The motto of last year’s successful ballot campaign to initiate Saturday voting in San Francisco was “Why Tuesday?”
As it turns out, the answer is because Saturday is too expensive.
Political strategist Alex Tourk sent an email to his supporters Sunday saying there will not be a Saturday vote this year because the necessary fundraising simply wasn’t successful.
The ballot measure, approved by 59 percent of the vote in November, would have opened all precincts the Saturday before this November’s Tuesday Election Day, to make it convenient for more people to vote.
However, opening precincts two days instead of just one is not a cheap prospect. The Elections Commission says it would cost $2.3 million.
In order to defray costs to taxpayers, the ballot measure created the Saturday Voting Fund to pay for operation of the precincts on Saturday, Nov. 3. Private donors were to fill the coffers of the fund, which in turn would pay for the Saturday vote.
Tourk’s email said those private donors never materialized.
“We were unable to raise the millions necessary to implement this year’s pilot program,” he wrote. “While it is unfortunate that we will not be able to test this idea this November, I am proud of our efforts together to create a dialogue around changing an antiquated system.”
Neither Tourk nor elections chief John Arntz could be reached for comment Sunday. The political blog Fog City Journal reported that Arntz said the fund had a zero balance as of last week.
Citizens Against Tax Waste Chairman Terence Faulkner, who wrote the rebuttal argument against the ballot measure creating Saturday voting last year, was not surprised Sunday that it failed to garner the financial support it needed.
“It’s a matter of how much are you going to spend in resources for something like that,” he said.