Voter fatigue is real – San Francisco will hold a total of four elections this year. But our vote is our voice, and this November’s election is an important one.
Not only will we be voting on several state measures, including codifying abortion access, San Francisco voters will also have a say in 15 local measures and will choose candidates for elected office impacting all levels of our government. The election results from this November may very well fundamentally change the direction of San Francisco’s future in the next decade.
I know many of us are overwhelmed by the pandemic, turned off by toxic political fights and by the lack of intellectually honest policy debates or smart policy solutions. Perhaps this is why voter turnout has been devastatingly low this year overall. But high voter participation is key to democracy, from federal elections all the way down to local office. Unfortunately, oftentimes many eligible voters sit out elections because they are either turned off by toxic political campaigns or they feel that their vote doesn’t matter. And sadly, instead of doing right by San Franciscans and taking a stand to fight in the best interest of our City, there are opportunistic democrats who align themselves with the right wing for their own power grab and political gain, making this situation even more toxic.
Previously we have seen special interests, dark money and right wingers attempt to buy our elections, but they failed. Now, they are actually gaining ground and obtaining success. Even in San Francisco, Donald Trump gained more voters in 2020 than he did in 2016. That was a telling sign and should serve as an alarm to anyone who cares about our democracy. If any of us think that the Jan. 6, 2021, attack can only happen in Washington D.C., they are gravely mistaken. The right wingers have been and will continue to come at us, and they are back for more this November. In fact, they will keep coming to San Francisco until they destroy our democracy.
That’s why this November, it is not good enough for us to just vote, we must also get others to vote. We must stand up, fight back with our civic engagement, turn out voters, and of course, vote ourselves. Vote like our democracy depends on it, because it does. We must stop the right wing power grab and make sure our working families, renters, immigrants and future generations can stay and thrive in our sanctuary city.
The fact is, the waves of hardship we have experienced during the pandemic have made it hard for many of us to pay attention to what is happening to political discourse in our City. But our City is facing attacks and voter suppression. Recently, the ability for noncitizen parents to vote in school board elections was challenged in court and has now been overturned by a local San Francisco Superior Court judge. The City has filed an appeal to this decision, in order to protect the right of immigrant parents and guardians to vote for members of the Board of Education. However, because of this decision, we will have fewer San Franciscans participating and voting this November on critical elections for the Board of Education. We know that, regardless of their immigration status, the voice of all parents is paramount to ensuring the Board of Education guides the San Francisco Unified School District in a way that is reflective of all the families it serves.
As I have already mentioned, this November’s ballot will include several measures that are aimed at addressing the inequities we continue to see in our City. Every San Franciscan holds our beloved City’s future in our hand, and that’s our vote. This is why we have to participate in November’s elections. Registered voters will receive their ballots in the mail in early October, as vote-by-mail ballots are required to be mailed to every active registered California voter. If you aren’t registered, need to update your voter registration, or aren’t sure if you’re registered to vote, be sure to visit the San Francisco Department of Elections’s website at sfelections.sfgov.org/ways-vote to check out your ballot status.
Please make your voice count and do right by San Franciscans: Vote.
This article was published in the Richmond Review in September 2022.