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As SF ‘feels the Bern’ and touts #ImWithHer, turnout numbers strong

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Pilates instructor Christine Szymanski shows off her support for presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders after she voted at City Hall on Sunday. (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)

From the state senate to the Democratic presidential primary, it’s still anyone’s race in San Francisco.

The benefit to all this competition though may be in the turnout, the newest ballot numbers show — as early San Francisco voter turnout stays about on par with the last presidential primary.

Based on the most recent numbers from the Department of Elections eData tool, more than 92,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been returned to San Francisco so far.

That’s short of the total 110,217 vote by mail ballots reported in San Francisco’s February 2008 presidential primary with President Barack Obama, but there’s still much counting and voting left to do.

Notably, political consultant Jim Ross told the San Francisco Examiner, today and Tuesday could see a surge of mailed votes making their way to the Department of Elections.

“For primary elections, this is going to be a high turnout election,” Ross said, estimating turnout to break 60 percent of voters. Because California is a genuine battleground between Democrat primary contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, he said, voters are more willing to show up — in a big way.

Ross said The City may not hit the 64.75 percent turnout of 2008, however.

“Is this going to be a 2008 level? I don’t think you can project that,” he said, because more people voted by mail in recent elections than they did in 2008.

“We might have an election day drop off,” he said.

City Hall is open to early-voting in person. Its own polling places are mostly on par with 2008’s presidential primary turnout, though 500 more ballots were cast this year so far than February 28 at the same time. The most recent data available, Sunday, showed 3,333 ballots cast at City Hall so far.

That energy translated to City Hall itself, as early voters buzzed about in the basement under the dome.

Wendy Truong an accountant from the Excelsior District, said she was tuned into the primary because “the Democrats have two people fighting.”

Dahara Murillo is a public school teacher who lives near the Panhandle. She’s a Sanders supporter and said she was excited to vote after she attended an “incredibly powerful” Sanders rally.

Christine Szymanski, a pilates instructor and 21-year San Francisco resident was feelin’ the Bern, sporting her Vote for Bernie Sanders sticker proudly as she walked out of City Hall after voting.

“I’m inspired, I think he’s spot on. He has grand ideas,” she said, but, “you need to start with grand ideas.”

John Johnson, a 43-year San Francisco resident and a retiree, said the primary’s importance in California “is rare” in his experience.

Leaving City Hall with a smile, he mirrored the Berner’s excitement, but for Hillary. “She has the strongest record,” he said.

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  • Guest

    San Francisco voters … dumb and dumber!