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Friday, March 1, 2024

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Home News + Politics The Agenda, Election Day issue: Will Big Tech take over SF politics?

The Agenda, Election Day issue: Will Big Tech take over SF politics?

This will be a decisive local election -- and we don't even know who will vote

There's money on both sides -- but no real comparison

There’s not much going on in San Francisco government this week, because everyone is focused on Election Day.

A few thoughts:

We have no idea who is going to vote. That’s driving the campaign consultants, who like to know where to focus their resources, a bit crazy.

High turnout usually helps progressives. The conservatives always vote; the more people go to the polls, the normal line goes, the more the left has a chance to win.

The Wiener campaign thinks attacking Kim will put him in Sacramento -- but it depends on who votes
The Wiener campaign thinks attacking Kim will put him in the state Senate — but it depends on who votes

That ought to help Jane Kim, who beat Scott Wiener in the June primary, with a lower turnout that we expect to see Nov. 8. But nobody’s sure – because this time around, there’s a huge ballot, and we may see as many as 80 percent of the voters or more come out to cast a ballot against Donald Trump.

And a significant number of them may have been paying little or no attention to the down-ballot issues.

That means that slate cards matter a lot. It means that we may see a whole lot of “ballot fatigue” – people will vote for president, but by the time they get to the local races, they’re done.

And it means that the local candidates will be out in force all day Tuesday, reminding voters that much of what happens in their lives happens locally. Think global, vote local.


Direct mail, one of the favorite and most effective tools of well-funded campaigns, may not play as well this time around. Those slick, targeted campaign mailers work – if people read them. But in the past week, I’ve been getting at least ten a day, and the stack in my office is more than an inch high. I do this for a living and I’m fascinated by every bit of strategy and messaging – and it’s even too much for me.

The campaigns that started early (I got No on V mailers three weeks ago, when they were the only thing in the box) may have been able to get the message out. The later stuff? I bet a lot of it just wound up in recycling bins.


We are voting in San Francisco for more than state Senate, Board of Supervisors, and a long list of ballot measures. We may well be voting for the next mayor.

Seriously: As we reported months ago, there’s a chance Mayor Ed Lee won’t finish his term. Now The Hill, the Examiner, and the Chron are all talking about the prospect that he will wind up with a job in the Clinton Administration. Which means the people we elect for those six jobs could be hiring a new mayor, who will serve almost three years and then run as an incumbent.

Think about it. Vote all the way down the ticket.


If you’re planning on partying on Election Night, keep this in mind: We will probably know by 10pm who the next president is, and whether the Dems have retaken the Senate. We may know by midnight who won some of the local races.

But the ones that are close? The Department of Elections will release the early absentee results around 9pm. No results until all of the polls have closed, and the polls don’t close around here until everyone in line at 8pm gets to vote.

Then every half hour or so there will be updates, and by midnight I expect that all of the Election Day vote will be counted and posted.

But there will be tens of thousands of election-day absentees – people who filled out vote-by-mail ballots and then dropped them off at a polling place – and a good number of provisional ballots. Those will be hand-checked over the next week or so, with results posted at 4pm every day.

Oh, and the supes are chosen by ranked-choice voting, and DOE will run its first samples Wednesday at 4.

So if the elections are close, go to bed: You won’t know for a few days anyway.


Or stay up and party: Two of the biggest Election-Night parties will be on 11th Street — The Democratic Party and the housing initiatives and many others will be at The Oasis, 298 11th, and Jane Kim for Senate (along with many others including Rafael Mandelman for Community College Board) will be at Slim’s, 333 11th.

Hillary Ronen for D9 Supe, Tom Temprano for Community College Board and many others will be at El Rio, 3158 Mission St.

Dean Preston for D5 Supe is at Club Waziema, 543 Divisadero.

If you’re out on the other side of town, Sandy Fewer for D1 supe will be at the Plough and Stars, 116 Clement. Matt Haney and Stevon Cook for School Board and Lateefah Simon for BART Board will be at the Hawthorn, 46 Geary.

If you want to see how the more moderate side is partying (and get another approach to the results) Scott Wiener for state Senate is at Beaux, 2344 Market.

I will update this post as more parties come in. We will list all that we know about!


If you want to keep track of everything that happens election night, 48hills will be posting regular updates, with Facebook and Twitter feeds from the parties. I will be doing the best I can to sort out what the numbers mean.


And I can tell you right now: The big question on everyone’s mind is whether Big Tech can complete its total takeover of San Francisco politics. Polls open at 7. As we used to say at the Guardian, vote early and often.


  1. I think Clinton has better sense than to hire Ed Lee. What would he bring? Talent? No. A figurehead? No. Energy? No.

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