John Arntz, director of the Department of Elections, says he estimates the voter turnout yesterday was close to 50 percent, dismissing earlier claims that it was in the early 30s.
“What we experienced yesterday in S.F. was basically a presidential-level Election Day,” says Arntz. “You don’t see those kinds of numbers for a June primary.”
But the results are still inconclusive. “The reports we issue on a daily basis are not in any way indicative of a final result,” he said.
And counting is going to be slow. Only around 4,300 votes were counted today. Arntz says 16,000 mail-in ballots came in yesterday, and another 13,000 today.
“The results report for Thursday, June 7, will include much of the remainder of vote-by-mail ballots the Department received from the post office on Election Day,” says Arntz, noting that there are still 87,000 votes left to be counted. Provisional ballots will be counted only after mail-in ballots are complete.
“We’ll be working 14, 16-hour days,” Arntz said. His staff will be counting through this weekend, and maybe the next.
Mark Leno continues to lead by a small margin. He currently has 50.40 percent of the votes, to London Breed’s 49.60 percent. She closed in .02 percent, but Leno is still in front by more than 1,100 votes.
Proposition C — another closely-watched race — is barely squeaking by with 50.31 percent approval. while competing Proposition D has just 44 percent approval. If neither passes, additional taxes on commercial rents may fund neither child care and education, as stipulated by Prop. C, or housing and homeless services, as stipulated by Prop. D.
Frontrunner Mark Leno spoke publicly today about the race thus far, at a press conference held at Budget Signs, his business in SoMa.
“We’re feeling very encouraged and optimistic, and I want to thank all the San Francisco voters who have been a part of this effort for fundamental change and a new direction for San Francisco, and for believing in a brighter day,” Leno said.
Citing the numbers so far, Leno said that “a significant plurality, if not majority, of voters are indeed looking for change, looking for a new direction, for something much better for San Francisco than what we’ve been seeing in past years… We love this city, it’s going through some tough times, and we can do better. We will do better.”
London Breed also held a press conference, though it only lasted two-and-a-half minutes.
“It has been absolutely amazing journey, full of love, full of excitement, full of hope, and I am optimistic,” Breed said. She noted that she won nine of 11 districts, but we tracked it and found that when you add the first place votes of Kim and Leno, they outnumber Breed in nine districts. She is simply citing plurality numbers not majority.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday afternoon, Jane Kim, who is currently locked out in third place, thanked her hundreds of volunteers and expressed pride in the coalition her supporters built through grassroots organizing and community service. She added that she is excited to return to work on Monday to expand the Free City College program, make sure tenant counsel is fully funded, boost the rent subsidy program and pass the Minimum Compensation Ordinance.
“While there are ballots left to count, I am excited for a Mayor Mark Leno administration,” Kim said. “We can be a be a city that continues to grow while not displacing those of us who are here or those of us seeking refuge and acceptance in our great city.”