were they called upon and the response not been quick and efficient. She said that the November 2010 election was the most difficult set of circumstances this committee has faced, but that they were recharged and ready to serve if there is a special election in June.


4.      Announcements. None offered.


5.      Public comment on any issue within the Elections Commission’s general jurisdiction.


No comments 


6.  Director’s Report:

Administrative Division: the Board has extended by eight days some of the deadlines to an election being held on June 7.   The State has not called for an election for June 7th and the Legislature can change the deadlines which would allow the Governor to call an election for June 14th or 21st.  It appears that July 1 is the important date for the legislature since this is when the fiscal year begins and the tax measures expire. 

Director thanked David Chiu’s office for submitting the emergency ordinance to the Board and the City Attorney’s office for drafting the ordinance.


Poll workers division:  They have begun contacting poll workers and are planning to staff fewer polling sites since, if a June election does occur, the Department will consolidate the polling places reducing the total from 571 to 412 places.


Publications: They recently met with vendors obtaining quotes and trying to see what efficiencies we can obtain with publications especially for both Chinese and Spanish publications and are preparing for the Ballot Simplification Committee meeting scheduled next week.


Technology Division: Among their usual work they are focused on prepping the machines and equipment that the city may need to borrow from Riverside County to implement Saturday voting.   They are also looking at increasing the multi-language capabilities of the website and giving more information such as where an individual’s polling place is, vote-by-mail applications, customer surveys all of which will be multilingual.


Campaign Services: will be holding a training class regarding putting ballot arguments

in the voter guides for the Supervisors’ aides this Friday. 


 Saturday Voting: Department staff continues to meet at least once a week to prepare for Saturday voting since it will affect every area of our operation.  Keeping in mind this information needs to be finalized for the Controller’s Office regarding cost, this is no simple project, and the contributors who want to fund Saturday voting need information on cost as it will give them a target of what needs to be obtained.  



7.   Commissioners’ Reports 
None offered.


Old Business


8.  Discussion and possible action to adopt policy related to possible Saturday voting, its budget estimate, its logistics, its legal requirements and constraints, its fundraising, or other considerations related to implementation of the measure. Invited to speak and confer with the Commission are Controller Ben Rosenfield (or his designee) as to that office’s role and activities as detailed in Proposition I (Nov. 2010 election); and Alex Tourk, proponent of Proposition I.


Peg Stevenson from the Controllers Office gave an introduction of how the Controllers 

Office works on effectiveness, efficiencies and auditing and determining cost to the City.  She had met the previous week with Director Arntz and Commission President Richard Matthews to discuss their concerns regarding Saturday Voting. Peg says she looks forward to working with the Department and keeping thing transparent as we move forward.


Public Speaker David Pilpel, ask if there has been a drop dead date set.  Deputy City Attorney Jon Givner said that Proposition I does not state a specific date however the Director has anticipated working with the Controller’s Office a set date.  Director Arntz replied that while working with the operational considerations and communicating closely with the Controller’s Office, they will create the deadline. As of now, given what is currently known and the current directives and permissions granted by the Secretary of State, the date by which the Department must know if Saturday voting will occur this November will be July 8th. Director Arntz said he spoke with the Secretary of State (SOS) earlier and was told that he could announce they plan to grant a waiver which allows San Francisco to use the Edge touchscreen machine on Saturday at the polling places.   Working backward from November that would require July 8th to begin the process of having the machines checked and shipped from Riverside County and having them checked once again after arriving here in San Francisco.  Director Arntz goes on to say that as it pertains to cost, the current draft budget for Saturday voting is $2.3 to 2.4 million, which is higher than the quote given in August, considering there are cost that could not have been envisioned.  Director Arntz agreed with President Matthews that we are fortunate that other counties may have this equipment on hand since the city will need borrow over approximately 300 machines.


Alex Tourk speaking on the behalf of Proposition I and the implementation of Saturday Voting said he wants to make it clear that he understands this is not an easy task and understands that change is difficult.  The motive of this coalition is to inspire people to have a greater participation in voting, that historically voter turnout has been low, with the exception of the last Presidential election.  He feels very left out of information regarding this issue, being that July 8th is a deadline he wants to know what is the projected cost and he and other concerned voters want to be able to meet the financial requirements that will be set by the Department of Elections and the Controller’s office.  President Matthews assured him that this information is just becoming available regarding cost and that he is getting information really at time same as the Commission.

Commissioner Townsend welcomed him and suggested that he or someone from his coalition attend meetings and this will allow communication and assure that they are informed as the Commission.   President Matthews also invited Mr. Tourk or his designees to attend the meetings of the Commission’s Budget and Oversight of Public Elections Committee (BOPEC) the first Wednesday of each month and Elections Commission Meetings held third Wednesday.


Public Speaker David Pilpel suggested that the website be updated to include information regarding Saturday Voting, that memos between the Department and the Controller’s Office and Secretary Of State be posted.  This information will provide the public with information that allows them to see just how cost is determined and be a source of information.   



Saturday / Tuesday Voting Replication

Satellite Voting Operation

1. Is Saturday Voting operations an exact replication of standard Tuesday precinct voting?

No City Attorney Givner said this is not an exact replica, but shall replicate to the extent possible.

11. Is Saturday Voting an early voting station similar to the Early Voting Station operated at City Hall with Vote-By-Mail ballots issued on site and collected for later central processing? Yes

2. Is there requirement that polling places be the exact same number and location as Tuesday voting? Yes

12. Can Vote-By-Mail ballots be issued off a roster for a precinct? No

3. Same hours as on Tuesday (7AM-8PM)?


13. Can Vote-By-Mail ballots be issued to a voter not on a roster or from a different precinct? Yes   City Attorney Givner said an example is if a voter were to come into the precinct and name does not appear on the roster they may use a provisional ballot.

4. Use of same Roster? Yes, although this presents some operational challenges yet to be solved; should it be the exact same book on both days? Peel & stick? How?

14. Can Provisional ballots be issued on Saturday? Yes Director Arntz said ballots will be picked up by the sheriffs and taken to the warehouse.

5. Are Indexes to be required and posted? No Director Arntz said the machines will be set up and close at the end with no tabulations.

15. What are the hours? Yes  

6. Same Index for Saturday and Tuesday? No

16. Will voters be informed of any operation on Saturday which is not an exact replication of standard Tuesday precinct voting? Yes

7. Can voting Machines be used (Insight & Edge)?

The Insight cannot be used. The Edge can be used because of the requirement for access for disabled voters.

17. Are Indexes to be required and posted? Yes

8. If voting machines are used, is it the same exact same machine(s) on Saturday and Tuesday? No


9. Can Provisional ballots be issued on Saturday?

Yes, although the exact details and procedures for this have yet to be determined.


10. Would any or all voted ballots and elections materials which need to be secured (i.e. rosters, unvoted ballots) need to be removed on Saturday and returned to the precinct Inspector before Tuesday? Yes Director Arntz machines will be picked up by sheriff deputies and taken to the warehouse 



9.  Discussion and possible action to adopt criteria for the selection of the Elections Commission’s three appointees to the Redistricting Task Force, as well as the procedure for opening the application period, evaluating applicants, and choosing the three appointees.


A. Following discussion and motion, the following minimum criteria for the Elections Commission’s appointments to the Redistricting Task Force were adopted UNANIMOUSLY:


(1)   Be registered to vote in San Francisco and have voted in San Francisco at least once since January 1, 2006;


(2)   Represent San Francisco’s diverse population;


(3)   Have not been paid by a political campaign since January 1, 2006;


(4)   Not currently a direct-hire employee of an elected official of the City and County of San Francisco;


(5)   Have general knowledge of San Francisco’s neighborhoods and geography;


(6)   Have flexible schedule for attending meetings; and


(7)   Do not have a conflict of interest that is prohibited under conflict laws applicable to other City officers.





Public Comment: David Pilpel suggested that these be characterized as ‘minimum criteria.’


Commissions President Matthews intends to call a special meeting May 4th 2011 for the Commission to interview any applicants.


B. Moved & seconded that the Director of Elections be excused from any Elections Commission meetings which are called for the purpose of discussing the Commission’s appointments to the Redistricting Task Force. There was no public comment. Adopted UNANIMOUSLY.


C. Moved & seconded that the application shall ask applicants to:

(1)   Affirm that they conform with the minimum criteria, above;


(2)   Supply a statement that describes their interest in serving and their qualifications;


(3)   Affirm that they have enough time and flexibility to attend the meetings of the task force; and


(4)   A resume and/or letter of statement of interest and qualifications.


There was no public comment. Adopted UNANIMOUSLY.


D. Moved & seconded that the Commission President is authorized to create the Commission’s application for Commission appointments to the Redistricting Task Force, and to publish it as widely as possible; that the application period should open not later than March 28 and close on April 29, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.

Public comment: David Pilpel suggested that the application information include that the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor also have appointments to the task force and that their criteria, if any, might be different than the Commission’s criteria.

Motion adopted UNANIMOUSLY.


Director Arntz reminded the Commission that it has less than 120 days left.


New Business

10. Discussion and possible action to approve the Minutes of the February 16, 2011 full Commission Meeting.


Vote taken and was unanimous to approve Minutes of February 16, 2011  


11. Discussion regarding items for future agendas.

Adjourned at 8:25 p.m.



















Last updated: 2/3/2014 11:01:04 AM