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AS IT HAPPENED: Election night 2011

By Steven Luo November 8, 2011 No Comments Print Share

Welcome to the California Beat’s live coverage of tonight’s municipal elections in San Francisco and around the Bay Area. We’ll bring you the latest returns and reaction from the candidates; keep refreshing this page for the latest.

0159 PDT: We need to make one correction: we had the No and Yes totals for Prop. D, the Jeff Adachi-backed pension reform measure, reversed — 66% of voters said no to the measure.

With that correction made, the California Beat now estimates that Prop. C, the pension reform measure backed by Ed Lee and public employee unions, has passed and will take effect.

0135 PDT: One last note: as it stands, John Avalos needs 63% of ballots from candidates who finish below him to transfer his way in order to overtake Ed Lee in the ranked-choice tabulation.

Keep in mind, though, that voters were only allowed to rank three candidates in a race with at least twice as many legitimate candidates, so there will be a significant number of ballots where all three choices have been eliminated (“exhausted” ballots). For reference, of the roughly 50,000 ballots in the last Oakland mayoral election which did not indicate Jean Quan or Don Perata as their first preference, 28% did not rank Quan or Perata in their preferences at all, while 49% eventually transferred to Quan and 23% to Perata.

In the other SF races, David Onek needs 78% of ballots for other candidates to transfer his way in order to overtake George Gascon in the DA’s race, while Chris Cunnie needs 64% of ballots to transfer his way to overtake Ross Mirkarimi in the sheriff’s race. With fewer candidates in those races, there will be fewer exhausted ballots.

0109 PDT: A quick update of San Mateo County election results before we wrap up for the night: a parcel tax measure for the Pacifica School District is now ahead of the 2/3 threshold, with 69% of voters in support, while a similar measure in the Burlingame School District has increased its support to 68%.

2330 PDT: To recap what’s happened so far tonight:

  • Appointed incumbents Ed Lee and George Gascon hold leads in first preference votes in the San Francisco mayor’s and district attorney’s races, but neither has cleared the 50% + 1 barrier required to be elected. Ranked choice results will determine the outcome of both elections, with the first results expected tomorrow at 4 p.m.
  • Both of San Francisco’s dueling pension reform measures appear to have the support of voters, but Ed Lee-backed Prop. C appears to be on track to finish with more Yes votes than Prop. D. The measure with the greatest number of Yes votes will take effect.
  • 20 of the 25 tax and bond measures before Bay Area voters have passed or are leading tonight, though a 0.5% sales tax increase in San Francisco has gone down to defeat.

2320 PDT: To wrap up our roundup of local measures, all tax and bond measures before voters in Marin County are leading tonight:

  • A school bond measure in the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District is easily clearing the 55% threshold for passage, while a measure which would renew Tamalpais Union High School District’s existing parcel tax is passing with 72% support (it needs 2/3 for passage).
  • A sales tax measure in Fairfax is passing easily, receiving 64% support (majority support required).
  • Parcel taxes to support emergency services in Corte Madera, Lucas Valley County Service Area No. 13, and the Santa Venetia-Bayside Acres Fire Protection District are all well above the 2/3 majority required for passage, while a fire protection parcel tax in the Marinwood Community Services District is barely clearing the threshold at 66.8%.

2312 PDT: Continuing our roundup of local measures from around the Bay:

  • Hotel taxes in Cupertino and Pittsburg are passing easily.
  • In Lafayette, a parcel tax to pay for road and drain repairs looks to be well short of the 2/3 requirement, receiving 58% support from voters.
  • Palo Alto voters are approving the elimination of the requirement that contract disputes with public safety workers be settled by binding arbitration, with 67% of voters in favor of the measure (a majority vote is required for passage).

2300 PDT: With 66% of precincts reporting, San Mateo County voters appear to be in a less generous mood: school bonds for the San Mateo Community College District and San Bruno Park School District are below the 55% threshold needed for passage, while a Millbrae School Distict bond measure holds 58% support.

Business license tax measures in Redwood City and Burlingame are ahead by sizable margins, while a parcel tax for Burlingame School District is at 67% support — barely above the 2/3 threshold required for passage — and a Pacifica School District parcel tax is just below the 2/3 threshold.

Hotel tax measures in Foster City and Redwood City are passing easily.

2250 PDT: Election night final results from Alameda County show all three tax and bond measures before voters leading. Emeryville Measures C and D, which would increase taxes on businesses, are receiving the support of 81% and 79% of voters, respectively. Newark USD Measure G, a $63 million school bond measure, is clinging to a 56-44 lead; the measure needs 55% support to pass.

2245 PDT: Two more projections: the California Beat estimates that San Francisco Prop. E, which would allow the mayor and Board of Supervisors to repeal initiatives approved by the voters, has gone down to defeat, while Prop. F, which would make various changes to the city’s campaign consultant regulations, has also been defeated. Prop. E is opposed by 67% of voters, while Prop. F is opposed by 56%; both measures needed majority support to pass.

The California Beat does not expect to issue any further projections on San Francisco elections tonight.

2232 PDT: The Beat also estimates that San Francisco Prop. G, which would raise sales taxes by half a percentage point to help fund city programs, will go down to defeat. 54% of voters are opposing Prop. G, while the measure needs two-thirds support to pass.

2230 PDT: The California Beat now estimates that, with the vast majority of votes now counted, San Francisco’s Prop. A, which would allow the school district to issue $531 million in bonds to fund facilities improvements, has passed. The measure is currently receiving 71% support, and needs 55% to pass.

2220 PDT: The battle over San Francisco’s school assignment system is set to go down to the wire: Prop. H, which would favor placing students in schools in their neighborhoods, now leads by just 1,989 votes out of more than 135,000 cast.

2216 PDT: Ed Lee’s lead in first preferences in the San Francisco mayoral race continues to shrink: he now holds 31% of the vote, compared to 19% for John Avalos and 11% for Dennis Herrerra, with all other candidates drawing less than 10%.

2213 PDT: All precincts in San Francisco are now reporting. The California Beat estimates that 87% of all votes are now counted; assuming similar turnout to the last mayoral election in 2007, approximately 20,000 votes remain to be counted. Most of those votes will be absentee ballots turned in at a polling station on election day or provisional ballots.

2212 PDT: In the latest numbers, San Francisco DA George Gascon’s lead also slips slightly, though he still holds a 20-point lead over challengers David Onek and Sharmin Bock in first preference votes. Meanwhile, sheriff’s office hopeful Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi’s lead increases — he now holds 38% of the vote, compared to 28% for Chris Cunnie (who moves into second) and 27% for Paul Miyamoto.

2207 PDT: New numbers just in from the SF Department of Elections show Ed Lee’s lead in first-choice votes in the mayoral race continuing to erode. He now holds 32% of first-choice votes, with second-placed Supervisor John Avalos up to 18%.

2200 PDT: San Francisco’s Prop. H, which would change the school district’s current method of assigning pupils to schools to favor placing students in schools near their homes, has seen its support erode. It’s now backed by 53% of voters, down from 58% in the initial returns.

2155 PDT: In the continuing battle between the dueling pension reform measures, Prop. C’s lead over Prop. D is shrinking. The Lee-backed Prop. C holds support from 69% of voters, while Adachi’s Prop. D is receiving support from 65% of voters. The measure with the most votes will take effect.

2154 PDT: If the percentages remain where they currently are throughout the night, ranked-choice voting will play a significant factor in the outcome. John Avalos needs roughly two-thirds of the vote for candidates in third place or below to transfer his way in order to beat Ed Lee; by comparison, Jean Quan saw nearly 75% of all non-exhausted ballots transfer her way in the final ranked-choice tally which elected her over Don Perata.

2147 PDT: Meanwhile, Ross Mirkarimi opens up a lead in the sheriff’s race, with 36% compared to 28% each for Paul Miyamoto and Chris Cunnie. District Attorney George Gascon’s lead shrinks slightly — he now holds 44% of the vote. David Onek trails with 21%, with Sharmin Bock dropping to third at 20%.

2145 PDT: The Beat now estimates that about two-thirds of the expected vote is now in. We expect approximately 50,000 ballots remain to be counted.

2143 PDT: With initial results from precincts in, Mayor Ed Lee’s lead drops from 40% to 33%. John Avalos, meanwhile, goes from 11% to 17%. Dennis Herrera remains the only other candidate in double digits.

2135 PDT: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, in a speech to supporters, acknowledges that he holds a large lead in the race, but says “I want to make sure all the votes are counted.” Lee says the vote provides “strong indications” that voters “want what we have been doing,” and says that becoming the first elected Chinese-American mayor opens “a new chapter” in San Francisco’s history.

2115 PDT: Both of the dueling pension reform measures are passing in early returns, with Ed Lee and union-backed Prop. C receiving 68% support, while Jeff Adachi’s Prop. D is receiving the backing of 61% of voters. If both measures pass (which appears likely), the one with the most votes will take effect.

2110 PDT: The California Beat estimates, based upon historical turnout data, that the initial returns in San Francisco represent approximately 40% of the final vote totals. Assuming turnout similar to the last mayoral race in 2007 (about 35%), we expect roughly 100,000 votes remain to be counted.

2100 PDT: In the District Attorney’s race, appointed incumbent George Gascon leads with 48% of the vote, with Sharmin Bock trailing at 21%. Ross Mirkarimi, Paul Miyamoto, and Chris Cunnie are all close in the sheriff’s race, with about 30% of the vote.

2055 PDT: Initial vote-by-mail returns from San Francisco are in, with Ed Lee holding nearly 40% of the vote and challengers John Avalos and Dennis Herrera the only other candidates in double digits.

Contact Beat Political Director Steven Luo at sluo@californiabeat.org.

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