Low turnout in SF’s off-year election

A near-historic-low number of voters made a key decision on development in San Francisco on Tuesday, according to early election results.

Just more than 95,000 votes had been counted by 10:30 p.m. Tuesday — just under 22 percent of registered voters — with an unknown amount of vote-by-mail ballots as well as votes cast at the polls Tuesday left to be counted, Elections Department director John Arntz said.

The race was on an off-year with no competitive candidate races in the citywide races for assessor-recorder, city attorney and treasurer. In the Board of Supervisors District 4 race, incumbent Katy Tang faced just one challenger on the ballot.

The only contested ballot measures of the four before voters were Propositions B and C, referendums on development, so turnout was always going to be low, political analyst David Latterman said. And that played to the anti-development forces’ advantage.

“The regular, ‘habitual’ voters who reliably turn out in this type of election are more likely to favor progressives and are predisposed to distrust development,” said Jason McDaniel, a professor of political science at San Francisco State University.

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