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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

There Was an Election Last Night. As if You Gave a ****

Posted By on Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 8:03 AM

At least Coakley's people hit the streets. And that dude
  • At least Coakley's people hit the streets. And that dude

San Francisco, there was an election last night. And you went to the polls. Or at least some of you did. You also went to happy hour, the laundromat, or maybe the refrigerator.

Wherever you went, whatever you did, three out of four of you found something more interesting to do than voting. In other words: city voters made history last night, reacting to last night's primary election with record-breaking indifference.

click to enlarge indifference_thumb_500x418.jpg

The Department of Elections may still tweak the final numbers, but as of 11:17 p.m. last night, with all precincts reporting, only 23.7 percent of registered voters -- 104,616, to be exact -- had cast ballots. That's the lowest ever for an even-numbered June primary since 1960, the earliest year for which the city has records. Lowest. Ever. Turnout. Hold onto those "I Voted" stickers, kids: they may be collectors' items.

SF Weekly did not contact any officials for comments last night -- we also didn't go to their parties, so that's partially why -- but suffice to say the turnout is disappointing. And unexpected: turnout was going to be at least 35-to-40 percent, predicted political consultant Jim Ross.

Granted, there wasn't exactly an awful lot for a heavily Democratic town to sink its teeth into, with the most interesting primaries Republican, and only Santa Clarans receiving the honor to welcome the San Francisco 49ers AND expanded poker rooms to their constituencies (an aside: what a day to be in the South Bay! Almost enough to get one to buy in Sunnyvale... almost).

But just for context's sake, the last time voters said, "Aw, fuck it" in such droves in an election year -- as in a year with candidates, not just propositions on the ballot -- was 1994. But even then there was 32 percent turnout.

You've come a long way, San Francisco!

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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