Elections Commission Regular Meeting

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

In this page:


    This meeting has been changed from February 21 to February 14, Room 416

    YouTube meeting video and transcript is available below.


    1. Call to Order and Roll Call

      A member of the Commission will state the following (from the adopted 10/19/22 Elections Commission Land Acknowledgment Resolution):

      The San Francisco Elections Commission acknowledges that we are on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone, who are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula.  As the indigenous stewards of this land and in accordance with their traditions, the Ramaytush Ohlone have never ceded, lost, nor forgotten their responsibilities as caretakers of this place, as well as for all peoples who reside in their traditional territory.  As guests, we recognize that we benefit from living and working on their traditional homeland.  We wish to pay our respects by acknowledging the ancestors and relatives of the Ramaytush Community and affirming their sovereign rights as First Peoples.

    2. General Public Comment

      Public comment on any issue within the Elections Commission’s general jurisdiction that is not covered by another item on this agenda.

    3. Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

      Discussion and possible action on previous Elections Commission meeting minutes.

    4. Commissioners’ Reports

      Discussion and possible action on Commissioners’ reports for topics not covered by another item on this agenda: Meetings with public officials; oversight and observation activities; long-range planning for Commission activities and areas of study; proposed legislation which affects elections; others.

    5.  Department of Elections FY 2024 – 2025 & FY 2025-2026 Budget Review

      Discussion and possible action on the Department of Elections’ annual budget, as prepared by the Director of Elections John Arntz. The Elections Commission is required to conduct two reviews of the Department’s budget no less than 15 days apart; this is the second review. The Commission’s standing Budget and Oversight Committee conducted its initial budget review on Monday, January 29, 2024. 

    6. Agenda Items for Future Meetings

      Discussion and possible action regarding items for future agendas. 

    7. Adjournment

      There will be an opportunity for public comment on each agenda item. 

    Date & Time

    Wednesday, February 14, 2024
    6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

    Elections Commission

    Room 416
    1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    View location on google maps


    Webinar number (access code): 2662 545 9172
    Webinar password: Feb2024Mtg (33220246 from video systems)
    Join the meeting


    February 14, 2024 Regular Meeting

    In this video

    1. Call to Order & Roll Call 04:48

    2. General Public Comment (None)

    3. Approval of previous meeting minutes 04:51

    3a. General Public Comment (None)

    4. Director's Report 07:44

    4a. General Public Comment (None)

    5. Commissioners' Report 26:53

    5a. General Public Comment (None)

    6. Department of Elections FY 2024-2025 & FY 2025-2026 Budget Review 39:30

    6a. General Public Comment (None)

    7. Agenda Items for Future Meetings 1:02:22

    7a. General Public Comment (None)

    8. Adjournment 1:04:59


    through there we go commissioner burnol can you hear us okay we're going to have to run

    through that again unfortunately um I can run through I'll run through it we'll run through it very

    quickly apologies for the technical difficulty we are now ready to begin the meeting welcome everyone um I have

    passed these on to president Stone already I just wanted to call out um a

    couple of more substantives notes um and that is under the

    commissioner's report I just uh clarifi the requirement of why

    we are meeting on Valentine's Day of that 15-day difference uh with vek

    meeting and then I added a line um about

    um uh vice president jonic had indicated he was going to complete the um annual

    report with revisions before uh leaving the commission and then also I had given

    a brief update on the redistricting initiative report which uh at the time was almost complete we were just

    incorporating the legal review from DCA Flores um those

    are uh the main subst of comments uh I did think it was a good idea I had a

    couple of items under um item eight agenda items for future meetings I think

    it's good when we actually have those discussions to note in our minutes just for our own accountability and we had

    talked about uh discussing the implementation of um ballot labels uh AB

    1416 at a future meeting uh since the Board of Supervisors waiver had is only

    for one year and also about sending a letter to appointing authorities since uh the last

    meeting was when commissioner Hayden Crowley had uh resigned and uh

    we were hopeful that we were going to get a new commissioner which we we have uh commissioner Wong from the Board of

    Supervisors thank you commissioner D any other feedback on the meeting

    minutes and if you wouldn't mind one your yes thank

    you okay uh do I have General consensus that

    we can accept commissioner D's uh feedback to the minutes it's wonderful

    uh we will move forward with uh the proposed changes and move to public

    comment excuse me public comment on agenda item number three approval of previous meeting minutes specifically uh

    pertaining to the Wednesday January 17th 2024 regular meeting of the elections

    Commission no public

    commenters thank you secretary Davis um that will close out agenda item

    number three we'll now move to agenda item number four the director's report discussion possible action regarding the

    director's report for February 14 2024 that I will hand it to director arms thank you president Stone I can take

    questions on the um report but a few items so right now the turnout for this election we've received 15,000 vote by

    mail ballots and which means that the turnout is is light uh when you're in

    relation to we have 500,000 registered or so voters in San Francisco but at the

    same time this turnout is tracking the nove the March 2020 uh turnout and the

    the overall turnout for that election was around 63% so even though it's light

    now this is the trend is is matching what we see in primaries generally where

    the activity happens more towards election day than in the beginning of the cycle so things will be picking up

    in the in the weeks to come then on the director's report I think uh one topic to bring up would be the proposed

    amendments to the Municipal elections code that I'll will put forward and I

    mentioned this at the last meeting I think and essentially the proposed

    amendments are in response to the board's resolution essentially setting a policy for the Department to uh

    incorporate a state law that uh candidates demonstrate a use of a

    Chinese character-based name for two years prior to to filing nomination papers so the Amendments that I've put

    in here uh match that uh policy that the board put forward and then I've inserted

    the subsection from California elections code section 13

    21.7 subsection B into uh municipal election code section 401 and I made the

    subsection B in 13 21.7 subsection B and section 401 of the

    Mec then also the Amendments I included uh the two declarations that we the

    department uh uh developed during the uh nomination process for the March for

    this upcoming March primary election and uh there there was concern that

    people who were given a Chinese character-based name at Birth uh but who were unable to provide

    documentation substantiating the the use of that name or that they were given that name would be able unable to have

    their Chinese uh character-based names appear on the ballot so we created two

    declarations uh we did pass these by the city attorney's office the one declaration provided someone in a family

    member to attest that the candidate was given a character based name Chinese character based name and the second

    declaration allowed the candidate to assest that they had no family member that could sign the Declaration and the

    the candidate had no uh documentation to substantiate the the do the candidate

    being given the name at Birth uh so this has not been provided to the board at

    this point but this is the proposed amendments that uh I'll be putting forward and also the city's office has

    not yet had commented on this language I drafted this language uh so there might be some changes but as far as the intent

    of the the Amendments this is what the intent will show in the document that we provide to the board supervisors and

    reason I'm providing this information to the commission now prior to uh submitting to the board as I indicated

    uh in in my conversations with President stone that when the department uh submitted any sort of amendments to the

    NBC or proposed a new law that we would the department would provide notice to the to the commission at least the

    meeting prior at least before we submitted such Amendment so that's the

    purpose of of providing this text in my direct support for this meeting and um

    from there I can take any questions so thank you director ARS let's also um

    make sure that we oh no the next agenda item will be on the budget I apologize we can take any I will start start

    looking for hands and start calling on folks in order yes commissioner bernh

    holes thank you president Stone and thank you director

    AR a couple of questions about the uh section 3C where you go into uh the

    Department's efforts to mitigate Ai and misinformation um can you just tell me

    uh what the source of these approaches was did you uh draw

    these from some recommendation somewhere or did the department generate these um

    proposed actions to mitigate the effects of AI on

    misinformation all the above so the uh supervisor Preston uh

    uh has called for a hearing on February 29th for the Department of Elections and the ethics commission to

    report on artificial intelligence in the upcoming March election and uh so there

    wasn't really a like a broad ask but for us to report so we basically considered

    the question of of artificial intelligence in relation to the conduct

    of Elections because that's our area and we did look to other sources other agencies uh also the Secretary of

    State's office uh the recommendations and guidelines uh and then we we we

    conjoined those recommendations and guidelines with our current practices around election security and voting

    system security and so we were just really building out on what we have

    around election security to include uh being cognizant and potentially

    responsive to any sort of artificial intelligence effects of artificial intelligence in the local election uh

    process and a lot of what we would do would be in response to any sort of

    impacts on registration and the actual conduct of the election we wouldn't we really don't monitor or uh track any

    sort of campaign speech that's not something that we're authorized to do or capable of doing or enforcing but if

    there was any sort of messaging that happened around uh registration and the

    conduct of the election like actually voting that we would we thinking like what what sort of response what sort of

    um measures preventive measures and also responsive measures could be put in place as we go through this process but

    and then also certainly as we go into the November election

    cycle and it's the way um these responses are uh set out here

    um is it focuses on AI and

    information is was uh supervisor Preston's uh

    request focused on social media and misinformation as AI is at the primary

    area where he sees it being potentially disruptive or are you omitting from this

    public record other um uh protect measures about Ai and

    attacks on um Internet connected systems or uh

    things that aren't just about the information but about the actual functioning of the equipment or even the

    organizing and location of uh well that's obviously information but other

    aspects of your responsibilities is that just buried in this link to election

    security or is this really um the misinformation is where the primary

    focus is going to be and there isn't a focus elsewhere well as far as the hearing is

    concerned my understanding is uh supervisor Preston wanted the department

    to indicate uh how how it would respond to

    any sort of uh impacts AR by Artificial Intelligence on the elections process

    and uh we indicated that you again that we don't really track campaign speech

    we're not that's not what we do we're not authorized to do that so any sort of misinformation tracking we would do

    would be again around registration and voting uh in the elections process like you know you your like votes being

    counted things like that and as far as the impact of potential impacts of artificial intelligence

    on the any the systems internet or whatever that is it's not buried it's

    it's a it's a part of our uh election security measures that we've Mo we've really

    already implemented and and used uh and we're ALS but now we're also bringing in

    any aspects of artificial intelligence that you know potentially have new threats in

    relation to other threats that have existed prior to um to

    today and are you getting um support from is the Secretary of State providing

    ongoing support to the jurisdictions about potential threats and and types of

    concerns and is part one of my final question part two is are there other

    resour would you be interested in receiving other resources since I'm surrounded by the research Community

    that's uh quite hard at work on um identifying potential implications

    here yes uh yes to both questions so the Secretary of State's office does provide updates and guidelines to the counties

    and the Secretary of State's office has a has a new Department the cyber security office that uh was is I think

    newly formed prior to the 2022 elections maybe the 2020 I don't remember and so

    that office actually uh is uh is uh directed to monitor any potential harms

    to the elections process and voting uh via cyber mechanisms cyber related

    mechanisms and that office issues updates like

    every every week I think it is any any sort of news any sort of happenings or any sort of concerns that are that are

    occurring in in the elections world uh we also get information from other

    agencies as well there cisa uh that we receive information the FBI Homeland

    Security so but if you have other sources uh certainly I mean we're

    interested which you could send to us um okay I'd be happy to take that on and

    provide it directly to you as well as to the commission uh thank you director

    you're welcome thank you commissioner thank you commissioner burol and I do want to add um uh

    director AR that in the commissioner reports we've also added an article from

    that commissioner burnol uh requested to have added to the packet and uh that is

    less so I mean it does touch a little bit on cyber security but it's also on

    physical security and uh physical infrastructure equipment people security

    and so um I know we'll be talking also a little bit more about that in questions

    uh perhaps around threats that would be more tangentially related uh less so

    around AI so just to Prime everyone about that conversation as well um any

    other commissioners would like to take a swing at the director's

    report commissioner D thank you for your report uh director

    Arts um I uh particularly enjoy the social media videos um decent response

    so I think that's fabulous um thanks again for uh moving

    ahead on the um amendments to the municipal election code I did have a

    question about one of the forms uh it required traditional Chinese characters

    only and I was just wondering why so all of our materials are in

    traditional Chinese characters and uh and that's matches more the the how the

    more people in San Francisco consume information versus simplified characters

    okay so it's not an issue of not being able to accept it in our systems or or

    anything correct okay thank

    you thank you commissioner D any other

    comments okay uh I just had one comment pertaining to

    information uh around I I don't I guess

    AI is a concern deep fakes are a concern uh and I hear you on not uh monitoring

    what campaigns are saying one thing that has come up I believe either in our commission meetings or in conversations

    privately uh is my concern around the public education of the length of time

    that it takes to re report on the election and the results uh and we've

    talked about this as a result of the um how the results are actually uh listed

    on the website but also in the context of how maybe the public won't recognize

    that it takes time to fully process these ballots and in the conversation that we had in our last meeting

    pertaining to potentially getting to a sixc card ballot that takes time particularly when the majority of our

    voters are voting by mail and so I'm wondering if there if there is and I'm

    sure you've already kind of thought about this but uh if perhaps also you could talk about it

    down the line I'm thinking more about November not so much March but making sure folks are preemptively aware that

    it is going to take you know that election day is not a day anymore it is a week it will take time to process off

    the ballots and making sure the public is aware of that and I think the earlier that the public is primed about concerns

    with not making decisions about elections being called too early before

    the department has made those calls uh is valuable um and so I would love to

    hear doesn't have to be today but down the line if there is a plan for that

    preemptive public education around the length of time for results reporting um

    so that the public is primed and aware and ready and isn't uh going to be as

    susceptible to being influenced by um uh misinformation or even dis

    information every election we we provide information we issue press releases I'm available to the media readily after

    election day and it's clear in our messaging that the the the canvasing of

    the election will occur for several weeks after election day uh if if we go to and I we've been through it before

    it's not this is not anything new to us if we go to a six card or more ballot uh

    it's a presidential turnout that just increases the the length of time time and we'll put more messaging around it

    and um so but we do every election and

    uh we will already on our website we have information on the on the on the process

    on the time frame as we go into election day we'll issue press releases and then

    we can do social media as well and I don't think well it might be because the Central Committee contest or might be

    some some close counts but um but yeah November if it if it's even if it's a

    card ballot I mean we we've experienced Five Card ballots in presidential Cycles before uh and you have supervisors

    contests as well so certainly we we do messaging we'll do more messaging and

    we're well aware of it so we'll continue yes thank you and that is not that wasn't to say that there was an absence

    of it in the past it's just um the notion that there are already deep fakes

    out there and folks um and the fears around perhaps maybe not in San

    Francisco but can always happen in San Francisco um people not conceding and things of that kind just making sure

    people are patient with the uh or as patient as they can be with the outcome

    of the um of the results so uh thank you for that I also just want to say thank you for all the efforts around

    registration I was excited to see some of the uh I I was excited to see the

    uptick in registrations I thought that was actually a pretty phenomenal number

    so uh thank you and um also to see it spread across the district so really

    thank you for that it's a huge um clearly a huge effort from the department and also uh aligning with the

    commission's priorities which we I I think needs to be addressed so I thank you and I look forward to hearing about

    the the uh February 29th meeting is it a meeting is it a hearing is it a report

    that you have to provide or so something to hearing I guess okay well it sounds

    very flashy so I will be um interested to to hear about it and kind of see um

    see what comes out of that and also like I said I would like to talk a little bit more about the physical threats uh in

    the commissioner's reports as well but curious to hear about the AI on the

    29th any other questions for the director

    okay let's move to public comment we are now on public comment for

    agenda item number four the director's report for February 14

    2024 No Hands raised okay thank you secretary Davis

    that closes out agenda item number four we'll now move to agenda item number five Commissioners reports discussion

    and possible action and Commissioners reports for topics not covered by another item on this agenda meetings

    with public officials oversight and observation activities longrange planning for commission activities in

    areas of study proposed legislations which affect elections and others I will'll open it

    up yes commissioner D and then commissioner bernh hols

    so I just wanted to update the commission that um all finally our um

    redistricting initiative report is complete and ready to go to the Board of Supervisors so president stone is going

    to take care of that after this meeting uh and then we will post the final version of the report on the website on

    the fierce page is that where we'll do it potentially or even closer to the

    homepage we will find we will it will be on the website easily and readily available we will find an appropriate

    place for it um it will probably take us about a week to to get it up on the website but it is done and uh has

    included all of uh uh DCA flores's legal review and all of the comments from

    Commissioners at our December meeting thank you commissioner D commissioner

    burnol uh thank you president Stone um congratulations commissioner D that's

    that's a milestone um I wanted to just speak briefly to the

    article that I had included in the package today I think it's incomp upon this commission to make sure that we are

    um able to assure the public that uh steps are being taken to make sure that

    they can vote safely um I know that discussing the Department's

    protective uh preventive actions is slightly problematic

    um but I do think we will want to be prepared over the course of uh the year

    to be able to speak uh confidently about uh security measures that are in place

    um I will just jumping ahead a little bit was believ to see that there was not

    a significant budget decrease for security um physical security for the

    elections uh even though the budget uh has to go down

    um and I hope we can work with the Department to figure out how we can uh help them uh reassure the public that

    they will be able to cast their vote safely

    um uh one other thing uh which I should have said up front I do want to just comment that um commissioner jeronic in

    what I thought was uh did speak to my class at uh Stanford I thought he had

    his term had ended before he took on that engagement it may not have and so

    there may be floating around some um back channel uh information about

    whether or not that was a a legitimate uh undertaking on his part um he was a

    very impressive speaker to the class the students loved him um he spoke about open source software uh and I hope that

    that is not a problematic I hope I didn't put him into a difficult position but I bu piece now transitioned off so

    that's not a hopefully that's not an issue any thank you thank you commissioner

    burnol and I appreciate you raising the The Washington Post article and just the

    fiscal threats I will add to that my concern for the employees of the

    department as well pole workers uh the uh full-time employees the warehouse

    staff um and also the security of the facilities themselves elves um the Integrity of the also the the ballots so

    all of the above um there are a few points that I wanted to add on top of that that I just wanted to call out

    because uh I I have spoken with the director about this at numerous times

    actually um and I shared this with commissioner burnol as well that uh

    actually back in 2022 ahead of the midterm election following the attack on

    Paul Pelosi uh I personally had pretty significant concerns about uh the safety

    of not just voters but the folks working in the department and trying to

    facilitate and administer the midterm election in 22 and so I actually spoke

    with the director about what the plans were and to No Surprise of No One the director had actually already

    coordinated uh pretty great effort with the mayor's office and um I believe the

    FBI and sheriff and some other coordinated I think the District Attorney's office um though I won't go

    deeper into all of that want to ask the director to in public setting but uh the

    idea to say that there's a lot of work that is done with the department and through the support of other elected

    offices in the city to um protect the vote protect Pro protect co workers and

    the staff and protect voters um one of the other things that the uh I was

    really excited to see in 22 that the department implemented through some of those discussions was deescalation

    training as well um so pole workers were I believe are continued to be trained in

    deescalation training so uh that we can continue to have um you know safe

    environments for all different types of folks to show up um and vote without

    fear uh or threat um and I really appreciated the director's openness to

    that idea I think must yeah it must have been right ahead of the midterms um a couple other things I just

    wanted to mention because I had I had raised those concerns again leading up to November is um the director had

    mentioned in uh I guess that was December or November about uh an issue

    that was happening in in jurisdictions not I don't believe in California I think it was mostly in Oregon maybe

    Oregon and Washington um where fenol was sent in the mail to elections offices uh and um I had asked

    the and it it was pretty actually uh scary uh for those offices if you've

    read a little bit about it you know like full hazmat suits team showing up to elections offices where you know

    election people uh staff were just trying to do their jobs and had to be concerned about mysterious mail and so I

    had actually raised this with the director as well and um unsurprisingly

    again the department is already well prepared has worked with the Department of Public Health I believe um and has

    signage up in the uh offices pertaining to uh suspicious mail there's a plan

    with the post office I believe about how to deal with that and then also I believe uh folks in the department are

    trained on Narcan as well um and so uh there is so much work that goes on

    behind the scenes that I wanted to shout out uh the department for doing uh and two other points I wanted to make before

    I'll hand it over also to the director to see if there other uh things a that I got wrong or B that um he wants to add

    um one folks may have mention that uh or may have noticed that in a previous uh

    director's report there was also a mention of Hava security grants uh so I specifically asked the director about

    that I believe a few weeks ago in the same conversation around fentol I believe I don't know if we received that

    grant funding but I do know that that was a preemptive measure that the department was taking to try and have

    our the warehouse and our the physical infrastructure protected ahead of um

    March and November and then the other thing that we might consider discussing at some point if if it's of interest to

    the department and the commission is there is this organization called the committee for safe and secure elections

    um and they are a joint effort a Munch a bunch of kind of pro-democracy national

    organizations that work with local elections officials across the country to do training and preparedness planning

    and scenario planning for free around threats to physical safety so moving away from cyber and um anything like

    that but uh you know how to coordinate um how to coordinate with the

    appropriate departments uh in the chance of a threat so that might be something

    I've actually I know a couple of folks there who are excellent um and so if that is of interest um to do some just

    free scenario planning that's also um a resource that I would like to extend so I just I appreciate everyone listening

    through my remarks and director AR handed to you did I get anything wrong You' like to correct or add to um what I

    shared or and also what commissioner burnol has shared uh no good memory

    tried and uh no you hit it and the uh I

    did submit the uh the legislation to for the board to approve the grants I got it

    back I have to make some some changes I have to fill some forms out I haven't done that yet uh but we still have

    continued with the work uh installing uh key card locks in the department uh

    mechanisms that indicate if if a door has been opened uh in the department uh

    that we can track and then also at the warehouse we've been installing some extra measures as well so that that's

    ongoing so right now I think the fentanyl uh issues fentanyl

    related issues uh show this as much as there's concern about the cyber security

    there has been for a while I mean and you know in the voting system security really I I appreciate you bringing this

    up president St it's the phys the physical security that's that's a of primary concern I think gets too little

    attention until until uh it becomes an issue for other jurisdiction

    so I appreciate you bringing this up um and we've been certainly taking uh steps ourselves for our own security and we'll

    continue to do so I'm interested in this information you have from this group certainly um yeah and then we'll just go

    from there thank you uh director arms and then also one thing I wanted to mention

    to the new commissioner Kelly uh excuse me commissioner Wong um that one of the

    one of the post elction reports that the director Prov provides our incident reports as well so we there's a lot of

    transparency into anything that also happens in our poll sites so that um we can also be evaluating you know if

    anything came up that was uh particularly of concern but what is amazing is that the department is so

    well planned for these types of incidents that the incidents tend to be like a pen broke or you know like you

    know something very minimal which is the ideal right the that is the ideal if things don't go wrong that is you know

    if there isn't a headline about it that means things are going well um that's uh

    so I wanted to add that thank you director Arns thank you commissioner Burnes um I think we should continue to

    talk about these issues um and I also think it will become a n continue to be

    a national conversation um I've seen a ton of a ton of uh um press on this in the last two

    weeks alone so um I probably will also want to continue to raise it any other

    commissioner reports to

    share okay let's move to public

    comment we are moving to public comment on agenda item number five Commissioners

    reports there are no public commenters thank you secretary Davis

    that closes out agenda item number five we'll now move to agenda item number six Department of Elections FY

    2425 and FY 25-26 budget review discussion and possible action on the

    Department of Elections annual budget as prepared by the director of Elections John ARS the elections commission is

    required to conduct two reviews of the Department's budget no less than 15 days apart this is the second review the

    commission standing budget and oversight committee conducted its initial budget review on Monday January 29th 201

    24 with that I will um hand IT director Arns did you have anything you wanted to

    mention before we go into the discussion about the

    budget um it's okay yeah not really okay the memo is pretty thorough okay right

    okay um I will open it up to Commissioners

    then commissioner D yeah I was wondering if um there was anything that you wanted

    to provide as a summary from the boek

    meeting myself um no I don't think so we

    reviewed the budget uh we yeah no I don't think I have a summary to share I

    don't think I was prepared for a summary so apologies I can just just for this me so

    the the mayor's office is requesting that all departments cut by 10% which going into presidential cycle

    potentially the most cards in the city's history it's impossible for us to cut to cut really cut our budget uh to 10% so

    we did look for efficiencies in the budget and we did uh find I think it's

    $283,000 of reductions and it's not necessarily Cuts it's it's it's Reliance

    on the general fund and so it's so when people when you read it in the media it's always they got to cut their budget

    was not necessarily a cut of the budget it's a reduction of the Reliance from the general fund to to administer the

    the department uh so we've reduced our Reliance on the general fund by 588 58

    83 I think it is for the next fiscal year and the $300,000 of that is from

    revenue that will be coming in from the district elections that we that will conduct mostly for the school district

    and Community College then for fiscal year plus one in in

    26 uh our reduction is what 513 I think it is I don't and we have

    less Revenue coming in and uh we will continue to have the same we'll have

    ongoing uh general fund reductions into 26 that we had in in for the 2425 budget

    um and so and also what with changed for the 26 budget if I'm get that right is

    the uh the the the June primary and 26 will require less Staffing than will the

    November 2024 presidential election so we're we're showing that as a as a

    reduction on our Reliance on the general fund so overall we're showing a reduction of Reliance of 580 658 for uh

    2425 and then 513685 for 2526 and uh

    um and you look at the forms I think it's uh on page three of the forms we provided

    the commission form 1B just like a highlevel indication of our budget

    submission relation to our base budget our base budget is what our budget was last for the current fiscal year the

    mayor's office this or the the budget system just moves the base budget forward in time and that's always the

    marker that the on the future fiscal years are compared against and you'll see down at the bottom of the page red

    the target not met uh the Target that was set by the mayor's office for the Department of Elections which by the way

    was less than 10% I want to say that uh we're we're short for the next fiscal year by 90 is it 99 and then uh

    following fiscal year by by 166 uh since the bo BC meeting we've

    we've the mayor's office has not requested that we uh uh find additional

    reductions in our general fund reliance and uh so next week after this if

    hopefully the commission approves this budget proposal the next week we'll enter this into the city's budget system

    and then potentially then there'll be further discussion with the mayor's office on the budget uh and then the next step would be that the the the

    board's legislative analysts office will review our our budget along with all

    other Department's budgets and they'll see Cuts likely as well

    um for various reasons uh so this the mayor's office has not touched the

    budget since BC uh potentially they could come back and ask from more reductions but they've not signaled that

    yet and after we enter this into the budget system then the board's uh

    legislative analyst office potentially will ask for receipt cuts from this budget um so this is

    Department's uh budget that we think we need for the next two fiscal years and uh we'll stand by it and we'll kind of

    take the conversations as they come in the next two points of conversation with the mayor's office potentially and then

    certainly with the the bl's office so thank you director ARs and also

    commissioner Dy um I went back and looked at my notes so I can feel like I've lived nine lives in these two weeks

    so um I honestly I couldn't even remember where I sat um so I had to go

    back and look at my notes there were two things that we did talk about in addition to um what the uh what director

    AR said also I'm glad to hear that the mayor's office has maintained the budget uh I think that's excellent um and

    necessary our elections need to be funded fully um and uh the two things

    that we did specifically spend a fair amount of time on was around ballot labeling ab1

    1416 um and I can share a little bit more insight into that uh there is no update at this point um I haven't I have

    haven't uh spoken with the director about this offline a few other things he's probably working on as well um

    namely an election um uh but the specific concern around moving to a sixc

    card ballot um what that would mean for the Department is obviously in his memo

    um and so making sure that one of the concerns I had around the memo was uh

    the the move between fi what would happen at five cards versus six cards versus seven cards

    and offline um I had the director and I had collaborated

    around how we could possibly stay opted into ab1

    1416 uh so that uh somehow we could include those ballot labels uh and uh

    where we landed was really if the if they depart already six cards is too

    many uh but beyond six is just not possible and so

    uh the discussion was is there a way to get creative where uh there is we are

    remain opted in for the November for ab1 1416 and for November uh but potentially

    have some sort of and correct me if I'm using the wrong term here trailing legislation or not trailing not trailing

    legislation that would allow the director to potentially at the last minute if we are reaching that seven

    card ballot threshold um opt out of ab1 1416 um and if we are to reach that

    point uh how do we make sure that the public is informed and that the commission has an opportunity to weigh in on that and so uh we actually worked

    backwards from when the information when he might have the knowledge of how many

    cards we'd be reaching on the ballot um and uh when it would need to go to print

    Etc and so the proposal is uh that around August 21st the commission uh

    basically e88 e70 the com the director would notify the commission about the number of cards he anticipate that we be

    reaching to and if he needs to trigger an opt out of ab1

    1416 um and then it would give the commission uh basically what two weeks a

    week I don't I don't know where it is very short amount of time a week to discuss um and and if they choose if we

    choose um and so uh that is where we landed there is no update but I did want

    to share that that was talked about quite extensively you also can watch the conversation on it is up on YouTube um

    if folks want to to uh know more uh and then uh commissioner jonic was on the uh

    was on the was on BC prior to um the

    transition off his transition off the commission and he specifically asked

    questions around um uh the translation services that we offer they purchase

    order versus sole source and um I believe there may have even been a

    conversation about um uh yeah no that's

    it uh so just wanted to give a quick recap and I can also answer more questions about ab1 1416 but there

    really isn't much more to to share at this point and uh I know that this is a

    a followup that needs to happen as well so yeah commissioner D I'll hand it back

    to you I feel like you didn't have a chance to ask questions yeah I wanted to hear the summary first um so I had uh a

    a couple of questions so you have a section on possible solutions and you mentioned going to um uh a monolingual

    ballot format um have have have you considered having

    kind of like a reference card in English I know we have many versions of the ballot and that's part of the challenge

    but like you know a bunch of reference cards that are laminated that you know

    voters can have their monolingual ballot and then take an English reference card if they want to

    compare we haven't got that far and really a minor lingual

    ballot I don't know if we can do it uh because I mentioned that BC I think it

    was in the I think in the 990s when the city entered a consent decree with the

    doj and that's when the city was uh first began uh uh developing electric

    materials in Chinese in addition to English uh and I think probably Spanish

    at that time too but I know for a fact Chinese and uh

    one of the requirements of the the consent decree of course the consent decree is expired at this point it's not it's not really effective but I think

    that the SP the consent decree continues because we we met with doj really for

    many years even after the the consent decree wasn't really uh in place in my

    opinion and uh we still had to provide information regarding our bilingual

    assistance at the polling places materials that were creating in in languages other than English so I I

    don't I don't think that having a monolingual ballot really that that's

    not an option and if it if it were to become an option because because physical

    realities of the number of of cards or whatever then yeah that's where we have to think about the the you know any sort

    of um mitigations and and support we could provide to voters in relation

    but we put that in there really I wouldn't say for shock value but just to show what the alternatives are that but

    having a monolingual ballot is is not something that we're actively planning for or expecting to

    happen um uh I this is presid Stone if you don't mind I also would like to add

    um what the discussion of bpc was in that as well which was a because that

    did come up I believe commissioner jonic also proposed that and I will speak uh

    candidly that I strongly disagree with a monolingual B ballot um and I think

    partially there are a couple pieces of that some of what the director had spoken to but also you know we're

    basically trading off that we're exchanging the idea of the ballot the

    transparency around who's financing the ballot measures for language access um

    and I don't think that is an appropriate trade-off when particularly knowing that we have the larish for just Chinese

    speaking Community outside of China in the city so um I that I just wanted to

    add that as well that we did have that pretty strong debate um on the commission and I think landed in the

    same place excuse me on vek the other thing we did mention uh again I wasn't prepared to make these comments so now

    it's uh free flowing here the other thing I wanted to mention was um the alternative discussed was uh shrinking

    the font size of the um yeah of the uh

    of the labels and in fact I believe another County it may have been Contra Costa and I mentioned this during BC did

    a mockup of that um and they ultimately it was so terrible that they it wasn't a

    good alternative so I did also want to add that I I apologize for interrupting but I thought it was necessary to

    clarify thank you president Stone um the other question I had is

    uh you know there there um has been a lot of coverage recently about the

    attorne the letter that the sfusd got uh about moving from at large elections

    to potentially to to District elections and I I know that they've um are

    exploring Alternatives right now which of course rank Choice voting is one of them and I'm curious if

    um whatever they end up deciding will that impact how it will impact the the

    elections Department I don't know really at this point and and not I'm not being flip I

    uh they voted yesterday not to move to District elections for or to partition

    the district into smaller districts I guess I don't know how you else you'd say it uh or November and I don't know

    but but that's something that the department really isn't a part of those conversations we're not a part of that

    process uh our role at this point is to answer any questions that come our way

    and so and provide information where we can the one bit of information that we

    provided uh is that you know if they were to to draw

    districts uh there's unlikely that we could receive districts uh in uh time to make the

    changes on our side if the school district didn't follow current Precinct boundaries so if if they essentially did

    Drew their own lines and we had to repr Precinct the city essentially there there probably would not be enough time

    for us to create those districts to to run their election in November and uh

    there actually is a a code section in the state elections code that would allow us to sidestep running their

    election if it came down to if we couldn't run their election because the precincts weren't the same so no one wants that I did see the article in the

    chronicle today about the potentially using rank Choice voting it's a multi-seat contest

    so our rank Choice voting uh determines the a a one C candidate who received the

    most votes so you know that's that's something that we've not done before and it's not

    anything I can really answer at at this time or even I don't even want I don't want to speculate because then I'm talking about a system that we haven't

    used in that way and I don't want to provide that information so right now it's just to summarize well we're

    answering questions providing information where we can we don't we're not a participant in their their steps

    towards responding to the situation uh but there certainly is a very uh small amount of time for any

    changes in dist in the both the school the the Board of Education district and

    also the Community College District if the Department of Elections will consolidate their election in our November planning so okay yeah I mean

    really my question was about whether our current software vendors rank Choice

    voting is flexible enough to handle essentially multi-member situations because rank Choice

    voting can solve the problem that the Califoria Voting Rights Act is trying to

    address uh without having to have districts and we have plenty of experience with rank Choice voting in in

    San Francisco it would just be implemented with you know multiple members instead um and so that's that's

    a question is whether the the Dominion software can handle that or not um

    because if it can that would certainly be easier than trying to draw new

    District and figure that out so this is um you know this was a comment that we

    made in the redistricting initiative report that that was something that we did not look at um we did not look at

    anything but single member district elections because that's what we have right now and we didn't want

    to you know get crazy in our scope um but that's why we had a section in our

    final report indicating that there are other kinds of uh voting method and it's

    something that the original elections task force you know looked at 30 years ago um that proportional rank Choice

    voting was was a solution rather than going to districts and multi-member districts is another solution so um so

    yeah I I'm just curious and it might be something to to ask um the

    representatives at dominium whether the our implementation of rank Choice voting

    uh our implementation of the software would allow for these other versions of rank Choice voting that we just happen

    to have not used before in San Francisco but uh I wonder if they've you know implemented and it's possible we just

    have to reconfigure it I think it's a good thing to prepare for because that might be the direction they're going in

    because it would certainly simplify a lot of things uh and then thank you for answering the question on the precincts

    because the other thing I was just concerned about is once they make their decision they hand stuff over to the

    elections Department then you guys have to actually make sure you can accommodate the request and I was worried about that

    time frame and it sounds like it would be difficult unless they align to certain

    constraints uh and then uh I guess the other just

    other comments you know as usual um

    um we can see that they're there a lot of not a lot of things we can move in

    this budget um you can understand why elections commission's been focused on

    open source for so many years because our you know voting system is a big

    chunk of the budget uh and as you noted we don't have

    a choice right now there are no Alternatives that are open source and then the other chunk that um you know

    that we don't have a lot of control over is printing and so uh just for the public

    uh who's trying to interpret this budget uh and then many of the Soul Source contracts if we discussed last year

    during the same budget process uh limited choices again that that based on

    the systems that we've chosen that they're limited choices and who can support those systems uh and so that is

    the reason for uh a lot of these Soul Source contracts

    so thank you commissioner D do other Commission have questions or

    comments about the

    budget nice long silence just making

    sure okay I would like to make a motion

    that we approve the Department of Elections FY 2425 25 26

    budgets second thank you commissioner D before uh we move to a vote let's move

    to public comment on agenda item number six Department of Elections fy2 2425 FY

    2526 budget review no public commenters

    okay there any last comments from commissioners before we move to a roll call

    vote okay secretary Davis will you please uh do the roll

    call President Stone yes vice president Parker not here commissioner burn holes

    yes commissioner d i commissioner loli yes commissioner Wong

    yes okay with these members present and accounted for

    um this motion is passed thank you secretary Davis um and thank you

    director ARS for your work and um hope it is a smooth process with the mayor's

    office going forward um all right that closes agenda

    item number six we'll now move to agenda item number seven agenda items for future meetings discussion and possible

    action regarding items for future

    agendas any Commissioners nothing commissioner

    D there's way I saw your finger like inching okay well um you know I don't I

    don't know uh where the uh sfusd is going to go with this but I mean it might be

    something that we we're we should monitor and I think by the next meeting

    we'll have some information from that to like understand what the implications

    are I know that you and um commiss vice president Parker probably want to be rid

    of redistricting however knowing that this is kind of your passion area and also as the appointee of the school

    board uh perhaps you both can stay on it and keep us surprised of all of

    that yes um great uh there are a couple things I

    just wanted to mention uh that is might do also to follow up the director about ab1 1416 but then one thing that

    secretary Davis made me aware of um is that we may need to adjust our meeting schedule already for the summer so um um

    I believe that we're on a one of our meetings on a a holiday so um just want

    to give everyone a heads up that we will need to be discussing that um at some point um that the June and July I

    remember um commissioner Hayden Crowley was always pushing me to get ahead of

    these things as far and ahead as possible and so uh though it may be February these things people do plan

    their schedules and I want to be respectful of that so just keep an eye out so if you're thinking of traveling during June July um just take note that

    we may need to adjust the meeting and we'll we'll work to discuss that in an

    upcoming uh meeting uh but that's it for me anything

    else let's move to public comment on agenda item number seven agenda items for future

    meetings no public commenters thank you secretary Davis

    that closes out agenda item number seven and uh we are the time is now 7:13 p.m.

    and this meeting is




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