Friday, September 27, 2013

Moscow, 6 Mayoral Choices v. SF, One Pol for City Attorney & Treasurer

How's this for the state of electoral democracy at the local level in Moscow and San Francisco.

In the recent election for mayor of Moscow which, granted, was mightily controlled and the media coverage of the campaigns relentlessly manipulated by Putin and his Kremlin cronies, a total of six candidates were on the ballot, pictured. Their names appear on the left in Cyrillic. Here are their names in English and percentage of votes received:

  • Sergey Sobyanin – 51.37%
  • Alexei Navalny – 27.24%
  • Ivan Melnikov – 10.69%
  • Sergey Mitrokhin – 3.51%
  • Mikhail Degtyaryov – 2.86%
  • Nikolai Levichev – 2.79%

  • Compare that wealth of choices with the Soviet-style ballot for San Francisco voters in November, with a single candidate for three city-wide offices. While the Democratic Party here is far from equal with the Kremlin and we lack a local Putin, a one-party town is unhealthy for electoral democracy.

    (San Francisco has ranked choice voting, so this November 2013 sample ballot shows that for city attorney your only possible first, second, and third choices are the incumbent Dennis J. Herrera. Click to enlarge. Credit: Department of Elections.)

    From a recent Political Notes column by Matthew Bajlko for the Bay Area Reporter, we get the local facts and names for the election this fall:

    The Alice [B. Toklas Democratic Club like the Harvey Milk Democratic Club] also endorsed [Assessor Carmen] Chu, who is unopposed for the position. Despite not having to worry about an opponent, Chu has been making the rounds to meet with various groups in the city. Last week, she addressed the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro during their monthly meeting [...]

    City Attorney Dennis Herrera and city Treasurer Jose Cisneros, the only LGBT person elected to a citywide position at City Hall, both secured the backing of Milk and Alice this year. The two are running unopposed for truncated terms this fall.

    Moscow's voters had six options for mayor on their ballots in early September and San Francisco's electorate will have only one contender for city attorney, treasurer and assessor in November.

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