If you're following election coverage from other states, you've probably seen reports of long lines and lengthy wait times to vote. That's not the case in San Francisco. A quick look at the SF Elections map helps explain why.
The city is carpeted with polling places, and many San Franciscans receive mail-in ballots ahead of the vote. Currently, almost all polling places have no wait—although they may get busier as the workday ends.
"I moved here from Colorado, (and) what I find amazing is how many polling places there are," poll worker Tom Japhet told The Standard at the polling place in St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
— Matthew Kupfer
Social justice murals can be found all over the Latino Cultural District in the Mission District, but a rare “No on Prop. 1” poster was spotted Tuesday afternoon at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Prop. 1 would add the right to abortion and contraceptive use to the California constitution.
— Kevin Nguyen
Election Day can be stressful—especially when it’s the fourth one in a calendar year. If you’re freaking out about the fate of a 244-year-old democracy or just really invested in yet another ballot measure regarding dialysis, you might want a nice diversion. Here are some nonpartisan tweets to take a quick breather before we jump back into the fray.
— Peter-Astrid Kane
Delia Cullen, an 84-year-old city resident, voted today at a garage at 483 Ellington St. with conservative issues on her mind. She said the city spends too much money on programs for the homeless when it should be funding schools and transit.
It’s practically a San Francisco tradition: opening a polling place in a residential garage. For real estate manager Samuel Palmer, this is at least his 10th time hosting one at his Potrero Hill home—he’s lost count. So, what’s kept Palmer returning for more?
“Democracy,” he said. “If you still believe in democracy, I kinda still believe you have to do this.”
Oh yeah. One more reason: “My wife and I are forced to tidy up our garage,” he adds with a laugh. Around 10 people have filled out ballots in person, while over 30 have dropped mail-in ballots into the ballot box.
— Matthew Kupfer
Isabel A. and Mitsumi S. are both seniors at Lincoln High School participating in their first-ever election. They said they were recruited to work this cycle when county staff visited their civics class.
Neither will be able to vote until next year, but when they do, but they said they will become the first in their families to do so.
“Next election,” Isabel said, “we will finally have a voice.”
Supervisors Gordon Mar and Matt Dorsey were both out early this morning, dodging raindrops as they urged their fellow constituents to head to the polls. But despite all the election excitement, being a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors remains a job. The supes just called a short recess before voting on Supervisor Dean Preston's resolution to keep the Tenderloin Center open until replacement services, meaning Mayor London Breed's planned "wellness hubs," are open and available.
— Mike Ege
We spoke to two young voters at UCSF’s Office of Communications, which is serving as a polling location today, about the issues they care about.
Meagan Harms, a 25-year-old clinical research coordinator at UCSF, and Ian Oh, a 23-year-old UCSF worker, shared what had driven them to the polls today.
— Jesse Rogala
Erica Sandberg, an independent reporter, wore a statement dress with the words “Defund the Dealers” to the party at John’s Grill. She said the attire was motivated by the open-air drug dealing that has become prevalent in San Francisco’s downtown core.
— Josh Koehn
In a speech to her campaign team in the middle of what is shaping up to be a long Election Day, District 6 candidate Honey Mahogany said that this is a “really low turnout election” and stressed the importance of the campaign’s voter mobilization effort.
"Make sure to eat your lunch,” she added, gesturing to the stacks of Costco pizza boxes. “We still have seven hours to go.”
But Mahogany, who also serves as the chair of the local Democratic Party, was not only concerned about winning District 6.
“I’m very concerned about what’s going to happen federally," Mahogany said, speaking to the major phone-banking efforts dedicated to flipping House and Senate seats blue—and the impact that could ultimately have on the local level. "This election could lead to big consequences for San Francisco on how welcoming a place this city can be, especially at this time like this when people might be seeking refuge in California.”
— Kevin Truong
Willie Brown’s annual luncheon at John’s Grill brought out some of the most prominent elected officials in San Francisco and beyond. Mayor London Breed, House Rep. Jackie Speier, state Sen. Scott Wiener, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins and Supervisor Ahsha Safaí were among the 200 or so attendees to make an appearance Tuesday afternoon.
The who’s who of local elected officials sipped drinks, nibbled on eclairs and rubbed elbows with supporters. District Attorney Brooke Jenkins was all smiles greeting partygoers and said she felt optimistic about her chances for victory: “Like any candidate, I’m nervous, but I’ve been feeling the support everywhere we go.”
— Josh Koehn & Annie Gaus
One of the most consistently busy places to vote today is at San Francisco City Hall, though that’s not the only activity taking place there. People are also getting married. Whatever the outcome of today's elections, it appears that this couple—who we caught kissing outside of City Hall after tying the knot—will look back fondly on Nov. 8, 2022.
At least we hope so!
Inside City Hall’s polling site, voters were “hyper-focused on filling out their ballots,” said Standard photographer Ben Fanjoy. This election’s ballot is five pages long.
"The voter information pamphlet that we've produced, it's rather large: It's over 250 pages, which is one of the biggest [...] we've had for a pamphlet in the city's history," John Arntz, the San Francisco Director of Elections, told ABC7 in a recent interview.
Fanjoy counted approximately 50 polling stations, of which at least half were in-use. Some voters said they were dropping by during their lunch breaks. Others, adorned in billowing ponchos, had made their ways to the central polling place through the rain.
City Hall’s polling center is meant to serve as a universal, central location to “drop off mail-in ballots, vote in-person, get a replacement ballot, get language assistance and even still register to vote through Election Day,” according to ABC7.
— Sophie Bearman
Nate Allbee, the strategist for the Honey Mahogany District 6 campaign, said his team has worked hard at laying the groundwork for a successful Election Day push.
The campaign has created a database of addresses with likely Mahogany voters and has mobilized a wide-scale effort. The campaign’s Election Day get-out-the-vote strategy included a pre-dawn drop of campaign materials in key buildings and areas followed up by an in-person door-knocking campaign.
“It’s been a busy day,” Allbee said between hurried bites of a makeshift lunch. “Basically everyone that comes in we’re directly sending out to make sure we get out our voters.”
— Kevin Truong
Incumbent Supervisor Gordon Mar, who’s running for reelection in District 4, started his day early to campaign in the Sunset District—in the pouring rain.
He and his supporters, including his twin brother, former Supervisor Eric Mar, juggled signs and umbrellas along a busy commercial corridor for visibility. Later in the morning Mar returned to his campaign headquarters on Noriega Street for a phone-banking session.
Mar is expected to attend Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, as usual. That starts at 2 p.m. this afternoon.
— Han Li
When a voter comes in, poll workers check the roster to determine whether they are registered in the precinct. If so, they receive a ballot, fill it out and then feed it into a voting machine, according to Tom Japhet, a poll worker at St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in precinct 7611. “We don’t handle the ballot," he said of ballots cast by voters registered in the precinct. "It goes into the machine."
If the voter isn’t registered in the precinct, they can fill out a provisional ballot and then place it in a red ballot box.
Additionally, voters with mail-in ballots can come in and drop their completed ballots in the box.
Back in June, The Standard watched how ballots are processed with the help of a number of nifty machines. See the TikTok below for more on that.
@sfstandard Did you vote by mail in San Francisco? Ever wonder how your ballot actually gets counted? It involved a lot of machinery, including a high-speed scanner. Check it out. 📨 #sanfrancisco #electionday #election #voting #ivoted #civicparticipation #cityhall #sfstandard #political #politics #news #vote #recall #sf #sfnews #bayarea #tiktok #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #thisisforyou ♬ The Final Countdown (Originally Performed by Europe) [Instrumental Version] - Hit The Button Karaoke
Finally, noncitizens can receive an educational ballot to vote for the school board. If they’re registered in the precinct, they feed the ballot into the machine. If not, it’s a provisional ballot.
This is Japhet’s second time working an election. For years, he voted and saw poll workers doing the important work of democratic elections.
“I’m now retired, so I have time,” he said, standing in front of a flag of Ukraine in the church’s auditorium. “It’s a chance for me to give back to the community.”
— Matthew Kupfer
Gov. Gavin Newsom took to Twitter this morning to implore voters to "Vote vote vote vote vote vote vote"—that's seven "votes" for those keeping a tally.
The former mayor of San Francisco also used his Twitter account to remind unregistered citizens of the Golden State that they can still cast a ballot today, as California is one of 22 states that allows same-day voter registration.
— Nick Veronin
Poll workers at the San Francisco Fire Department HQ say they’ve seen an uptick of in-person voters when compared to some of the previous elections this year (today's casting of ballots is the fourth of 2022).
One common reaction from voters has been surprise at the sheer size of the ballot.
"Definitely feels like a lot of people have come in thinking it’s going to be a five-minute thing and they end up standing there for 30 minutes or more,” said poll worker Michael Ellison.
— Kevin Truong
In the dimly lit polling place at the SOMArts Cultural Center, voting is going slowly.
“It’s not busy so far. Because it’s raining, it literally put a damper on things,” said poll worker Frank Bynam. This is his fifth time working as a poll worker in roughly two years. “From experience, it tends to be most busy when people get off work."
When a field election deputy of the Department of Elections dropped in, the poll workers took the opportunity to ask him a few questions.
“There are a lot of bits and pieces to process [the ballots] correctly,” said poll worker Wendy, who declined to give her last name. “That’s why we’re reading the manual.”
The visit of the elections employee gave them a chance to ask questions, rather than searching through the manual, she said.
— Matthew Kupfer
It’s never too early for chill vibes and live music—at least on Election Day. Politicos like state Sen. Scott Wiener, Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safaí broke bread and dipped into mimosas at the Ballots and Beignets event held by State Assemblymember Matt Haney.
Haney is technically on the ballot, but vanquished his opponent in an earlier election in April. “It’s a great way to start the morning, great vibes and great company,” Safaí said.
— Kevin Truong
When we checked in with Joel Engardio—incumbent District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar's challenger—he said he'd been standing at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Ortega Street in the rain since 8 a.m.—and he had the soaked sneakers to prove it.
Despite the soggy weather and some less-than-friendly passersby, Engardio remained in high spirits.
“We’ve run the best campaign possible, and we feel like our message resonated with Sunset residents,” Engardio said. Just then, a man in a Black Audi blared his horn and flipped off the candidate. Engardio and his supporters laughed and waved.
As the downpour picked up, Engardio supporter Frances Tai began waving her bubble wand more.
“The weather is not dampening us at all. That’s how much we want this,” she said with a cheery smile as she explained why she was supporting Engardio. “You see all this graffiti; you see all this homelessness. I'm just so tired of the same corruption.”
— Olivia Cruz Mayeda
According to Twitter, John Hamasaki—who is challenging Brooke Jenkins, the appointed incumbent district attorney—is also out in the drizzle this morning urging voters to choose him over his opponent. District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston joined Hamasaki.
Republicans are striving to flip some California districts red in their bid to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. But the GOP would have a likely insurmountable challenge in flipping SF in the near future, even in the event that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi steps down.
Sixty-three percent of San Francisco voters are Democrats, narrowly edging out neighbors Marin County (62%) and Alameda County (60%).
Not all San Franciscan’s votes are spoken for, however. A quarter of registered voters chose not to elect a party preference. Only Santa Clara County has a larger share of independent voters (28%).
— Noah Baustin
By the way, we ran a poll in the run-up to today’s election, and asked residents about, well, a bunch of issues. We covered San Franciscans’ attitudes about the performance of elected officials, how crime influences views on law and order, why homelessness persists, the tech sector's take on Downtown, the clout of Asian voters and what we still love about living here, even in tough times.
Take a look through our findings and see if they align with how you voted.
— Sophie Bearman
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins is not in her typical campaign gear. An early rainy morning meant trading her usual office wear for a matching red hoodie and red sneakers. But the getup is fitting, particularly when she shared her good luck ritual: watching Sylvester Stallone beat the pants off Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.
"I would never have predicted that this would have ever been my life,” she said about her first-ever election. “As I’m standing here I feel optimistic, but of course nervous. Overall, though, I feel like everyone in the city has been supportive, and I’m trying to channel that energy.”
Other local VIPs showed up to support the Dorsey and Jenkins teams, like state Sen. Scott Wiener and District 8 incumbent Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who is also up for reelection today.
— Kevin Truong
Drizzle is falling from a gray November sky, but District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey and his team are out hitting the pavement in SoMa, passing out flyers and showing an oversized caricature of Dorsey’s head out on the corner of Beale and Folsom streets.
"The thing you don’t want in a competitive race where anything could happen, is you don’t want a lot of regrets,” Dorsey said. “Honey Mahogany was the front-runner when I came in and the term 'front-runner' has not been in the same sentence as my name, but everything I wanted to accomplish in this campaign I did.”
Dorsey joked to District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, who was out campaigning for her own reelection, that this “was a gaining weight campaign” and pitched a 2-mile run at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, no matter the outcome of the election.
Then there’s the little things: Jenkins and Dorsey campaign workers are calling in potential violations of campaign materials on public property and next to polling locations.
— Kevin Truong
Residents can vote today at the San Francisco Columbarium & Funeral Home, a nondenominational crematorium known for its Neoclassical architectural style and elaborate stained glass.
The Columbarium holds the remains of many notable people important to San Francisco history, including Edward Taylor, the city’s 28th mayor. It was also once the resting place of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to a public office in California, who was later assassinated.
— Sophie Bearman
There are 14 local propositions on the ballot, but four hit on particularly hot topics for local voters in Tuesday’s election: housing and the future of JFK Drive. Propositions D and E square off in a YIMBY vs. progressive battle for how affordable housing should be built faster in SF, while Props I and J let voters decide if cars should be allowed back on JFK Drive and the Great Highway. Watch our video explainers on the four props below:
— Sarah Wright
As of Sunday night, San Francisco voters returned about a quarter of the half-million mail-in ballots that election officials issued.
The San Francisco Department of Elections has received about 121,000 filled-out vote-by-mail ballots. That’s slightly more ballots than were returned two days out from the Nov. 2018 election.
The last midterm, however, came before California began automatically sending every registered voter a mail-in ballot. So the smaller 2018 return figure actually represented a larger share of the mail-in ballots that were sent out in the first place—closer to a third.
The final turnout for the Nov. 2018 election was 74%, according to John Arntz, director of the SF Department of Elections.
So far, SF voter turnout is trailing far behind the polarizing 2020 presidential election and the 2021 bid to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.
— Noah Baustin
First thing’s first: If you haven’t voted yet, mail in your ballot or head to your local polling place!
Your vote-by-mail ballot must be postmarked Nov. 8 to count if you send it via snail mail. You can also drop it off at one of the official ballot drop boxes until 8 p.m. or bring it to any in-person polling location.
In-person polling is available in neighborhoods across the city from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Use the city’s voting site lookup tool to find your local polling location.
It’s fine if you haven’t registered to vote, you can still cast your ballot in person.
— Noah Baustin
Today’s the day. It’s time for San Francisco’s voters to make their voices heard in the city’s fourth and final election of 2022.
On tap? Well, in addition to lots of rain, there are warring housing and transportation measures, a heated race for district attorney and several contested Board of Supervisors and Board of Education races—and those are just the local questions.
Read more about the key races and ballot measures that will shape the future of San Francisco and check out our voter guide for the full rundown on every item on the ballot.
As for this live blog, expect frequent updates from us from now until midnight, as our reporters, photographers and videographers spread out across the city to bring you the latest on the election. We’ll be following candidates canvassing for last-minute votes, interviewing residents at polling locations across the city and recording cheers (or tears) at election night parties. Stay tuned!
— The Standard Staff
Voters will cast ballots for five seats on the 11-member San Francisco Board of Supervisors today. Two of those races—between incumbent District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar and challenger Joel Engardio, and the appointed incumbent District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey and challenger Honey Mahogany—are close.
Most candidates for local office would be ecstatic to receive the endorsement of a labor union or a neighborhood political club. But recently, two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda—or, rather, her eponymous climate PAC—parachuted into a race for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, declaring her support for Honey Mahogany. Read the full profile here.
As a deeply embedded political consultant, a spokesman of 14 years with the City Attorney’s Office, a two-year head of strategic communications for the police department and now an appointed supervisor running in November’s election, Matt Dorsey knows where the bodies are buried and how to sell a story. Read the full profile here.
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