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Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Proposition I
Saturday Voting
County of San Francisco

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 150701 / 59.29% Yes votes ...... 103486 / 40.71% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Arguments |

Shall the City open polling places on the Saturday before the November 2011 election if donors contribute enough money to pay for the costs?

Summary Prepared by The Ballot Simplification Committee:
The Way It Is Now: The City holds municipal elections on Tuesdays. After the November 2010 election, the next regularly scheduled municipal election is Tuesday, November 8, 2011. This election will include contests for Mayor, District Attorney and Sheriff. It may also include local ballot measures.

On Election Day, the City operates hundreds of polling places throughout San Francisco where voters may vote in person or return vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots. Before Election Day, voters may vote early by:

  • voting in person at a City Hall polling place that opens 29 days before the election, or
  • mailing a vote-by-mail ballot to the Department of Elections.

The Proposal: Proposition I would create a Saturday Voting Fund (the Fund) to pay for operating polling places on the Saturday before the November 8, 2011, election. This is a pilot program that would be funded solely by individuals and organizations. All donations would be listed on the Department of Elections website.

Proposition I would require the City to open all polling places on the Saturday before the November 2011 election if the Fund received enough money to cover its costs, as determined by the Controller. Polling places would be open on both Tuesday and Saturday for the November 2011 election.

After the November 2011 election, the measure would require the Department of Elections to prepare a report about Saturday voting that includes the effect on voter turnout, impact on working families and educational benefits.

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

Should the proposed measure be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it will affect the cost of government in that the City would accept donations to fund the cost of Saturday voting, and would expend funds for that purpose.

The measure creates a Saturday Voting Fund and requires that the City provide for voting on Saturday November 3, 2011 before the scheduled election on Tuesday November 8, 2011. Saturday voting would occur only if sufficient donations are collected to cover the cost of operating the polls on that day. Based on the current cost of conducting elections, the estimated added cost of operating polling places on a Saturday would be approximately $1.7 million. The Department of Elections would be required to report on the effects of Saturday voting and the City is urged but not required to provide for Saturday voting in future elections if Saturday voting improves voter turnout and other outcomes.

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Arguments For Proposition I Arguments Against Proposition I
One hundred and fifty years ago, America chose to hold elections on Tuesdays.


In 1845, Americans lived in a mostly agrarian society, and people traveled by horse and buggy into main squares to conduct their official business. Tuesday was declared the official voting day to make it easier for farmers to get to a polling place without interfering with their religious practices.

Now, Americans are still voting on Tuesdays even though less than 2% of the population lives on a farm. Countries around the globe hold their elections on the weekend to maximize participation. U.S. voters are at the bottom of the totem poll in turnout of eligible voters, placing 132nd out of 179 developed countries. Voters, meanwhile, cite work, childcare and scheduling conflicts as reasons they don't vote in weekday elections.

We hope to change that.

Proposition I will extend opportunities to vote by providing a full scale, citywide election on the Saturday before the Tuesday mayoral election in November 2011. This is only adding a day to prove the efficacy of weekend voting, nothing will be taken away.

This pilot program will have no cost to taxpayers, and all contributions will be publicly disclosed. Our goal is to increase voter turnout by bringing Saturday voting to San Francisco and spark a national conversation about voting in America.

If voting were available on a Saturday, we believe more families would participate. This initiative will help give families the opportunity to include their children in the most important of civic duties, voting.

Our current system is antiquated, and if we, as San Franciscans and as Americans, want to increase access to the democratic process and create genuine election reform, we need to change the system.

Vote "YES" on Prop I.

Alex Tourk, Founder, Why Tuesday San Francisco

Rebuttal to Arguments For

In the June 8th Primary Election, the majority of San Francisco voters did not vote in their local precincts: They cast absentee ballots!:

Some mailed in their ballots.

Some had their ballots delivered to the precincts by family members.

Some went down to City Hall as much as 30 days before the election to vote.

There is really no need for opening voting precincts on both Saturday and Tuesday.

Most San Franciscans have already made their wishes clear. They like to absentee vote!

Proposition I is a "pilot program" that San Francisco residents don't want nor need.

Should the voting precincts be opened on Saturday, there will most likely be one or two voters per hour...a massive waste of resources.

Dr. Terence Faulkner, J.D., County Central Committeeman*

Doo Sup Park, State Senate Nominee

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

In the June 8, 2010 Primary Election some 59% of San Francisco voters cast absentee ballots.

Many elections in Oregon are now conducted by mail. An extra day of precinct voting would be a big economic waste.

Holding elections on Saturday causes problems for a number of major religious minorities.

There is no reason for having election precincts open on both Saturday and Tuesday.

A much better case can be made for converting San Francisco entirely to absentee elections by mail...which seems to be a growing national trend.

Dr. Terence Faulkner, J.D., Chairman of Citizens Against Tax Waste

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Join the Democratic Party - Vote Yes on I.

While 59% voted by mail in the June 8 primary, only 34% of registered voters participated in the overall election.

We are not suggesting there be any changes to absentee voting. Our efforts are centered around changing an antiquated system of hosting elections on Tuesday, which is a barrier to increased participation, specifically for working families.

We are asking the public to approve a pilot program adding a Saturday election at no taxpayer expense to prove the efficacy of weekend voting.

Countries around the world vote on the weekends and have much higher turnout rates than we do here in the United States.

In addition, we are attempting to inspire people to get more involved in the democratic process and include our children to stress the importance of civic engagement.

While we are connected globally through the internet, many of us still do not know our neighbors. This is an effort to encourage people to come out on a Saturday, include our children in the process and educate them about the importance of having their voices heard, and most importantly, strengthen our community.

This pilot does not take anything away. The Tuesday election will remain, as will absentee ballots, as well as voting at City Hall 29 days before the election. A chance is all we ask.

Let us prove that San Francisco can lead the way in changing elections in America.

Alex Tourk

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Created: January 6, 2011 15:00 PST
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