San Francisco voters apathetic about municipal elections

Sara Donchey
Illustration by Sara Donchey.

Voters should take the time out of their busy schedules Nov. 8 to vote for the people and propositions that could change the way in which they live.

The system makes it so easy to vote that there is no excuse not to go down the street to the local polling office. And the system for absentee ballots and vote-by-mail is so easy, it practically begs people to vote. So why don’t they?

Statistically, many voters show up for presidential elections; however, when it comes to local elections they seem to care less.

Where is the passion, concern and motivation when a president isn’t running? Voters should care more about local issues, as those are the measures that affect what happens right in our backyard.

Nationally, when Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, there was 20 percent higher federal voter turnout than in the midterm election in 2010.

In San Francisco, a city in which residents are known for being civic-minded and socially aware, the voter turnout for local elections is pathetically apathetic.

In the 2008 presidential election, 81.25 percent of San Francisco voters who registered showed up, but the following year a measly 22.58 percent made it to their polling place for the municipal election, according to the city and county of San Francisco Department of Elections.

A year later only 34.7 percent of voters registered in San Francisco showed up at the polls for the 2010 midterm election, according to a press release by the California Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

While voters can choose their president, the president isn’t the one who will retrofit your schools (Proposition A), repair your roads (Proposition B) or reform the city pension system (Proposition D).

San Francisco residents need to get back to the 81.25 percent voter turnout that occurred in the 2008 presidential election. During the Barack Obama election, there was a big movement to encourage youth to vote, but now that demographic seems to have disappeared from the charts.

San Francisco’s voters should stay informed and involved with the politicians and laws that drive their community.

Don’t take the right to vote for granted.