Provisional ballots could be pivotal


With preliminary ranked choice results showing Mark Farrell ahead by a slim margin in D2 and Malia Cohen leading narrowly in D10, provisional ballots could prove to be of pivotal importance in these two races.

Or as Sharen Hewitt, executive director of the D10-based C.L.A.E.R. project, put it, “Never before has the weight of the provisional ballot counted so much.”

As Hewitt points out, folks who are in hospital, jail or serving in the U.S. military are voted most likely to be casting provisional or absentee ballots. And their votes need to be counted, just like anyone else’s. So, let's keep asking how many provisional and absentee votes were cast and in which districts, before officially declaring who won the 2010 election.


I think provisionals put Reilly back on top. I hope she has observers fighting for every vote.

And note how close the race for school board is. Something like a thousand votes separate 2nd from 4th.

Right now the Guardian slate and the teachers' slate are battling it out. Fortunately, Kim-Shree looks safe, but if there are a whole ton of absentees she can conceivably still fall to 4th place and not get a seat.

I bullet-voted for Kim-Shree. Neither Murase nor Mendoza were acceptable candidates. I considered voting for Brodkin... had second thoughts based on the teachers union dislike for her, and in the end decided to stick with just Kim-Shree precisely because of the possibility of what is occurring now.

Had I given an extra vote to Brodkin (or Murase for that matter), to "fill up" my ballot with candidates that are "lesser evils," I could conceivably hurt the only candidate I actually like. I had advocated bullet-voting for Maufus as the only acceptable candidate for progressives, and nobody really listened, but the results validate my strategy.

Hopefully, probably... Kim-Shree will keep her seat. But it will be close. Lesson of the day: when you have a multi-seat election (UNLIKE single seat, winner-take-all IRV), and there are fewer acceptable candidates than there are seats to be won, bullet-vote for ONLY those who are acceptable!

Posted by Greg on Nov. 05, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

Board member expenses last year included:

-- $766 for 21 taxi rides taken by board member Kim-Shree Maufas during a 2008 conference in Orlando. About $500 of that was submitted for reimbursement last year, 15 months after the conference - even though the district's policy is that such expenses should be submitted within 15 days. She said the hotel she selected, which cost $12 less per day than those used by other board members, was farther from the conference.

Posted by matlocl on Nov. 06, 2010 @ 3:17 am

Kim Shree Maufus is not the "most" acceptable candidate. She is the only acceptable candidate.

Hydra Mendoza is too conflicted with the mayor.

Emily Murase is dangerously open to risky school privatization schemes.

Brodkin *may* be acceptable... she's a genuine advocate for kids. But her combative style could return the School Board to dysfunctionality.

The rest are a collection of right-wingers, amateurs, and social climbers.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 08, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

over whiter, better off voters:

District | #1 Votes | winning votes | pct
2 | 17362 | 8200 | 47.2%
6 | 14559 | 6181 | 42.5%
8 | 24750 | 12985 | 52.4%
10 | 11705 | 2878 | 24.6%

IRV in SF supervisorial elections appears to disenfranchise poor people and people of color, delivering victories to candidates who win with much less than 50% of votes cast.


Posted by marcos on Nov. 06, 2010 @ 2:32 am

Where a tiny fraction of election day voters participate?

You're smarter than this, Marc. You know it has nothing to do with minority voters and everything to do with the individual dynamics of the race.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 06, 2010 @ 7:37 am

@ Greg,

While I hope you are correct about D-2, isn't it still true that absentees are more conservative meaning Farrell will simply continue to gain?

@ Marc,

Kim (a woman of color) appears to be the winner in D-6.

If Cohen also wins in D-10, your assertion on race certainly doesn't hold.

As to class, maybe, but what's your logical argument on this. How do these ranked choice results show disenfranchisement of lower classes?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 06, 2010 @ 10:27 am

Farrell should gain a bit more in the absentees. He hasn't gained all that much and they've been counting absentees all week. It *looks* like he gained a bunch but if you look at the first choice ballots, it's only a couple hundred votes. But then... provisionals come in, and that's where he really takes it to the chin.

As for marc's argument, I think he's coming from another angle. He's not talking about the result, but the process. Still, it's just a function of the dynamics of the race -no clear front runner and a multitude of candidates. Marc just doesn't like IRV. Previously he had made the rather bizarre criticism that IRV has never overturned the front-runner in the first round. That criticism now appears to have gone out the window, so now there's a new angle. There will always be an angle to criticize if you don't like the process, as no system can be absolutely perfect.

As for the result in this case... I say thank god for IRV. Had we done it the old way, there would have been a runoff between Tony Kelly and Lynette Sweet. And I guarantee that it would have been a disgusting, race-baiting campaign. Anti-progressives who in fact care nothing about minority representation would have attacked Kelly relentlessly to promote their corporate-backed candidate, and enough African Americans would have listened to those race baiting attacks that there's no way Kelly could have won. As a result we would have poisoned race relations in D10 and come out with an even worse Supervisor than Malia Cohen. I hope Tony Kelly still pulls it out, but even if Malia wins, it's a far better result and a far better process than we would have gotten under the old system.

Oh yeah, and Sweet would have been elected by fewer voters than are participating in the final round of the IRV, so it would have produced big time disenfranchisement of everyone.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 06, 2010 @ 11:12 am

BG supported Reilly in D2- losing
BG supported Walker in D6- losing
BG supported Mandleman in D8- losing
BG supported Kelly in D10- losing

what conclusion may we draw from this?????????????

Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

D2 ain't over... Reilly may (I would say probably will) win.
D6 -Kim was the Guardian's second choice. The Guardian's candidates are getting over 60% of the vote together.
D8 was an unequivocaql loss, the only one
D10 Nobody gave Tony Kelly a chance in hell. The fact that he has 49% and may still win, is a strong verification of the Guardian's enduring influence. Plus, the Guardian can be credited with sinking the candidates of the Right in D10.

Who did the anti-progressive forces support -Plan C, The Chamber of Commerce, the multi-millionaires responsible for those big dollar independent expenditures?
Their candidates are losing in D10 and D6, and will likely lose even in D2 (which should have been a gimme for them) once the provisionals are counted.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 06, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

The sad part about D10 is that a candidate like Moss could even get a vote period.

His very questionable record, and that is being polite, was brought to light by the Guardian only, especially the backers behind him.

It is pretty obvious that he had powerful backers based on the SF Comical and every other rag aside from the Guardian refusing to report on him, disgusting sign of the power of money.

I don't think Malia is a bad choice.

Posted by Candidates on the right in D10 on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 11:10 am

I agree, the Guardian deserves a lot of credit for exposing Steve Moss and Lynette Sweet.

I try to support candidates who put serving the community over their own personal ambitions. People like Chris Daly, Matt Gonzalez, Jake McGoldrick, Eric Mar, Eileen Hansen... these folks make me proud to be progressive. No they're not perfect, but love 'em or hate 'em you can't call them sellouts. I saw a little of that ethic of service over self in Debra Walker and Rafael Mandleman. And though I don't know him well, from what I heard, Tony Kelly has it too.

I just don't see the same in Malia Cohen or Jane Kim. Now I know a lot of my progressive friends put a lot of effort into electing Jane Kim. I desperately hope those idealistic supporters are proven right about her, and she doesn't sell them out. And yes, D10 could do much, much worse than Malia Cohen. So yes... it could be worse.

It could be better too.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

I like your list of leaders who make me proud to be a "progressive" voter. Ammiano (and many of his core supporters) needs to be at the top of the list since he/they really started it all back in 1999 with Tom's write-in campaign and then identifying such terrific leaders as McGoldrick, Peskin and Sandoval for the 2000 supervisor district elections. (The refrain we hear of "they're not perfect" arguments against them (or anyone else) are mainly meant to discredit them and the progressive voting factions. When you ask their detractors, "who do you want in that particular leadership position more?," the alternatives they offer are almost always much less effective leaders. Perhaps that's their agenda.)

The fact is no one knows how supportive either Farrell or Cohen will be towards particular legislation favored by progressives. On 6-5 votes, it shouldn't matter much. As to what their particular legislative priorities might be, I don't think it does any good to start the progressive smear campaign about their relative "evilness." Hasn't Cohen talked about getting more fresh food markets opened in the Bayview? That sounds like a good thing to me. And who's to say that her initial positions on the Bayview development won't change after becoming more involved with the process? (Yes, this is probably mostly wishful thinking.)

All we know is that pointing fingers at people and telling them how "stupid, corrupt and/or racist" they are doesn't get anything except a whole lot of people walking away from any conversation. Again, maybe that's the point.

It seems to me the Kim/Walker split among progressives reflects some of the split among Ammiano and Gonzalez supporters seven years ago. (Gee, has it been that long?!) You couldn't ask for better progressive leaders than either Debra or Jane, with Debra having worked for decades to help get SF progressives to where they are today and Jane representing a potential leader who can attract new converts to the progressive movement. I don't know either one of them, but I know that tenant groups like Shaw's THC and the SFTU consider the D6 supervisor as one of their main advocates at City Hall. Since they both were supporting Kim' campaign, that's good enough for me to keep an open mind about her potential accomplishments. And if she has some of Gonzalez’s flair for being able to engage ideological opposites and sometimes get a little movement in their entrenched positions (like in the case of Hall, Elsbernd and others), then that is noteworthy attribute and a welcome change for the D6 seat.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

Greg, I'm finally moved to read a more fair, objective appraisal of Jane Kim by you. Unlike most elected politicians, however, her groundedness and political principles come from the communities, and their respective leaders, including immigrant tenants, that have nurtured and sustained her. Eileen Hansen, certainly, was and is one of the most prominent and talented white LGBT activists in the City that ran for office, who understood this -- (despite her losing effort in District 8 in 2002) -- and why we need to build multiracial, LGBT, immigrant and working-class led urban movements in San Francisco toward social and economic justice for all.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

Kim wasn't my first choice, but I've never been hostile to her candidacy. I've always recommended ranking her somewhere in the top 3. Certainly I had my concerns, and I very much hope those concerns prove to be unfounded. In any case, the election is over, and I think people should give her a chance, even if they supported someone else.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

As of Sunday night, Marlene Tran has risen to number 2 spot, behind Tony Kelly, and ahead of Sweet, Cohen and Moss. So, all eyes will be on how the next ranked-choice run pans out.

Posted by sarah on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

I heard that the preliminary ranked choice run that Elections did Friday was more to give the candidates something to do/look at, rather than any definitive answers. And there is lot of anxiety around the provisional votes.

Posted by sarah on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

The latest D10 totals from Elections (see below) illustrate that Tran continues to rise (only 26 votes behind Kelly who is first place in raw totals) and that there are only 134 votes separating Kelly and Moss, in fifth place:

H RHODES 214 1.4%
MARLENE TRAN 1834 12.01%
MALIA COHEN 1732 11.34%
TONY KELLY 1860 12.18%
NYESE JOSHUA 102 0.67%
DEWITT M. LACY 1125 7.37%
LYNETTE SWEET 1823 11.94%
ERIC SMITH 396 2.59%
STEVE MOSS 1726 11.3%
ED DONALDSON 176 1.15%
TERESA DUQUE 1246 8.16%
Posted by sarah on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

It could be me, but looking the site over - those are merely the totals from last week. The numbers are exactly the same as the ones displayed last Thursday. (However, for whatever reason the site shows "updated Nov. 7th". Likely an automatic update feed, but the content doesn't change.

I think the most recent, most accurate data is what is being shown under the RCV totals. The Dept of Elections doesn't work weekends updated ballot counts. If so, the SFBG would likely be blogging about it.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

The numbers from the first RCV run are no longer the correct ones. You probably didn't look closely enough.

I just did a rough analysis of what's been going on since then, including likely vote pickups from seconds and thirds. Several things can be said about the results.

There are now 5 frontrunners: Tran, Cohen, Kelly, Sweet, and Moss (in no particular order).

Tran is gaining votes, the rest are treading water. The traditionally conservative absentees are not benefitting the main conservative candidates, Sweet and Moss. They are also not hurting Tony Kelly. That's good news for Kelly and fatal for Sweet and Moss's chances.

Sweet and Moss had their best path to victory from the absentees. The fact that they are not picking up votes in the absentees relative to the other frontrunners means that they probably have no chance to win at this point.

Tran, interestingly, has almost no support outside her immediate base. She gets ethnic affinity votes from Therese Duque, but next to nothing other than that. Still, she has probably already leapfrogged past Lynette Sweet into the next to last round, on the strength of first choice absentees. If there are enough outstanding absentees, she could make it into the final round. And if there are a whole bunch more absentees, she could win.

Kelly is treading water in the absentees, which he should regard as fantastic news. He's getting some progressive affinity votes, and ethnic/neighborhood affinity votes from Moss. His best chance at victory is to either hope that Marlene Tran leapfrogs past Malia Cohen in the last round (which I do not believe she has yet done), and/or himself doing well in the provisionals. That is not at all outside the realm of possibility. The conservative absentees are getting sucked up by Tran, but there's no other strong progressive to take away Kelly's expected advantage in the provisionals.

Malia Cohen is also treading water, and she probably won't do as well in the absentees. Her support is broad, but not particularly deep. She gets seconds from a lot of places, but not overwhelmingly so. Her best hope is that the absentees run out soon enough for her to maintain a spot in the last round, and then keep Kelly's margin down in the provisionals.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

the dept of elections did work through this weekend and updated @4pm yesterday and today.

preliminary rcv numbers are based on the ballots counted up to the time the preliminary rcv is run - which is why the results come with the caution that the results are not final.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

Where are you all seeing these. I'm only seeing Friday's tallies on the SF Dept of Elections Web Site..

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

They haven't run another RCV, but the first choice ballots are updated.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 07, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

Farrell received a majority of every other candidates second choice vote. Says something about Janet and her crew.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 08, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

Farrell most certainly did not receive a majority of every other candidates' second choices. Farrell is getting 39% to 27%. The other 34% chose not to vote for either candidate as their second or third choice.

Yes, Farrell is winning a plurality (not a majority) of those votes, but not overwhelmingly.

And what it says, is that there was a concerted smear campaign against Reilly. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't. The vultures are eager to pounce, but no one should count this one as over until the provisional ballots have had their say.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 08, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

I really don't see the value in doing a ranked choice count until all the votes have been counted particularly in these close races...

For example, the current DOE posted RCV count for D2 shows Farrell "winning" with 50% of the vote but only if this count reflected the total votes cast which it does not. So what's the point? What am I missing?

Why post anything showing a candidate winning when they have not- leading to misleading headlines?

Posted by C.J. FLowers on Nov. 08, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

It just leads to "misleading headlines."

Because if they didn't, then people would get pretty upset. Best to give us the interim count and run the RCVs frequently, but take any headlines with a grain of salt until the final count.

Like the headline where Kamala Harris declared victory. We didn't need RCV for that fiasco.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 08, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

The purpose of an interim ranked-choice count could be to give folks a sense of how the votes will transfer, depending on who is on top. It also shows which candidates' supporters are aligned with other campaigns etc.

As of Monday night, here are the latest counts in D10, once again showing the steady rise of Marlene Tran, who is now on the heels of Tony Kelly, with Lynette Sweet, Steve Moss and Malia Cohen close behind:

MARLENE TRAN 1855 12.07%
MALIA COHEN 1737 11.3%
TONY KELLY 1870 12.17%
NYESE JOSHUA 103 0.67%
DEWITT M. LACY 1128 7.34%
LYNETTE SWEET 1829 11.9%
ERIC SMITH 397 2.58%
STEVE MOSS 1738 11.31%
ED DONALDSON 177 1.15%
TERESA DUQUE 1258 8.19%
Posted by sarah on Nov. 08, 2010 @ 7:15 pm