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August 17, 2011

Approved MINUTES       

Elections Commission Meeting

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm

City Hall Room 408


Order of Business

1.      Call to Order at 6:00 p.m.


Present: President Richard Matthews, Commissioners Gerard Gleason, Arnold Townsend, Jill Rowe, Catalina Ruiz-ealHealy HHealy.

Excused absence: Commissioner Winnie Yu. 

Also present: Director Arntz and Deputy City Attorney Mollie Lee



2.      Announcements: None



3.      Public comment on any issue within the Elections Commission’s general jurisdiction not included in any other item on this agenda:  None



4.   Director’s Report:

Director Arntz reiterated that for the November 8th election the filing deadlines have passed for mayor, sheriff and the district attorney.  There are currently 16 candidates for the mayor’s race, 5 for the district attorney’s and 4 for the sheriff’s plus 8 measures, 2 bonds, 2 charter amendments, 2 ordinances and 1 declaration of policy.


Front Office- The department is now involved in providing material for public inspections,

the time that the public has the opportunity to obtain candidate information. The public will also

have time to go over the draft ballot and voter information pamphlet descriptions of ballot

measures provided by the Ballot Simplification Committee. Challengers can petition the superior

courts to obtain a writ to force any changes to this ballot language if they desire.


Workers – The department hired back some of the experienced temporary workers that have

been already trained in various jobs.  The department has approximately 100,000 signatures on

petitions that all require verification.


Precinct Services - The department is moving to a new data base called Elections Management

System (EMS), which has been installed during the last few weeks.  Employees have been

training and the system is scheduled to go live next week.


Ballot Distribution – Department is currently working on two special elections the Fillmore

Community Benefits Election and the West Portal.  The Fillmore Community Benefits election

will last until 9/13/2011 and West Portal until 9/27/2011, these elections are for property owners

that are voting for taxes to provide extra services in the community.   In the process of having the

procedures for Vote By Mail to have the report in by the following Friday after elections day.


Canvass – The department’s plans are to have the election certified by Thanksgiving, which is

earlier than usual. 


Public comment:  Public speaker David Kerry suggested it is important to have

transparency.  He feels that the public should be given prompt information when it pertains to

voting totals . Public speaker Roger Donaldson of San Francisco Voting Systems Task Force

suggested that more disclosure is better and transparency is what the public should have. The

Department intends to release results on election night that includes all the Vote by Mail ballots

received before Election Day. 


Campaign Services – The department is focusing on nomination process the deadline to submit

paid arguments is August 22, 2011 at noon.  Secretary of State will assign the random alpha

drawing to the measures tomorrow.


Outreach – Ranked Choice voting will be including advertising on billboards, bus stops and

other types of media.  We are attempting to reach the voters to educate and dispel

 misinformation they have regarding ranked choice voting (RCV) that its best to mark the same

candidate as  1st, 2nd and 3rd choice.  The department has expanded the use of modern technology

to allow the public to use their smartphones to get various kinds of information, including their

precinct information as well as whether their VBM ballot was mailed out or received back at the

department.  The Department’s vendor has developed software that allows tracking of Vote by

Mail ballots which indicates when ballots were assembled, mailed and received by the

department.  Commissioner Rowe inquired if this will allow others to get information on other

voters.  Director Arntz replied that that is the case, that this is not confidential information.  


5.  Commissioners’ Reports


Commissioner Gleason gave a brief recap of the August 3, 2011 Budget and Oversight of Public Elections Committee Meeting.  Steven Hill of the New America Foundation spoke at the BOPEC meeting regarding RCV and when totals should be released.  Commissioner Gleason stated the Commission’s view of when and how this information should be released. Currently, there is no policy set which dictates when it must be released.  Director Arntz explained that the department is not prepared to release anything about RCV contests on elections night beyond the first-choice results, that it is possible information can be released the following day by 4:00pm saying this is preliminary.   Commissioner Rowe states that at the BOPEC meeting it was discussed that it is not practical for the Elections Department to release tabulated results on elections night because the process requires siginificant work by the Department, and could lead to errors following a very long work day.   Commissioner Matthews inquired exactly what information could be released on elections night.   Director Arntz says the 1st choice these totals are on a different module, all other 2nd and 3rd choice must be run through an algorithm and totals can be released on both Thursday and Friday.  The department will have a large screen on display outside the office that he can show the totals that are most current keeping in mind that any information must be made to at the same time. All votes should be counted by this time with the exception of some provisional votes. Commissioner Matthews inquired if there was anyway not to have the candidates listed in bold print until it has been determined that they are the winner.  Director Arntz was not sure if this could be obtained, it may be hardwired by the vendor it may or may not be possible he will have to research and get back with this information.  



President Matthews said that there would be a draft policy about the release of results in RCV contests ready for the September meeting.


Old Business


6.      Discussion and possible action to adopt policy related to the release of voting data in ranked-choice voting contests after elections, including the timing of releases and format of data. This topic was referred to the Budget and Oversight of Public Elections Committee. Commissioner Gleason reports that BOPEC meeting that it was suggested to move Friday back to Wednesday for reporting totals and have the website final summary investigated or discuss the way the information was reported at last election.     




New Business

7. Discussion and possible action to approve the Minutes of the June 15, 2011 Commission


Vote taken and was unanimous to approve minutes of June 15, 2011            


8.   Discussion regarding items for future agendas.  None

Adjourned at 7:01 pm.






Last updated: 11/21/2011 2:22:01 PM