Start your engines: San Francisco has another election coming up fast.
On Monday, the San Francisco Department of Elections certified the recall petition of three members of the Board of Education and set a date of Feb. 15, 2022 for voters to decide on whether they should be removed. Local organizers frustrated over governance at San Francisco’s school district submitted roughly 80,000 signed petitions to the Department of Elections in September.
The department certified that of those petitions, at least 51,325—the required threshold to appear on a ballot—were valid for each of the three recall targets. Board members Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga, as well as board president Gabriela López will face recall in February.
The race will also be consolidated with an election for Assessor-Recorder, in which voters will decide whether to keep incumbent Joaquin Torres, who was appointed by Mayor London Breed earlier this year.
That election could be one of several on tap for next year, given a yet-to-be-scheduled election to replace Assemblymember David Chiu (who’s moving from the State Assembly to San Francisco’s City Attorney office) and the possibility of a recall election of District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
Under the city’s charter, in cases where elected officers are appointed by the Mayor, those officers must appear on a ballot in the next scheduled municipal election at least 120 days after the vacancy. Torres was appointed in February 2021 to replace Carmen Chu, who was appointed as City Administrator after the departure of Naomi Kelly.
The race to replace Chiu, who was appointed City Attorney on Sept. 29, will unfold in the coming months—but the exact timing of that election is unknown.
Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to declare a special election for that seat in the coming days. Under California election code, that election could be scheduled between 126 and 140 days after the declaration, with a primary backdated nine or ten weeks from that date. However, election officials have some discretion on dates if they can be consolidated with another election.
A spokesperson for the Department of Elections said it was too soon to say whether that race could be merged with the February 2022 school board recall election.
The Department of Elections plans to hold a series of ballot simplification meetings in November, and will accept paid arguments for and against the recall between now and Nov. 29.
Annie Gaus can be reached at [email protected]