How does the League do endorsements?
Every election, the SF League's endorsement process starts with researching the upcoming ballot. We hold a kickoff meeting for our PEAC (Political Education and Action Committee) working group where we discuss the upcoming election, divide up research, and send questionnaires out to candidates on the ballot. PEAC is made up of volunteers who qualify as voting members, meaning they've donated some dough and volunteered for at least four hours in the previous election. PEAC meets again to present research to each other, discuss the candidates and issues, and finally vote on what endorsement to recommend for the general membership.
Once these endorsement recommendations from PEAC are settled, it's time for the public Endorsement Meeting where PEAC members present their research and recommendations to the general League membership. The room is covered in butcher paper, and PEAC transcribes their research onto the walls. Meeting attendees check out the candidates’ responses to our policy questionnaire that we’ve published on our website. Folks are given markers and can walk around, read the pros/cons of an issue or candidate, and contribute their own research. We then have a group discussion of the entire ballot, with a chance for folks on both sides of an issue to make their case. If you've been to one of these, you've probably been blown away by the amount of wisdom in the room, and you've probably learned a lot. Candidates and their paid staff are asked to leave the room while their contests are being discussed (although they’re welcome to provide input on issues or campaigns they’re not part of).
Finally, WE VOTE! The Endorsement Meeting is open to anyone, but only voting members in good standing get to cast a ballot. Ballot initiative endorsements require a simple majority of the total number of voting members at the meeting. RCV candidate races get hammered out using a score voting candidate ranking system. RCV candidates need to be supported by a majority of our members to get our endorsement. And if multiple candidates are endorsed, they are ranked based on their score voting total.
After our endorsements are decided, our super fresh wordsmiths write up the endorsements and our reasons for them, our design posse makes the voter guide look beautiful, we raise the money to print it from individuals and campaigns, and we hit the streets with the PISSED OFF VOTER GUIDE!!
PHEW. It's a really fun process and we'd love to have new folks jump in on the action. Hit us up if you want to help, and keep checking the website for updates on where we are in the process for the next election.
If you're still reading this, chances are you're a nerd. Here are more details for those who want them:
Early endorsements happen like this:
- A member of the League's steering committee calls an early PEAC meeting to discuss a potential early endorsement.
- PEAC researches the item and votes on it.
- With a 2/3 majority of PEAC, an item can be brought to a general membership meeting.
- If 2/3 of the general membership endorses the ballot item, it gets an early endorsement!
And finally, here's a recap of the roles that are important in the endorsement process:
- Give $ in past 12 months ($10 for young/low income, $25 for everyone else OR donate your age!)
- Volunteer 4 hours in previous election cycle on official League activities (no voting based on promises for future volunteer time!)
- Qualify as a voting member (Give $ and volunteer 4 hours in the last election cycle)
- Commit to attending PEAC meetings and completing research on time
- Help plan, hype, and facilitate endorsement meeting
Okay, that's all we've got for ya. If you have questions, you can contact [email protected].