SF steps up efforts to combat voter fraud

San Francisco city leaders are reassuring voters that any reports of voter fraud will be investigated thoroughly.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has once again teamed up with the Elections Department to address any voting issues, and established a multi-lingual Election Fraud Hotline at (415) 551-9548 to make it easy for residents to report any voter fraud incident.

“We have an electoral system that works,” District Attorney George Gascon said at a news conference Tuesday announcing the efforts to combat voter fraud. “It is clean, contrary to some allegations that are going on nationally that the elections are rigged.”

Already, nearly 19 percent of voters have cast their ballot for next week’s election through either mail-in ballots or at City Hall, which is slightly less than the 2008 presidential election, an all-time record high for voter participation, Elections Department Director John Arntz said. He noted that as many as 65 percent of San Francisco’s eligible voters vote by mail.

Right now, City Hall is the only place where voters can go to cast their ballots. General election voting takes place Nov. 8.

Teams are already in place to investigate any reported incidents, city officials said.

“I think it would be very hard to swing an election because unless you had a highly coordinated effort to do so and I just don’t think the American political system lends itself to do that.” said San Francisco resident Ian Mcintyre, 33.

Voter fraud includes when voters use a fake identity, vote more than once, sell their votes or vote when they’re actually ineligible Other types of voter fraud include campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place or denying a voter who is registered to vote.

City officials said voters should report any incident where they feel intimidated or manipulated in some way in exercising their right to vote.

Claims of voter fraud have been made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. However, the Brennan Center for Justice, which conducts an ongoing voter fraud study, reported that voter fraud and voter impersonation happens rarely and is “effectively nonexistent.”

“The importance of the public’s confidence in the outcome of every election cannot be overstated,” Elections Department Director John Arntz said.

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San Francisco voters cast early ballots at City Hall on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. (Dan Chambers/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Patrick Fitzgerald

Patrick Fitzgerald is a news intern at the San Francisco Examiner. Being a Certified Financial Planning professional, Patrick viewed the Financial Crisis of 2008 as a watershed moment. It sparked his interest in journalism as a way to communicate issues affecting individual security and societal well being. Reach him at pfitzgerald@sfexaminer.com.

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