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Why does San Mateo County need district elections for county supervisors?

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.


NEWS
 
 
Voters to decide how supervisors elected
October 08, 2012, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff

San Mateo County has been the state’s last holdout for electing supervisors countywide instead of by individual districts but that could change next month when voters will weigh in on whether to change the county charter governing the election.

FULL STORY

Editorial: Measure could change election

More accountability in limiting vote for supes

For most local residents, the Board of Supervisors is a body they know little about. Many would not be able to identify their district or their supervisor if you asked them.

FULL STORY

 
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
 

Mercury News editorial: Masur for San Mateo supervisor, Yes on Measure B

Mercury News Editorial

mercurynews.com
Posted: 10/15/2012 03:30:36 PM PDT

In every other California county, supervisors are elected by district. San Mateo has been sued by civil rights advocates to force district elections, which lowers the cost of running for supervisor. Candidates now need to reach 348,218 countywide voters, similar to a congressional race, instead of a fifth of that number. Measure B on the Nov. 6 ballot would force that change.

FULL STORY

 

 

Voters Consider Ending 'At Large' Supervisor Elections

A measure on this November's ballot lets voters choose how they want to elect their county supervisors.

A countywide measure that would change the way San Mateo County elects its Board of Supervisors will be decided in November.

Measure B proposes amending the county charter to change the mode of electing individual supervisors from countywide "at-large" elections to five separate "by-district" elections.

FULL STORY

 

 

 

 

We urge yes vote for Measure B

In every other California county, supervisors are elected by district. San Mateo has been sued by civil rights advocates to force district elections, which lowers the cost of running for supervisor. Candidates now need to reach 348,218 countywide voters, similar to a congressional race, instead of a fifth of that number. Measure B on the Nov. 6 ballot would force that change.

FULL STORY

YES on B, district elections

The question of how county supervisors are elected may seem highly technical and something only a policy wonk would care about.

But in our view, passage of Measure B would vastly improve the quality of leadership in San Mateo County.