Dear Mr. Mendelson,
The Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, the Harvey Milk LGBT
Democratic Club, elected officials and community leaders of the LGBT
community request that the San Francisco Elections Commission use all
available resources to ensure the professional and organized
implementation of voter-approved Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) for the
November 4, 2003, election. Our community strongly supported this ballot
Measure A, approved last year with 55 percent of the vote, called for
an end to runoff elections and a quick implementation of an instant runoff
system. IRV is not an option, though how it is implemented may be. Your
leadership on this issue is needed now. Voters need to be educated about
IRV and how it will impact the next election.
Here are some first steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition to
this new voting method:
1. Sign a contract with the vendor, Elections Systems and Software, as
soon as possible, to give maximum time to develop, certify, test and
deploy the hardware and software modifications that IRV will require;
2. Immediately begin informing the public that IRV is an approved
mandate and will be in place for the November 4, 2003 election. Since this
is an approved mandate, the only question that is still unanswered is
whether or not the voting equipment will be ready in time for
certification, or whether the city will have to count ballots by hand, a
practice that has been in place for IRV elections for 70 years in Ireland
3. Educate the public about how IRV is going to work. This is a new
system, and the sooner voters who are interested can learn about the
policy details (skipped rankings, duplicate rankings, reporting of
results, etc.), the better understanding the public will have, and the
easier the election will be to run. Meetings, workshops, brochures, and
on-line information should all be tools you can use to educate all
segments of the voter population.
Leaving the voters with doubt and uncertainty is bad public policy.
Please educate the public as to the status of the contract with the
elections equipment vendor, the timeline for implementation, and how the
details of IRV will work.
This system has been successfully running in many other countries
around the world, such as Ireland and Australia, as well as other cities
around the country.
As the Elections Commission, you are responsible for efficiently
implementing any changes that affect an election. Your early action on
this will return San Francisco’s confidence in the election process.
Thank you for taking leadership on this issue and doing everything you
can to implement the will of the voters.
Assemblyman Mark Leno; Supervisor Tom Ammiano; Supervisor Bevan Dufty;
City Treasurer Susan Leal; Bart Director Tom Radulovich; School Board
Member Mark Sanchez; Debra Walker; Member of the Democratic County Central
Committee Connie O’Connor; Member of the Democratic County Central
Committee Criss Romero; Member of the Democratic County Central Committee
Richard Brooks Alba, *Local 790, Pride at Work, LCLAA (SF); Larry
Brinkin; Harry Britt; Joey Cain; Gwenn Craig, Chair, SF Elections Task
Force on Redistricting; Carole S. Cullum, Law Offices of Cullum & Sena;
Denise D’Anne; Anna Damiani, Community Activist; Rick Galbreath, Former
Elections Clerk; Michael Goldstein, Recorder, Milk Club; Roma Guy; Eileen
Hansen, Community Activist; Diane Jones; Ken Jones; Esperanza Macias,
former V.P., Milk Club; Jim Maloney; Dion Manley; Lea Militello; Tommi
Avicolli Mecca; Rafael Mandelman, President, Noe Valley Dem. Club; Pat
Norman; Naphtali Offen; Maggi Rubenstein; Jay R. Shaffer; Laura Spanjian,
Treasurer, Noe Valley Dem Club / PR Chair of Alice; Jerry Threet, former
President, Milk Club; Seth Ubogy; Phil Willkie; Hank Wilson