The “Yes In My Backyard” housing initiative is “Not On My June Ballot” this year. The Affordable and Teacher Housing Now Initiative, a pro-density housing measure spearheaded by the San Francisco chapter of the advocacy nonprofit YIMBY Action, is pushing its target date out to the Nov. 6, 2018 general election, according to a blog post YIMBY Action blog post from last week.
“For most people, this won’t even seem like a big change: all the signatures we’ve collected are still valid, and all the work we’ve done just sets us up for a more secure victory in November,” YIMBY Action executive director Laura Foote Clark wrote in an open letter to supporters last week. “All this means is that our ballot prop will go on the November ballot instead of the June ballot, with a greater chance of passing and more time for our volunteers to collect signatures.”
The signature threshold is much higher for this particular ballot measure, because it proposes an amendment to the city’s charter. Regular policy ballot measures that don’t affect the city charter, like the proposal to repeal the menthol cigarette ban, require far fewer signatures.
According to the Department of Elections’ Guide to Qualifying San Francisco Initiative Measures for the June 5, 2018 primary election, “a proponent must gather at least 51,340 valid signatures to qualify a Charter Amendment,” a figure that represents 10 percent of all city voters.
For typical policy ballot measures that do not change the city charter, “the proponent must gather at least 9,485 valid signatures of registered San Francisco voters.” Charter Amendments face a much bigger challenge to qualify for the ballot.
Still, all of the signatures YIMBY Action has collected thus far can still be counted toward an attempt to make the Nov. 6, 2018 election ballot.
“When we started with the June plan, everything about the political landscape was different,” Foote Clark says. “We shouldn’t be stubborn in the face of change and ignore the benefits of shifting focus to November.”
Of all the measures attempting to qualify for the June 5 ballot, only the menthol tobacco ban repeal and a “Keep the Warriors in Oakland” measure have collected and verified the required number of signatures. As a reminder, the San Francisco mayoral election is also on June 5, 2018.