Plan to offer Saturday voting in the works 

This November, San Francisco voters could have the opportunity to vote on a ballot measure that would create Saturday voting.

The first time Saturday voting would occur would be for the November 2011 election, when voters will elect San Francisco’s next mayor.

Alex Tourk, a lobbyist and head of Ground Floors Public Affairs, is the official proponent of the proposed ballot measure. For the measure to end up on the November ballot, 7,168 signatures are required by July 6.

According to the proposed Saturday Voting Act, “San Francisco residents deserve a voting system which corresponds to the schedules and lifestyles of working families. Allowing voting on Saturday would encourage parents to involve their children in the democratic process.”

The measure makes reference to a nationwide movement known as “Why Tuesday?”

If this measure makes it onto the ballot and is approved by voters, San Francisco “would create a pilot program in connection with the November 2011” election and would require the Department of Elections to “open satellite locations for early voting at each of the approximately 400 polling places” throughout San Francisco, on the Saturday prior to the Tuesday election.

While elections are expensive to hold for the city, the Saturday voting operation “would be at not expense to the taxpayers.”  Instead, the measure creates a “Saturday Voting Fund,” which would accept donations to cover the cost of operating the poll stations on Saturday.

Why Saturday voting?

To increase voter turnout, to make voting more accessible to families and to “serve an example to the rest of the country” are among the reasons given in the measure. If the pilot program is proven effective, then the measure urges the mayor and Board of Supervisors to figure out how to implement and pay for Saturday voting for future elections.

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