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Meeting Information

Budget and Policy Committee

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 

Department of Elections
Elections Commission

Approved: 8/7/02

City and County of San Francisco
Minutes of the Meeting Held
Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Call to Order and Roll Call. Commissioners Alix Rosenthal, Robert Kenealey, Brenda Stowers were present.

Item #4: Discussion and possible action re: proposal for postage of absentee ballots - was taken out of order so that Mr. Bill Barnes of Supervisor Chris Daly’s office could explain the proposal to pay for postage on absentee ballots. Mr. Barnes explained that former Health Commissioner Naomi Gray contacted the Supervisor’s office to inform him that several of her friends had their absentee ballots returned due to insufficient postage. It has been the policy for the post office to forward all insufficient postage ballots to the DOE and subtract funds to cover the insufficient postage from a fund provided by the DOE. As the ballot gets bigger and sometimes costs over one dollar to mail it back, the Supervisor asks what is the effect on voter participation. The Budget Analyst estimates that the cost for the City to pay this postage will be under $100,000. Mr. Barnes said that as more voters are becoming permanent absentee voters, it is obvious that action must be taken to insure these votes get counted. The cost for this postage will be part of the City’s regular budget and not come from the DOE.

Commissioner Rosenthal stated that if this proposal was going to increase voter participation, then it would serve the Commission’s most noble cause. It was MOVED and seconded that the Committee urge the Commission to approve this proposal for the City to pay for postage of absentee ballots.

Public Comment: Joseph McGuire said that the department may need to get an additional 4-C machine to handle the increased number of absentee ballots expected.

Commissioner Kenealey asked the Acting Director if this will require additional personnel to open the ballots? Acting Director Arntz replied that he anticipates that not all ballots, even with postage pre-paid, will be returned. Currently, he said, 75 to 85% of ballots are returned and this will probably remain the same. Mr. Arntz further stated that the City should not rely upon the State’s help in paying for the postage, since the State has said it will only reimburse $1000 for absentee voting. This amount is much smaller than in previous years.

MOTION 060402-1B
The Committee to recommend to the Commission that it support Supervisor Daly’s proposal that the City pay for postage on absentee ballots.
(Rosenthal) PASSED unanimously.

Report on status of the 2002 supplemental budget request. Acting Director Arntz reported that the staff who have recently returned to work are being funded under “a release of reserved funds” from the supplemental budget, and it’s not clear exactly from where these monies have come. This release went to the Mayor’s office and was signed and then it went to Administrative Services. The funds are in place. Mr. Arntz explained that because different people work on different parts of the City’s budget, it is sometimes difficult to get answers about our budget.

Update on the Election Department Budget for 2002-03. Commissioner Rosenthal stated that she spoke with Ara Manasian and has just received spreadsheets. The Mayor is asking for cuts. The December runoff was funded as a reserve for $1.4M, the IRV is funded at $100,000 - if it is to start this November, and the department’s staffing requests have been left in tact. Ms. Rosenthal reminded the Committee that the cost for the IRV is still unknown. The Committee will review the recently received spreadsheets.

Public comment. None.