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Are You a District 5 Resident?

Are You a District 5 Resident?
All the more reason to vote this November!
By Ruth Geos

District 5

Only one San Francisco Supervisor spot is on the ballot this fall, and that’s yours, if you live in District 5: winding across the Inner Sunset, Haight-Ashbury, Cole Valley, Lower Haight, Hayes Valley, Alamo Square, Fillmore/Western Addition, Japantown, Cathedral Hill, Lower Pacific Heights, North of the Panhandle, and Tank Hill.

The District 5 contest is between incumbent Vallie Brown—who was appointed to serve by Mayor Breed in 2018 to the seat she vacated on becoming Mayor—and 3 challengers: Dean Preston, Nomvula O’Meara, and Ryan Lam.

Voting is open to all who live in District 5:  homeowners, renters and roommates, and those without a fixed street address, including homeless persons who can specify intersecting cross-streets within the district boundaries for a registration address.

Not sure if you’re in District 5? Try this: the District Lookup tool from the SF Planning Department.


Other questions?
Call the SF Department of Elections at 415-554-4375 or take a look at their voting resources, at https://sfelections.sfgov.org/
Registration for the November ballot continues to October 21, 2019
Early voting starts October 7th at City Hall.
Visit our Elections Guide for more details.


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Votes for Women: A (Relatively) New Prize

Votes for Women: A Relatively New Prize…and Harder Won Than We Remember
By Ruth Geos

Votes for Women

From the Smithsonian and National Museum of American History

To continue our Road to the Election series, we now look at votes for women:

In 1911, California became the 6th state to recognize women’s right to vote—and it was no walk in the park. In that election, San Francisco voters, all men, mostly voted against it.

A similar California referendum had failed in 1886 and a constitutional court challenge failed in 1872. The California Supreme Court, in Van Valkenburg v. Brown, 43 Cal. 43 (1872), had supported the refusal of the County Clerk of Santa Cruz County to allow Ellen Van Valkenburg to register to vote, finding that neither the 14th or  15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution established the right to vote by women.

The push for voting rights for women in the U.S. was initially state to state. Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Washington all came before California in winning women’s right to vote. Each state effort built on the next, and not all campaigns were successful.

It was not until 9 years after California suffrage, that the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be fully ratified, on August 26, 1920.  This next year, 2020, will be not only the next Presidential Election but the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, which is quoted here:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Even with that landmark Constitutional accomplishment, and its plain and forthright language, still not all women could vote. African American women, who had equally fought for suffrage, had another 45 years ahead until that right was legally protected, with the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

To see a glimmer of what it took to make U.S. women’s suffrage a reality, take a look at the National Portrait Gallery’s, Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence, along with the exhibition from The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Five African American suffragists you should know, and the evocative array of archived objects in the Smithsonian collections, including campaign buttons worn throughout all.


Next Election: November 5, 2019: SF Consolidated Municipal Election

Still need to Register to vote? Check with the SF Board of Elections.
You can also Register to Vote at the San Francisco Law Library.
Confused about the new SF voting system? Come to our free program on Friday 9/27.
See our Election Guide for more details.


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Sept. 27: Department of Elections Speaker

Friday, September 27, Noon to 1:00pm
San Francisco Voting Basics and The New Ranked Choice Voting System
Presented by Jordan Valenzuela, San Francisco Department of Elections

Jordan Valenzuela will present a non-partisan slide show highlighting key dates and deadlines for the upcoming election, registration basics, explain the new ranked-choice voting options, present your options on ways to vote, highlight key features of the new voting system, and demonstrate how to use new voting equipment.
“There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter.”― Barack Obama

Sept 27 2019 Voting Presentation Flyer


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What Does it Take to Vote?

By Ruth Geos, Reference Librarian

Maybe you woke up to a campaign pitch for a Ballot Measure hanging from your front door, or were stirred by the Democratic candidate debates this week–or every day as you walk in the city, wish you could weigh in who should be making policy and setting up priorities for the future of San Francisco. If so, the time to vote is very soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2019
Vote in the Consolidated Municipal Elections
Registration by October 21, 2019

Can you vote?

To vote you must first register to establish your voter qualifications; and to register to vote in San Francisco for all candidates and measures, these are the checkmarks:

  • A United States Citizen
  • A San Francisco resident
  • At least 18 years old before or on the day of the election
  • Not be in state or federal prison, or on parole for the conviction of a felony
  • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court

Aren’t I already registered?

It’s simple to find out. Use the Voter Registration Status Lookup with the San Francisco Department of Elections.

Voter Image

If you’re not there, even if you remember voting sometime in the past,  you may need to update your address through a Registration Update. You can scan the Update and return to  SFVote@sfgov.org. or, if you like, mail it back:

Department of Elections
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 48
San Francisco, CA 94102

And if you are registering for the first time, or using this moment to declare your party preference in advance of the State Primary in 2020,  you can Register online or use print options, following the clear instructions, links and even video demonstration, all provided by the SF Department of Elections:

While you’re filling the page out, in whatever mode you choose, you might as well select other options you might like. Want a large-print Informational Pamphlet? Want to skip the print altogether and receive the Pamphlet as a pdf?  Prefer to vote by mail? To do all this in a language other than English? No problem. Just do it before October 21st: 15 days before the election: or then, it is not so easy at all.

Other questions? Call the SF Department of Elections at 415: 554-4375 or take a look at their voting resources, at:  https://sfelections.sfgov.org/