Of the 58 counties in California, only San Mateo County elects its Board of Supervisors in countywide elections. Every other county elects supervisors by district. District elections result in more competition, more accountability, more citizen involvement, and lower costs to taxpayers.
Countywide elections favor
politically connected and well-funded candidates and incumbents. Why? With
over 330,000 voters in San Mateo
County, a supervisor campaign
is a daunting and expensive proposition as it is similar in scope to running
for Congress. As a result, the vast
majority of San Mateo
County supervisor races are
uncontested or uncompetitive.
With district elections, approximately 66,000 voters in each of the county’s five supervisorial districts could choose their supervisor. That would attract more candidates to run as they could mount grass roots campaigns without having to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. It would also increase the likelihood that the diversity of the county would be reflected on the Board of Supervisors.
District elections allow voters to hold incumbents accountable. With countywide elections that is all but impossible. In fact, over the last 30 years no incumbent supervisor has ever lost when standing for reelection.
District elections bring government and democracy closer to home and would provide San Mateo County voters with more say in their county government and increase awareness of county issues. This is badly needed as today county government is largely invisible to the public despite a $1.8 billion dollar budget and responsibility for a multitude of critical services
Finally, when a special election is held to fill a vacant supervisor seat, as has occurred three times since 1993, with district elections many hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars would be saved.
In 2009 the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury issued a strong recommendation in support of district elections.
Empower voters. Vote YES on Measure B.