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Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Proposition E
Election Day Voter Registration
County of San Francisco

Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 118217 / 47.21% Yes votes ...... 132189 / 52.79% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Arguments |

Shall the Charter be amended to establish Election Day voter registration specifically for municipal elections?

Summary Prepared by The Ballot Simplification Committee:
The Way It Is Now: State law requires individuals to register to vote at least 15 days before an election. Those who become U.S. citizens after the 15-day deadline may register to vote at least seven days before an election.

San Francisco holds municipal elections in odd-numbered years. At these elections, voters:

  • elect local candidates and
  • approve or reject local ballot measures.

San Francisco also conducts combined federal, state, municipal and district elections. These elections usually occur in even-numbered years and may include:
  • candidates for federal and state offices,
  • state ballot measures,
  • local ballot measures and candidates.

The same voter registration deadlines and procedures apply to all elections.

The Proposal: Proposition E would amend the Charter to establish "Election Day Voter Registration" specifically for municipal elections. There would be no advance registration deadline for these elections. San Francisco residents who are eligible to vote could register on Election Day, or anytime before the election, and cast a ballot in that election.

The 15-day registration deadline would continue to apply to all combined federal, state, municipal and district elections.

Fiscal Impact from The Controller of San Francisco:
City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition E:

Should the proposed Charter amendment be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would increase the cost of government, as estimated by the Department of Elections, by approximately $424,000 per election.

The proposed amendment would allow voters to register and vote in San Francisco's municipal elections up to and on Election Day. For all other federal, state and district elections the current law which requires registration 15 days in advance of the election would continue to apply. The Department of Elections would need to create new procedures, conduct poll worker training and print and distribute outreach and education materials to facilitate this process.

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Arguments For Proposition E Arguments Against Proposition E
Every eligible SAN FRANCISCAN who wants to vote should have the opportunity!

Proposition E would allow San Franciscans who are U.S. citizens and 18 years or older to register to vote on Election Day and cast a ballot for local elections.

Currently, voters have to register at least 15 days before an election. Every year, this unnecessary deadline disenfranchises thousands of potential voters.

No wonder that San Francisco's voter turnout for municipal (odd-year) elections is an embarrassment. The average turnout for the last ten municipal elections was just 37 percent!

Election Day Voter Registration has been a proven success in eight states.

  • It increases turnout by three to seven percent.
  • In 2008, the five states with the highest turnout all had Election Day Registration.
  • More than 1.5 million individuals used Election Day Registration to register and vote in the 2008 presidential election.
  • Research shows that allowing young people to register on Election Day will increase youth turnout in presidential elections by as much as 14 percentage points.

How it would work: Voters who register on Election Day will cast provisional ballots. The Department of Elections will verify a voter's eligibility before counting the ballot. This will ensure a safe and fair election with greater voter participation.

Democracy works best when more people participate. Prop E will increase voter turnout and youth engagement.

Vote yes on Prop E for Election Day Voter Registration.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu

Supervisor David Campos

Supervisor Carmen Chu*

Supervisor Chris Daly

Supervisor Bevan Dufty

Supervisor Eric Mar

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell

San Francisco Democratic Party

League of Women Voters of San Francisco

San Francisco League of Young Voters

  • For identification purposes only; author is signing as an individual and not on behalf of an organization.

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Vote No on Prop E

It is an Experiment We Can Not Afford Prop E is a costly mistake that will deprive critical funds to valuable programs and open the door to voter fraud. It is an unfunded mandate will undermine the legitimacy of elections in San Francisco.

Prop E Will Cost the City Critical Funds Prop E will cost the City at least $500,000 each election. At a time when San Francisco is cutting funds to critical social services and popular programs, Prop E's unfunded mandate will make the budget deficit worse and will not improve our election process or results.

Prop E Will Open the Door for Voter Fraud Prop E will cost the City more than just tax-payer dollars, it will cost us the legitimacy of our elections. Prop E kicks open the door for voter fraud. Unlike other proposals that require voters to produce identification and be checked against a statewide voter system, Prop E contains no such protections. The lack of safeguards in Prop E is an egregious oversight that jeopardizes the integrity of our elections.

Prop E is an Experiment that is Doomed to Fail

Please Join Us and Vote No on E

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier

Supervisor Sean R. Elsbernd

Vote No on E. It's an Experiment we Can't Afford. Proposition E is an experiment we cannot afford. It's costly, redundant and will open the door to widespread voter fraud.

Proposition E contains no protections against voter fraud. While some proposals require same-day voters to produce identification and be checked against a statewide voter system, Proposition E contains no safeguards. A one-county registration system cannot adequately verify whether someone's already voted or registered in another county.

Proposition E would establish two types of voter registration at the local level, creating chaos and at least $500,000 in new cost.

Proposition E would only allow same-day registration every other year, in exclusively municipal elections. The Controller says Proposition E will cost the General Fund an additional $500,000.

Proposition E adds another unfunded mandate. Every year, the proponents of this measure push for adequate funding for the public financing program. The Department of Elections continues its efforts to ensure every polling place is accessible for people with disabilities. San Francisco pays for postage on absentee ballots. Ranked choice voting requires added cost for tabulation.

Proposition E is an election mandate without a funding source.

Please join us in sending this bad idea back to the drawing board.

Vote No on E.

It is an experiment we cannot afford.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Why are the opponents distorting the facts? Are they afraid of more voters?

This is not an "experiment." Eight states and the District of Columbia already use Election Day registration. The five states with the highest turnout in 2008 all used Election Day registration. Both red and blue states are moving in this direction.

37% - the average turnout for the last 10 municipal-only elections in San Francisco. A troubling trend that we can reverse!

Don't let the opponent's fear-mongering distort facts:

  • Proposition E requires the same federally-mandated verification process already used in San Francisco for provisional ballots--the Department of Elections must verify a voter's eligibility before counting the ballot.
  • Election Day registration does not create "chaos." The Department of Elections verification process already checks against the Secretary of State's database -- that's standard operating procedure.
  • Election Day registration is not more expensive - Every dollar spent on an Election Day registrant will save money not spent on her or his future registration.
  • By attacking Prop E, opponents also signal their dislike for efforts that maximize voter registration and access to the polls.

Don't let conservative tactics stifle honest participation in our democratic process.

A cornerstone of American democracy is voter participation.

Please join us in voting YES ON PROPOSITION E for Election Day voter registration.

San Francisco League of Women Voters

San Francisco League of Young Voters

San Francisco Democratic Party

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu

Supervisors Dufty, Mar, Campos, Daly, Maxwell, and Mirkarimi

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Created: January 6, 2011 15:00 PST
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