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April 18, 2012

Draft Minutes

Elections Commission Meeting

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.

City Hall, Room 408

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

                                                                                       San Francisco, California 94102

1.  The meeting was called to order by President Gleason at 6:10 p.m.

            PRESENT: President Gleason, Vice President Rowe, and Commissioners Matthews, Ruiz-Healy, Safont, and Yu.

            ABSENT: Commissioner Townsend (excused)

            ALSO ATTENDING: Director John Arntz and Dep. City Attorney Mollie Lee

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


3.  Approval of Minutes of the March 21, 2012 Elections Commission Meeting. 

      Tabled at the order of President Gleason

4.  Director’s Report


The Director met with its analyst from the Mayor’s budget office about the Department’s new time-tracking system the Department has implemented. The system will gather data which will then help with budget and administration. Few other department appears to be using such detailed staffing and budget systems similar to the Department’s. This system is, among other things, expected to help show the Mayor’s Office what the Department does.


RFID tags will soon be installed in many devices and documents, such as voting machines and even rosters, as well as other piece parts. The use of this technology will be analyzed after the election to see what it does tell us and what it could tell us if used differently in the future.


Administration: Currently, lots of planning for the June and the November elections, making sure that the work flow and the budget will last through this election.


Ballot distribution: readying for canvass after the election as well as working with the Sheriff Department and Department of Parking & Traffic regarding gathering the various voting equipment pieces from the polling places on election night.


The write-in period for the June election is open and ends May 22.  Currently, there are no registered write-in candidates. 


April 25th is the deadline for applications to the Election Observation Panel. There are several applications so far.


Phone Bank: right now focusing on Chinese and other non-English languages. It looks like it will be staffed appropriately for June, but concerned about November.


Outreach: The new person in charge is getting her feet wet. The slogan “Be a Voter” has been used in a new poster in several languages, based on research from Stanford and the JFK School of Government. It will be used in posters in public places, sides of buses, and community centers. The posters will also direct people to the Department website for an explanation of California’s new open primary system (in which the top two vote-getters will run against each other in the general election in November, regardless of party). They have about 100 presentations currently scheduled in all major languages used in San Francisco.


Precinct Services: Only needs about 4 more polling places for the June election. They have started re-precincting the city based on the final map from the Redistricting Task Force. The Department will not print the big maps with precinct lines on them until after the June election. Those maps, as before, will incorporate the state legislative boundaries as well.  The precinct numbers will change, as they will continue to contain information about supervisorial district as well as state assembly district.


Voter Services: Sent approximately 75,000 – 80,000 postcards to registered Democrats informing them of their option to “crossover” vote in the primary elections for either the Peace & Freedom or American Independent parties. (The Republican party does not permit primary voters who are not registered with that party.) Approximately 10,000 voters responded, wishing to participate in either of those two party primaries.


The Voter Information Pamphlets in English are due to go in the mail the week of April 22, with the Spanish and Chinese versions to be finished in early May. As always, the versions are posted online as soon as they are finished.


Public comment: David Pilpel asked where the Department is on staffing, whether on track for recruiting and retention. He also asked how election planning is affected by estimates of lower voter turnout.


5.  Commissioners’ Reports


Commissioner Matthews complimented Deputy City Attorney Mollie Lee on the brief she drafted for the Department in the current litigation of All of Us or None et al. v. The Secretary of State of California and the San Francisco Department of Elections. He said it was well written, well argued, and a nice piece of lawyering.


6.  Commissioner Matthews moved to request a Waiver Allowing City Employees to Assist the Department of Elections with the June 5, 2012 Consolidated Primary Election, per San Francisco Charter Section 13.104.5.

Seconded by Commissioner Ruiz-Healy. Vote was UNANIMOUS to approve.


7.   Commissioner Matthews moved to approve the Election Plan for the June 5, 2012 Consolidated Primary Election, per San Francisco Charter Section 13.103.5.

Seconded by Commissioner Rowe.

Commissioner Rowe as chair of the Budget and Oversight of Public Affairs Committee reported that BOPEC heard the Director’s report about the election plan at its April 4 meeting, asked questions of the Director, and voted unanimously to forward the election plan to the full Commission with a recommendation to approve.


Public comment: David Pilpel said the election plan continues to be an excellent document serving the purpose of explaining all the various election processes. He said he heard the US Postal Service has been late delivering mail all over, and hopes the Department of Elections is redoubling efforts with the USPS to ensure election materials and ballots will not get stuck in the system.


Vote was UNANIMOUS to approve.

8.   President Gleason moved that the Commission send its three appointees  to the Redistricting Task Force letters of commendation and appreciation for their service; the President will draft and send the letters.

Seconded by Commissioner Matthews.


Public Comment: David Pilpel, one of the Commission’s appointees to the RTF, announced that the final map had been recently sent to Director Arntz with copies to the Elections Commission. He thanked the Commission for the opportunity to serve on the RTF, which he found challenging and yet ultimately collaborative. He expressed concern about the disparity of the number of registered voters between supervisorial districts 3 and 8, a difference of some 19,000 voters. He said the RTF made some effort toward reducing the number of ballot types necessary, but perhaps not as successfully as he had hoped. He finally said that he didn’t think the RTF splintered into factions along political lines as its predecessor did in 2002, but stayed rational and respectful.


9.  CLOSED SESSION.  6:48 p.m.


Closed Session was held pursuant to Brown Act section 54957(b) and Sunshine Ordinance section 67.10(b) to discuss annual performance evaluation of a public employee.


Public Comment Prior to Closed Session: David Pilpel stated that John Arntz is doing a fine job as Director and he hopes that will be reflected in the Commission’s review.  He also stated that it is important for the Commission to evaluate its employees and he encouraged the Commission to conduct performance reviews on a regular basis.



Director of Elections John Arntz

Commission Acting Secretary Gail Hilliard


Returned from Closed Session at 8:02 p.m.

10.   Moved by Commissioner Matthews: The Elections Commission finds that it is in the best interest of the public not to disclose its closed session deliberations regarding the performance evaluations of the Director of Elections and the Acting Commission Secretary.

Seconded by Commissioner Ruiz-Healy.

No public comment.

Vote was UNANIMOUS to adopt.


Adjourned at 8:08 p.m.



Last updated: 2/3/2014 2:17:39 PM