Thoughts on the election in SF. - The Life and Thoughts of Zach
Dec. 9th, 2003
11:35 pm - Thoughts on the election in SF.
So it looks like Gonzalez didn't quite pull it off. The initial numbers show a 5% gap between he and Newsom. That's better than the 10% gap that pollsters had for him before the election and the 30% gap that he had when only absentee ballots had been counted.
It was a wild ride watching the election results come in precinct by precinct (as exciting as the basketball game my roomate was watching, we were both shouting out about exciting developments tonight) because it started out with absentee ballots and everyone has been saying that most of the absentee ballots would go to Newsom. With the first ~71,000 votes in Newsom was up by 30 percentage points. Every single time I hit reload on my browser to see the returns from some more precincts Gonzalez closed the gap more and more. That means that Gonzalez won the majority of the votes of people actually going to the polls in nearly every precinct in the city (I'd really like to see a precinct by precinct breakdown).
SF Indymedia was in top form during the election. They dispatched teams with video cameras all over the city to closely monitor and document every move made by the election officials as they moved the "datapaks" of the electronic voting machines from the precincts to the "upload sites" to make sure that nothing was tampered with or mishandled. They had poll watchers documenting every grievance. They had a team of process experts analyzing the handling of the absentee ballots. Only in the next couple of days will we really learn what kinds of fraud might have been committed, if any, and what will be done about it. Cheers to indymedia for really coming through to protect democracy with video cameras. It brings a tear to my eye to see how organized these folks were.
Total voter turnout was 48% of registered voters. Apparently it was a rainy day and many think that hurt the turnout a bit (which in turn hurt Gonzalez given that the majority of people casting votes today voted for Gonzalez).
Win or lose this whole process has left me really excited. It is so good to know that there are places where a progressive campaign can be waged competitively where triangulate and move right isn't the order of the day. It is so good to know that a Green can kick ass using simple grass roots DIY low budget tactics. Newsom outspent Gonzalez by at least 8 to 1 and the gap was still just 5%.
The activated progressive network that came out for Gonzalez can now stick together to support pushing progressive initiatives through the city council. Awesome.
And who knows...maybe there'll be some wild ride over the next few days if there are reasonable allegations of fraud or miscount. Only time will tell. (Though an 11,000 gap seems hard to make up via a recount).