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Vote NO On San Mateo County Measure B

The San Mateo County chapter of CfER recommends voting NO on San Mateo County's Measure B in the November 2012 election. Measure B would change the election of county supervisors from at-large elections to district elections. Both are bad options and Measure B is a distraction that will only delay the real election reform of electing county supervisors using a form of proportional representation such as multi-winner ranked choice voting, also known as choice voting.

Below is the ballot argument against Measure B that was submitted by CfER and its members for inclusion in the voter information guide. Unfortunately, San Mateo County only allows one ballot argument for or against a measure. The CfER argument against Measure B was pre-empted by one submitted by some county supervisors, resulting in a less informative voter information guide.

For additional information on Measure B please visit and view the video at the bottom of this page.

CfER's Argument Against Measure B

Both district elections and the current at-large system fail to guarantee voters the representation and voting rights we deserve. Both systems can leave nearly half of us without our chosen representation. Both systems insulate incumbents from competition.

You have a right to choose who represents you, who advocates for your interests and opinions. If your chosen candidate does not win, you are not getting real representation.

Any system that prevents nearly half of the voters from choosing their county supervisor lacks credibility, accountability, and legitimacy. It fails to be a truly representative democracy.

You would not be satisfied going to a restaurant that got your order wrong half the time, did not correct the problem, but still made you pay. Do not be satisfied with elections that perform that poorly either.

District elections allow incumbents and the courts to gerrymander districts and change which voters get representation. Voters should choose their supervisors, not the other way around. Your choice should not be compromised by geography or institutionalized racial and ethnic stereotypes.

A much fairer way to elect county supervisors is with multi-winner ranked choice voting, also known as choice voting. That can ensure that any group of like-minded voters comprising one fifth of voters would elect one of the five county supervisors. Such proportional representation ensures voting rights much better than district elections. Voters prefer proportional representation. It works in other communities, such as Cambridge, Massachusetts.

If county supervisors had acted when the 2009 civil grand jury alerted the county to voting rights problems, we could have had proportional representation for 2012. We are likely to get district elections in the short term, whether this measure passes or fails. Voter-approved district elections will only delay the change we deserve. Vote NO on Measure B.

submitted by

David Cary

Steve Chessin
President, Californians for Electoral Reform

Jonathan Lundell

Published by the Californians for Electoral Reform Campaign Committee, FPPC ID #1312389