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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Polls Uncrowded on Light Election Day Showing

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 1:10 PM

click to enlarge Maybe this is why people aren't showing up in droves to vote today...
  • Maybe this is why people aren't showing up in droves to vote today...

In a move that may well have pleased T.S. Eliot, San Francisco's electoral season appears to be ending not with a bang but a whimper.

Turnout at the polls thus far has been sluggish, according to the city's Department of Elections -- and the vote-by-mail numbers are not very impressive. By all means this could change with a surge of afternoon and evening voters and a bevy of last-minute vote-by-mail dropoffs. But, at this rate, a 50 percent turnout would be optimistic.

As of this morning, 69,749 vote-by-mail ballots had arrived at the Department of Elections. That's about a third of all the vote-by-mail ballots.

Barring a boost starting right about ... now! ... today's race will feature the low turnout predicted by politicos during the runup to election day and borne out by history. An elevated turnout among Chinese voters is all but certain -- but, at this point, the Department of Elections is unable to track where vote-by-mail ballots have hailed from or what precincts are turning up to vote in force.

With the mayoral contest requiring a Dewey Defeats Truman-level upset to prevent Mayor Ed Lee from coasting home on the middling support he maintained throughout the race, today's most contested candidate contest is for sheriff.

Keeping the realities of ranked-choice voting in mind, this race could be agonizing for its participants. Even if he finishes atop the heap today, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi could see second- and third-choice votes put competitors Paul Miyamoto or Chris Cunnie over the top in the coming days.

If either of them outpolls Mirkarimi today, the progressive supervisor's outlook is dire -- it figures that Cunnie and Miyamoto voters have more in common with each other than with Mirkarimi's backers.

Either way, there'll soon be a new sheriff in town. By next year, there could be a new voting system, too.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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