It's never good when a campaign facing money-laundering charges has to stop and ask "which one?" Today's front-page Chronicle story -- slipping quickly off the SFGate page in favor of flash mobs, men who ride turtles, and web-only real estate slideshows -- alleges that one of the city's most notorious thugs commanded his employees to donate to Lee and then reimbursed them, intentionally evading campaign finance laws.
Whether Lee and his campaign are rotten or just the "victims" of unseemly well-wishers (again and again and again) remains to be seen. But Lee's supporters -- or, for that matter, Lee himself -- could shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die, and it'd be of no importance to more than 50,000 San Francisco voters.
Those would be by-mail voters -- and, per election department director
John Arntz, 48,700 of them have already cast their ballots. Since about
4,500 more ballots arrive every day -- a rate Arntz expects to nearly double by next week -- it's safe to assume thousands are already in the mail.
To put those numbers into context, the city has 467,927 registered voters. Of those, 202,256 vote by mail. If San Francisco manages a 50 percent turnout this time around -- around par for the course with a mayoral election -- then around half the by-mail voters and a quarter of all the voters you could expect have already weighed in.
As SF Weekly has noted before, the adage is "vote early and vote often." Barring yet another scandal, you can't do the latter. But you can certainly do the former, much to the benefit of the well-funded front-runner, Mayor Ed Lee.
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