Strong handling of voter turnout

While problems of ballot availability or design did erupt in neighboring Bay Area counties and Los Angeles, Examiner readers in San Francisco and on the Peninsula who turned out en masse for Super Tuesday had their votes tallied quickly and without glitches. To be honest, we are breathing a sigh of relief that local primaries went so well.

After The City’s embarrassing electoral meltdown in November, when it took a week to hand-count the results due to the state’s last-minute disqualification of our electronic voting machines, we could only hope for the best. But on Feb. 5, the Department of Elections rose to the challenge and provided a meaningful count by 11 p.m.

This time San Francisco precincts were fully prepared for a high turnout, having borrowed additional vote-counting equipment from Riverside County. There were also enough paper ballots for every voter, unlike the inexcusable foul-ups across Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties — where poll workers had to fall back on foreign language or sample ballots to meet demand.

It was an unaccustomed pleasure to experience California having major relevance in the presidential nominating process, and we would like more of that in the future. With hotly contested races for both the Democratic and Republican nominations, California voters participated in record-breaking numbers and proved they will take primary elections seriously when meaningful choices are at stake.

Now that California’s 2008 presidential primary is over, it is evident that moving up our date to Super Tuesday was largely a winner. True, we were on center stage and enjoyed major economy-boosting infusions of candidate TV-and-travel spending for only a week or so. And with the Democratic race still neck-and-neck, California might have had even greater impact if our primary were the grand finale of this year’s cycle. But such a wide-open campaign would have been impossible to predict any earlier.

Still it must be said that California’s earlier presidential primary was simply a sensible adaptation to a flawed process that encourages rival states to move their voting dates earlier and earlier. This forced candidates to begin campaigning for the White House almost 18 months before Election Day while frantically raising vast sums of money. There seems little value to this grueling ordeal, while the public is months away from paying real attention.

There must be a better way. Presidential campaigns ought to be shortened to a reasonable length, which could be done by federal law. Unlike Electoral College reform, a constitutional amendment is not required. Interesting suggestions have surfaced in the press recently. One workable possibility would be to mandate regional primaries (North, South, Central, West) held one month apart during the spring of election year, with each region taking turns going first.

General OpinionOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

After the pandemic hit, Twin Peaks Boulevard was closed to vehicle traffic, a situation lauded by open space advocates. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
New proposal to partially reopen Twin Peaks to vehicles pleases no one

Neighbors say closure brought crime into residential streets, while advocates seek more open space

Protesters rally at the site of a proposed affordable housing project at 2550 Irving St. in the Sunset District on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
Sunset District affordable housing discussion flooded with ‘scare tactics and hysteria’

Project would provide 100 units, some of which would be designated for formerly homeless families

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wore masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. 
Courtesy SFSD
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Rainy weather is expected in the coming week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Rainstorms, potential atmospheric river expected to drench Bay Area in coming week

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Multiple rainstorms, cold temperatures some… Continue reading

U.S. Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s powerful reading was among the highlights of Inauguration Day. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Inauguration shines light in this never-ending shade

Here’s to renewal and resolve in 2021 and beyond

Most Read