Update 6/25: The Department of Elections concluded their count of ballots on June 21 and found one uncounted card they added to the tally. The final results are expected to be certified this week. Only 53% of the City's registered voters chose to vote. This abysmal showing is considered "high turnout."
When we look at first place ballots cast, here's how the votes shook out on the top three candidates.
After rank choice votes were distributed, the election was decided by 2,546 votes. Damn.
Take a couple of weeks to enjoy your summer. The November election begins....um... already?
Update 6/12: Today's election update adds 9,208 ballots and London Breed's lead over Mark Leno grows by 260 votes to 1,861 votes. Today's count included 1,800 vote-by-mail ballots and 7,311 of the 14,000 provisional ballots. We assumed that Leno's hopes of re-taking the lead depended on the provisional ballot strongly favoring him and Jane Kim. With that not happening today when over half of those votes were counted, it looks almost certain that Breed will be our next Mayor.
We'll say more about this election when the dust settles, but here are a few initial thoughts. Having campaigned for progressive causes for over a decade, we're used to being massively outspent, and we're used to losing. But losing by a couple thousand votes is hard. We know we're not the only ones thinking about what we could've done to hustle a few more votes. It sucks. But even if these results hold, this might be our most successful election yet. We won virtually everything else on the local ballot! That never happens for our slate! Check out the chart below that shows how Prop C eked out a victory--despite big money opposing it and the cynical ploy of Prop D--to fund a groundbreaking new childcare and early childhood education program! When the League was first founded, our goal was to build a progressive majority in our lifetimes. We remain committed to that goal, and we remain committed to keep San Francisco a diverse, just, and healthy city. If this election broke your heart, we suggest taking time for some self-care...And then getting ready to do it all over again for the November election.
Update 6/11: Today's election update adds 9,000 votes to the count and London Breed gains just another 21 votes over Mark Leno from 1,580 votes to 1,601 votes. The Department of Elections says there are about 17,000 votes left to count. That includes 14,000 provisional ballots. Provisional ballots take way longer to count than vote by mail ballots, so we anticipate more waiting and watching.
Update 6/10: Today's election update adds 16,400 votes to the count and London Breed strengthens her lead over Mark Leno from 498 votes to 1,580 votes (103,388 to 101,808). The Department of Elections says there are about 25,000 votes left to count. That includes 14,000 provisional ballots, which have historically leaned more progressive.
Update 6/9 #2: Here's a map from Jim Stearns that shows where today's votes came from.
You can compare that to this map of where Kim and Leno did well to guess what it means. It looks like it was a pretty even mix of areas favorable to Breed and Kim/Leno. Over on Mission Local's excellent ongoing coverage, political scientist Jason McDaniel says Breed needs a 1,000 vote lead to hold of Leno's expected edge in the provisional ballot. Stay tuned....
Update 6/9 #1: What a rollercoaster! Today's election update adds 23,213 votes to the count and London Breed has retaken the lead from Mark Leno by 498 votes. 2,700 of the votes were mailed in, the rest were dropped off at polling places on Election Day. The Department of Elections says there are about 42,000 votes left to count. That includes 14,000 provisional ballots, which have historically leaned more progressive. They will probably finish the remaining vote-by-mail ballots by Monday, but counting all of the provisional ballots could take another week! Here's a chart of how the vote count has gone.
Update 6/8 #3: Here's a map from Alex Lantsberg, another friendly data geek, showing where today's votes came from:
You can compare that to this map of where Kim and Leno did well to guess what it means. It looks like it was a pretty even mix of areas favorable to Breed and Kim/Leno. For more thoughts on what it all means, see Mission Local's excellent ongoing coverage.
Update 6/8 #2: Seriously?!? They counted 19,475 votes today and Leno's lead narrowed from 255 votes to 144 votes! The Department of Elections says these votes included 6,000 that were mailed in, and 13,000 vote-by-mail ballots that were dropped off at polling places. There are still 64,900 ballots left to count: 51,000 vote-by-mail ballots, and 14,000 provisional ballots. Here's a chart showing Leno's lead over Breed in blue and the total number of votes cast in red. It looks like the final total of votes will be close to that top line in the graph of 250,000 votes, which would be over 50% turnout.
Update 6/8 #1: Jim Stearns has more maps! This first map shows the votes that were counted on 6/7 that shifted the results towards London Breed. Jim says, "This is derived by comparing the precinct statement of vote released yesterday with the prior day's statement. the areas colored in red and orange represent 50% of the ballots cast; the yellow is an additional 30%. You can see clearly that the central city where both Leno and Kim did best is almost completely missing."
This second map shows, "where 49,100 absentee ballots that arrived on or after election day are from. Some of these may have been counted already, and there may be additional -- this is what the DOE gave us yesterday. Red precincts, with more than 100 ballots each, represent about 50% of remaining ballots; the orange and yellow precincts are about 25% each."
And this map shows the precincts where Leno and Kim's combined first place votes were greater than 50%, as of the count on June 6th. Comparing this to the map above of votes yet to be counted, we see a lot of votes from Leno-Kim strongholds like the Castro, Mission, Noe, Bernal, and Potrero, but also a lot of votes where Breed did well in places like Mission Bay, West of Twin Peaks, and parts of the Bayview and central Sunset.
Update 6/7: Yowzers! They counted 8,065 votes and Leno's lead shrunk from 1,121 to 255 votes! Of the votes counted today, 3,000 were ballots that were received in the mail on Election Day and 5,000 were dropped off at polling places.
There are still 84,000 ballots left to count! That includes about 9,000 ballots that were received in the mail on Election Day, 3,000 received in the mail today, 39,000 dropped off at polling places, 3,000 votes cast at City Hall on Election Day, and 14,000 provisional ballots.
What to expect next: In recent elections, the ballots that are mailed in tend to be more conservative, and the ballots dropped off at polling places tend to be more progressive. The provisional ballots are even more progressive. Probably something like 50-80% of those will end up counting. If the historical trend continues, we'd expect things to swing back towards Leno as they count the dropped-off ballots and provisional ballots.
Also, Jim Stearns, one of Leno's consultants, crunched the numbers and says most of today's batch came from Breed-friendly precincts. He also says the remaining ballots skew much younger in age (55% under the age of 50, vs 34% under age 50 for ballots already counted).
Keep the faith, Pissed Off Voters, keep the faith!
Update 6/6: The Department of Elections counted 4,300 votes and Leno's lead dipped down to 1,121 votes. There are about 87,000 ballots left to count: 16,000 that were received in the mail on Election Day, 47,000 dropped off at polling places, 3,000 votes cast at City Hall on Election Day, and 14,000 provisional ballots. The 4,300 ballots counted today were mailed in and received on Election Day. They will also still receive some more in the mail, and if they are postmarked by Election Day, they will count.
Update 6/5: On the final count of the night, Mark Leno inched ahead of London Breed by 1,146 votes. Wow! The #2 votes of Jane Kim's voters broke overwhelming to Leno, so if these results hold, and you voted the League slate, you helped make Leno Mayor!
The rest of the election results are overwhelmingly awesome! Rafael Mandelman won decisively, Prop F (lawyers for tenants facing evictions) and Prop G (parcel tax for teachers' pay) passed, and Prop H (dangerous police taser policy) lost! Prop C to fund childcare and early eduction is clinging to victory. Stay tuned!
Links for election results:
Timing of results:
- Tuesday at 8:45pm: The Department of Elections will release the first batch of results. These will be only vote-by-mail ballots received before Tuesday. Typically, these are the most conservative votes. Don’t freak out if the results look bad! Have another drink and wait for….
- Tuesday at 9:45, 10:45, and 11:30pm: Elections will release the totals from ballots cast at polling places.
- Wednesday at 4pm: Elections will release an updated count and tell us how many ballots they still have to count.
- Every day after that at 4pm: They'll keep release results until they're all counted.
What to expect?
None of the absentee ballots dropped off at polling places will be counted on Election Night! It might take two weeks for them all to be counted! Also, nobody who registered on Election Day at City Hall will have their ballot counted tonight. Also, none of the provisional ballots will be counted tonight! The drama will play out every day at 4pm in the basement of City Hall when the Department of Elections will release new results.
We’ve been watching this process for years, and almost always, the late results swing the results a few percentage points towards progressive causes. You can see that in the graphs below that we made from the November 2016 results for the District 1 and District 11 Board of Supervisors races.
Over on Mission Local, Joe Eskenazi offers his prognostications based on talking to a bunch of unnamed smart people. They seem to think London Breed will win if Jane Kim and Mark Leno are behind by more than 10% on the initial absentee ballots.
We think that might be overly conservative. If London is only up by 10% on the initial results, that lead could easily shrink to 5 or 6% by the end of the night. Then it will all depend on the late absentee ballots and of course, on how people use their #2 and #3 votes.
There's only been one other example of two major candidates using an RCV strategy like Jane Kim and Mark Leno are doing. In Oakland in 2010, Jean Quan was down by 9.26% and Rebecca Kaplan was behind by 12.15% on first place votes. That was on the final vote count--not the early, conservative vote-by-mail ballots. But when Kaplan's #2 votes overwhelmingly went to Jean Quan, she beat Don Perata 51% to 49%.
Keep the faith, Pissed Off Voters, keep the faith!
November 2016, Board of Supervisors District 11: Ahsha Safai's lead shrunk from 1,418 votes to 412 votes over the course of the vote count!
November 2016, Board of Supervisors District 1: Sandy Fewer's lead grew from -96 votes to 1365 votes over the course of the vote count!