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April 20, 2011



Elections Commission Meeting

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm

City Hall, Room 408


Order of Business

1.      Call to Order 6:00 & Roll Call
President Richard Matthews, Commissioners, Rosabella Safont, Catalina Ruiz-Healy, Jill Rowe, Gerard Gleason arrived 6:15 and excused are Arnold Townsend and Vice President Winnie Yu.



2.      Welcome of Commissioner Jill B. Rowe, appointed by Public Defender Jeff Adachi to a five-year term which expires January 1, 2016.


President Matthews opened with a very warm welcome to Jill Rowe as a new Commissioner.  Commissioner Rowe said she is honored to serve as a commissioner, that she is an attorney working in business and real estate litigation in San Francisco.


3.      Announcements: None


Public Speaker David Pilpel welcomed the Commissioner and said it is the first time that he remembers that the women out number the men on the commission.



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




5.  Director’s Report:
The Director will update the Commission on matters pertaining to elections and the Department of Elections, including updates on activities of the divisions, plans and activities for upcoming elections or election-related functions, and budgetary matters.


Budget: the Department has been in conversation with the Mayor’s Office. There have been no changes since the Commission approved the budget in February 2011.


November Election: 32 candidates have filed a declaration of intent.  Nomination filing period is July 18 through August 12; this is actually when the candidates submit their paperwork and fees.

Saturday Voting:  The cost estimate still remains at $2.3 million.  The Department is actively pursuing information regarding the effect Saturday voting may have on working families, poll workers, polling places and the voter turnout.  Currently in search of a vendor that will conduct and produce a study regarding the criteria that were established the by ordinance.


Commissioner Matthews reiterated to Director Arntz that the design of the study and the exact questions used are of great interest to the Commission, and the Commission expects to be kept informed in the design of study and to have input if necessary. The Director acknowledged that he understood that interest.


Outreach: The Department has already posted frequently asked questions (FAQ) information in Chinese, and Spanish will be posted soon.  The waiver from the Secretary of State has been already posted which gives approval for the use of touchscreens for Saturday Voting.  A link has been added to the websites front pages that include results of the surveys that had been taken previously collecting information from poll workers and  people responsible for polling places, this information is shown using pie graphs.   


Department staff continue to meet once a week on an ongoing basis, working on logistics.   SF will have to borrow equipment from other counties being we do not have the necessary equipment available; will begin investigating tomorrow.  SF is able to use the touchscreens, however, each polling place will need to use two separate touchscreens—one on Saturday and another on Tuesday. Counties cannot use the optical scanner tabulators for Saturday voting.    July 8th is the deadline for the Controller to determine if sufficient funds are available for Saturday voting.  


Commissioner questions/comments on Saturday voting:  Commissioner Ruiz-Healy said she has a recommendation of an evaluator.  Commissioner Ruiz-Healy asked if Alex Tourk, a proponent for Prop I had been invited to the Department’s internal weekly meetings; President Matthews replied no these meetings are departmental planning. Commissioner Ruiz-Healy asked who is responsible to raise money to fund the Saturday voting; Director Arntz and President Matthews explained that the money will come from private sources and the City is not responsible for raising these funds.


Division Reports:   The Department has been working to make sure they have captured all cost associated with Saturday voting.  They have been working with Marin and Alameda counties; and are scheduled to meet next Tuesday to discuss processing the provisional ballots.   The Director hopes to have continued meetings to discuss any of their challenges.


Redistricting:  The Department is in the process of obtaining a consultant to assist with redistricting. The hope is to complete the hiring process by the time the Board of Supervisors convenes the task force.   The Director must have complete and submit his report by May 9, 2011 to the Board. The Board would then have 60 days to convene a task force, which would be July 6, 2011.  The Task Force will then be required to have its report completed by April 15, 2012.


Ballot Distribution: The Department has made changes to the size of the vote-by-mail envelope.  It will now be using letter size envelopes.  Letter size envelopes will require an additional fold in the ballot; however, this will save costs due to lower postage and will permit better tracking.  The envelope size for this November’s Saturday voting, if it occurs, have not yet been determined because this is much like Vote by Mail (VBM) having to be put into the envelopes.   Ballot remaking will be used.



Cost Analysis: The Department will be looking at potential cost savings with the use of the bar code on the VBM envelopes. This will allow separation of precincts and verifying of signatures. The Department will need the approval from the Mayor’s office. The Director’s goal is to have the majority of the VBM ballots already tabulated by Election Night for inclusion in the first results announced.  Plans are to adjust work shifts to make things run more efficiently.


Canvass: working to make the process and procedures work better, to complete the job sooner.



Campaign Services: The front desk is working with potential candidates who wish to file their declarations of intent.  On Tuesday, April 26, 2011 the ballot measure for a ban on male circumcision is the due.  July is the deadline for petitions for the proposed measure about employee retirement benefits.  On the website, information is provided to show the names of all the potential mayoral candidates who have submitted a declaration of intent.


Outreach: Information is on the website contacting high schools and colleges regarding a registration drive.  They have contacted San Francisco State and City College and are still waiting to hear from them.  Long term facilities and jails have been contacted.


Technology: They are working to try and have a mobile version of the Department’s website which will allow smart phone users to have access to the same voting/election information.


Poll Workers:  Saturday’s voting materials and procedures will have to be modified, and a new manual will be produced for Saturday voting, separate from the manual for Tuesday voting.


Precinct Services: currently working on the maps and information received from the Census Bureau.  SF will have fewer polling places in November, approximately 416, down from 576 in the past.  They are working to enhance the website using Google with Earth View to provide information about polling places.  The city is currently under a lot of construction, so the Department must be aware of changes that will affect voters on Election Day.  They are working to meet the needs of people with disabilities.  The front office is being modified to make it more accessible for people with disabilities.


Warehouse: The Department now has a manual regarding to what takes place at the warehouse.



6.   Commissioners’ Reports

President Matthews said that when he last checked the Department’s website for the old animation on ranked-choice voting, about a year ago, he did not see it. Director Arntz said that he believes it is still on the website.


Old Business


7.      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.


President Matthews referred the commissioners to the working document in April’s

Minutes item #9.

Public Speaker David Pilpel commented (a) that instead having the answers appear as yes/no perhaps having the statutes or codes that the answers were based on would be better for the general public to understand. (b) We need information from the controllers regarding the funds that have been collected. (c)  If the number of polling places is reduced does this mean that it can be conducted at a lower price?


Public Speaker Chris Bowman asked if there are any reporting requirements for contributors, at this time.  Deputy City Attorney Mollie Lee says that disclosures must be posted on the website within 10 days with the contribution. To date, no contributions have been received.   Director Arntz says the voters adopted Saturday Voting which requires that private contributor cover the cost. 


     President Matthews referred to a call he received from a caller from the Ingleside Light regarding redistricting, whom he referred to the relevant Charter sections.


8.      Discussion and possible action regarding the selection of the Elections Commission’s three appointees to the Redistricting Task Force, including the process for evaluating applicants, and choosing the three appointees. (Attachment: “Elections Commission Calls For Applications for Appointment to the Redistricting Task Force.”)


President Matthews said we have received applications from 7 applicants.


Public Speaker Chris Bowman said that the pool of applicants has been narrowed because of item 3 on the list of criteria, and believes it should have been worded differently.  President Matthews said that the Commission discussed and voted on the criteria at the last meeting, and had as its goal the prevention of political operators who were pursuing a particular agenda.


Public Speaker David Pilpel comments that at least two applicants had fallen under item 3 of the criteria.  


New Business

9.      Discussion and possible action to approve the Minutes of the March 16, 2011 Commission Meeting.

Vote was UNANIMOUS to approve


10.  Discussion regarding items for future agendas.


Commissioner Gerard Gleason announced that there will not be a Budget and Oversight of Public Elections meeting on May 4, 2011. 


Reminder that a special meeting is scheduled for Redistricting Task Force applicants on May 4, 2011 in Room 416 at 6:00pm.

Adjourned at 6:48 p.m.

Last updated: 4/30/2011 1:07:34 PM