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Friday, June 17, 2011

Will Somebody Please "Like" the Department of Elections?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 5:25 PM

click to enlarge Elections officials want to give you a reason to "like" ranked-choice voting
  • Elections officials want to give you a reason to "like" ranked-choice voting
Are you following San Francisco's Department of Elections on Twitter? Yeah, we didn't think so. Granted, the department's foray into social networking just began two days ago, but you would think it could scrounge up more than the lonely five followers it has.

But seriously, if done well, Facebook and Twitter could be a more effective way to reach out to voters who are unfamiliar with or completely clueless about ranked-choice voting.

Considering that there's no shortage of people to choose from for mayor in the coming election -- 36 candidates are vying to be the city's next chief executive  -- it's probably a good idea to give voters a "how to vote" crash course before Nov. 8. 

Critics say that ranking candidates is confusing, and there are statistics from last year's general election to prove it. Data show that several hundred people voted for the wrong number of candidates, rendering their ballots useless. Overvoting occurred most in District 10, which includes Bayview-Hunters Point.

Nataliya Kuzina, deputy director of the Department of Elections, said the Twitter and Facebook accounts aren't targeted toward anyone in particular.

"It's hard to say it was created to reach a certain demographic. It's just another resource to receive information in elections. We are trying to reach more people," she told SF Weekly.

It remains to be seen whether the department will reach anyone who wouldn't already respond to the traditional media -- Muni ads, pamphlets, or brochures. Kuzina says the information on Twitter and Facebook will only be in English -- which certainly doesn't help.

But one thing's for sure: The department needs some friends and followers. The department itself is following a whopping zero people, and anyone who isn't Kanye West or Justin Bieber knows that amassing Twitter followers requires you to make the overture.

As Kanye would say, "It's a process," so we'll see in time who follows and "likes" the Department of Elections.

And if you're going to follow them, how about following us @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF

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Taylor Friedman


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