Proposition D would change election schedule

(S.F. Examiner)

Of all the items on the November ballot that will garner voter attention, a plan to realign the election schedule for citywide offices might get lost in the mix.

Proposition D would move the city attorney and treasurer races into the same cycle as contests for mayor, district attorney and sheriff. The measure, which was placed on the ballot by unanimous approval from all 11 members of the Board of Supervisors, has not drawn any funding for support or opposition.

As it stands now, the next mayoral race is scheduled for 2015 and the next city attorney race will take place in 2013. If Proposition D passes, the city attorney and treasurer races would take place as scheduled in 2013, but winners would serve only two-year terms until another election year in 2015. The winners of the 2015 races would serve four-year terms thereafter.

If the realigned schedule had existed in 2011, City Attorney Dennis Herrera would not have been able to seek re-election to his own office in addition to a run for mayor, which he pursued.

Supervisors support the measure as a strategy to save an estimated $1 million annually on election administration. A statement in opposition to the measure on the November ballot says it would result in no cost savings and allow for fewer citywide election sessions, therefore drawing less attention on City Hall
corruption.

Corey Cook, a University of San Francisco political science professor, said a new format could help boost voter turnout during historically less observed elections.

Cook noted that the lowest-ever turnout for a San Francisco election — 16 percent — was in the initial races when Herrera was first elected in 2001, prior to The City’s ranked-choice voting system. Once the race was narrowed down to two candidates, 29 percent of registered voters participated.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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