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San Diego delays ranked-choice voting

Barona Band showers money on local Dems

The County Registrar of Voters noted that the robustness of the $1.65 million outreach campaign included as part of this total amount may taper off as [ranked-choice voting] becomes more socialized.
The County Registrar of Voters noted that the robustness of the $1.65 million outreach campaign included as part of this total amount may taper off as [ranked-choice voting] becomes more socialized.

Fat cats’ voting scheme

Proponents of an “instant runoff” voting scheme that once appeared destined for San Diego’s November ballot ultimately failed to convince the city council of its merits — despite the influence of some big out-of-town money. A city-wide vote on whether to adopt so-called ranked-choice voting. as it is also known, was delayed at least until 2024 after the council’s Rules Committee balked at rushing the proposal to a fall vote.

The city currently holds city council, mayoral, and city attorney primaries in June, with the top two vote-getters facing off in November. The so-called instant runoff system is more complicated and controversial. “Generally, with [instant-runoff voting], voters rank candidates in order of preference,” explains a June 2, 2022, report by the city’s Independent Budget Analyst. “A candidate can win outright by receiving the majority of first-preference votes. If no candidate receives a majority, then the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated, and voters who picked that candidate as their first choice will have their next choice counted. If there still is not a winner, then the candidate with the next fewest votes is also eliminated. This process continues with candidates eliminated one by one until one candidate has obtained a majority.”

Mark Kersey says instant runoffs will help prevent nasty campaigns

Among downsides, per the report: “The tabulation process when multiple rounds occur will require additional time, perhaps even days or weeks, until results are available.” In addition, “ballots and the counting of the ballots will be more expensive, due to the need for additional materials,” and “education and outreach will be necessary to ensure all voters understand the voting system.”

Costs to implement the scheme are estimated at $3.5 million, per the analysis, including “$2.8 million in ongoing costs per election for voter education and outreach, additional ballots, and voter information. The County [Registrar of Voters] noted that the robustness of the $1.65 million outreach campaign included as part of this total amount may taper off as [ranked-choice voting] becomes more socialized, but expects a high-level of outreach to be required through at least eight election cycles.”

So why consider such a radical switch? “Voters and candidates are tired of divisive and toxic campaigns,” ex-councilman Mark Kersey told the Rules Committee, per an April 20 City News Service report posted online by KPBS. “[Ranked-choice voting] incentivizes more civility in politics. Because candidates need to win second, third and fourth place votes in ranked-choice voting elections, candidates run more positive campaigns focused on the issues.” Lori Thiel of the League of Women Voters told the committee, “Communities that use ranked-choice voting see more women and people of color run for office and see more women and people of color elected.”

A campaign finance disclosure covering the first half of this year reveals that much of the cash behind the proposal is from out of town, including $50,000 on March 17 from Denver, Colorado-based Unite America. Kathryn Murdoch, wife of James Murdoch, the liberal-leaning son of conservative Fox News proprietor Rupert Murdoch, co-chairs the board and is a major financial backer of the group.

John Palmer of San Francisco private equity boutique Hanover Partners had given a total of $30,000 by March 28. “Prior to forming Hanover Partners, John was a Vice-President with Wells Fargo Bank, having held operating roles in strategic finance, marketing, and strategic planning,” says Palmer’s online bio. More of the money to drive the effort flowed from the Independent Voter Project, which came up with a total of $60,000 in March and April, and its affiliated Independent Voter PAC, which kicked in $50,000 on February 14. That committee, associated with Democratic ex-state Senator Steve Peace, has been heavily funded by utility giant Sempra Energy, which furnished a total of $135,000 in December of last year.

Todd Gloria’s Barona band of freebies

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and his deputy chief of staff Nick Serrano ventured beyond city limits on April 22 to chow down on meal freebies worth $57 each provided by the Barona Band of Mission Indians, according to the band’s second quarter lobbying disclosure filed July 29.

Nick Serrano, the happy recipient of a free lunch — or maybe dinner.

In addition to city hall Democrats Gloria and Serrano, the tribe spent a total of $2685 in “activity expenses” on a host of Democratic state legislators and legislative hopefuls, with most of the money, $2049, paying for the unidentified gathering attended by the mayor and his aide. The event’s legislative roster included Democratic Assembly candidates Georgette Gomez, Christy Holstege, James Coleman, Rick Chavez Zbur, and Corey Jackson, along with Democratic state senate hopefuls Daniel Hertzberg and Steve Padilla, Assembly Democrat Chris Ward, and state Senate Democrat Scott Weiner.

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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The County Registrar of Voters noted that the robustness of the $1.65 million outreach campaign included as part of this total amount may taper off as [ranked-choice voting] becomes more socialized.
The County Registrar of Voters noted that the robustness of the $1.65 million outreach campaign included as part of this total amount may taper off as [ranked-choice voting] becomes more socialized.

Fat cats’ voting scheme

Proponents of an “instant runoff” voting scheme that once appeared destined for San Diego’s November ballot ultimately failed to convince the city council of its merits — despite the influence of some big out-of-town money. A city-wide vote on whether to adopt so-called ranked-choice voting. as it is also known, was delayed at least until 2024 after the council’s Rules Committee balked at rushing the proposal to a fall vote.

The city currently holds city council, mayoral, and city attorney primaries in June, with the top two vote-getters facing off in November. The so-called instant runoff system is more complicated and controversial. “Generally, with [instant-runoff voting], voters rank candidates in order of preference,” explains a June 2, 2022, report by the city’s Independent Budget Analyst. “A candidate can win outright by receiving the majority of first-preference votes. If no candidate receives a majority, then the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated, and voters who picked that candidate as their first choice will have their next choice counted. If there still is not a winner, then the candidate with the next fewest votes is also eliminated. This process continues with candidates eliminated one by one until one candidate has obtained a majority.”

Mark Kersey says instant runoffs will help prevent nasty campaigns

Among downsides, per the report: “The tabulation process when multiple rounds occur will require additional time, perhaps even days or weeks, until results are available.” In addition, “ballots and the counting of the ballots will be more expensive, due to the need for additional materials,” and “education and outreach will be necessary to ensure all voters understand the voting system.”

Costs to implement the scheme are estimated at $3.5 million, per the analysis, including “$2.8 million in ongoing costs per election for voter education and outreach, additional ballots, and voter information. The County [Registrar of Voters] noted that the robustness of the $1.65 million outreach campaign included as part of this total amount may taper off as [ranked-choice voting] becomes more socialized, but expects a high-level of outreach to be required through at least eight election cycles.”

So why consider such a radical switch? “Voters and candidates are tired of divisive and toxic campaigns,” ex-councilman Mark Kersey told the Rules Committee, per an April 20 City News Service report posted online by KPBS. “[Ranked-choice voting] incentivizes more civility in politics. Because candidates need to win second, third and fourth place votes in ranked-choice voting elections, candidates run more positive campaigns focused on the issues.” Lori Thiel of the League of Women Voters told the committee, “Communities that use ranked-choice voting see more women and people of color run for office and see more women and people of color elected.”

A campaign finance disclosure covering the first half of this year reveals that much of the cash behind the proposal is from out of town, including $50,000 on March 17 from Denver, Colorado-based Unite America. Kathryn Murdoch, wife of James Murdoch, the liberal-leaning son of conservative Fox News proprietor Rupert Murdoch, co-chairs the board and is a major financial backer of the group.

John Palmer of San Francisco private equity boutique Hanover Partners had given a total of $30,000 by March 28. “Prior to forming Hanover Partners, John was a Vice-President with Wells Fargo Bank, having held operating roles in strategic finance, marketing, and strategic planning,” says Palmer’s online bio. More of the money to drive the effort flowed from the Independent Voter Project, which came up with a total of $60,000 in March and April, and its affiliated Independent Voter PAC, which kicked in $50,000 on February 14. That committee, associated with Democratic ex-state Senator Steve Peace, has been heavily funded by utility giant Sempra Energy, which furnished a total of $135,000 in December of last year.

Todd Gloria’s Barona band of freebies

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and his deputy chief of staff Nick Serrano ventured beyond city limits on April 22 to chow down on meal freebies worth $57 each provided by the Barona Band of Mission Indians, according to the band’s second quarter lobbying disclosure filed July 29.

Nick Serrano, the happy recipient of a free lunch — or maybe dinner.

In addition to city hall Democrats Gloria and Serrano, the tribe spent a total of $2685 in “activity expenses” on a host of Democratic state legislators and legislative hopefuls, with most of the money, $2049, paying for the unidentified gathering attended by the mayor and his aide. The event’s legislative roster included Democratic Assembly candidates Georgette Gomez, Christy Holstege, James Coleman, Rick Chavez Zbur, and Corey Jackson, along with Democratic state senate hopefuls Daniel Hertzberg and Steve Padilla, Assembly Democrat Chris Ward, and state Senate Democrat Scott Weiner.

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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