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Rise of the Zombie Voters

October 29, 2015

By sfweekly – excerpt

…Scratch a crowd of strivers at Fort Mason, dropouts at Hippie Hill, or average folks on Muni and you’ll find non-voters — and there are more and more of them in San Francisco every year.

San Francisco is a bigger and richer city than ever. But as 845,000 — and growing — people live in a city with a $9 billion — and growing — annual budget, fewer than ever are participating in the process of deciding how that money is spent and who governs them.

Since 1975, when 72 percent of registered voters — or 215,000 people, in a city of 640,000 souls — voted in the contest that saw George Moscone elected mayor, participation in local elections has been on a steady and inexorable decline.

This year, 626,002 people are eligible to vote in San Francisco, according to the California Secretary of State — an all-time high and an increase of 100,000 since the turn of the millennium.

Despite a slew of voter initiatives on Tuesday’s ballot directly related to the city’s ongoing housing crisis, a horde of voters will pass on democracy on Election Day.

If dismal projections predicting 25 to 30 percent turnout hold true, the number of “zombie voters” in San Francisco — eligible but unregistered voters and registered voters who choose not exercise their democratic right — will reach as high as 518,000.

When it comes to democracy, the zombies are here — and they are winning… (more)

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