Since San Francisco began using ranked choice voting in 2004 and public financing of campaigns in 2002, the city has been a leader in the types of political reform badly needed at state and national levels. People of color today have an unprecedented degree of representation and progressives are a dominant presence in city government. Elections are being decided in November, when turnout usually is highest, and the combination of public financing and deciding races in one election minimizes the impact of independent expenditures and Super PACs . Read more »
OPINION Elections using ranked choice voting (RCV) in both San Francisco and Oakland contain important lessons for the upcoming SF mayoral election. Rather than rely on traditional endorsements and funding advantages, winning candidates need to get out in the community, meet people, and build coalitions.Read more »
OPINION In 2000, San Francisco voters approved a system of public financing of campaigns for the Board of Supervisors, which in 2006 was expanded to the mayoral race. By eliminating the need for candidates to raise large amounts of private money, the program has been extremely successful at helping sever the link between big money and political decisions. But now this flagship program is threatened: Mayor Gavin Newsom is proposing to raid several million dollars from the public campaign fund.Read more »
OPINION These are anxious times for election security and voting equipment. The system is truly broken, starting at the federal level with a lack of national standards, a chaotic testing regimen, untrustworthy vendors, a revolving door between the industry and government regulators, and a decentralized hodgepodge of election administration from coast to coast.
Into that abyss has stepped Debra Bowen, California's secretary of state. Many of us have supported her call to make elections more secure, and Bowen came into office with the best of intentions. Read more »