The too-close Yes on 8 sign

7:55 pm: Yes on 8 sign back up Apparently just half an hour after police asked the church Iglesia la Roca Salvacion AIC to cover a Yes on 8 sign that was directly facing a 22nd Street polling place, the sign was visible again.  Poll workers say the sign was only 49 feet away when all political propaganda must be 100 feet from a polling place.

6:10 pm Earlier today, campaigning on Prop K:

On Valencia, sex is no crime.

On Valencia, sex is no crime.

6:08 pm: Yes on 8 sign across from polling place finally removed Mission Local just talked with Mary Mueller, a Mission voter who noticed a Yes on 8 sign hanging in a church window directly across from her polling place, precinct #3908, a garage at 2700 22nd Street.  Because partisan paraphernalia must be at least 100 feet away from a polling place, Mueller complained to poll workers at around 10 AM.  A half dozen phone calls later, Mueller finally got the police to visit the church, Iglesia la Roca Salvacion AIC and convince the building owner to cover the sign, approximately 5 hours later.

“It has been hurtful to see the sign up all those weeks, and I knew today it wasn’t supposed to be up,” said Mueller, who married her female partner this morning.
5:52 PM: Election Protection Report

Mission Local checked in with Emily Pears of Common Cause who is helping run the San Francisco call center for the Election Protection hotline (1-866-OUR VOTE).  Over 1100 local attorneys are fielding calls from voters facing problems at the polls.

Pears told us that it has been smooth sailing today in Northern California compared to the southern part of the state, where several voters called to report that their names had been left off the rolls. In Los Angeles County a number of polling places ran out of standard paper and provisional ballots, Pears said.

5:38 pm Really a LOT of voters Already, more than 1,500 people have voted at Iglesia Presbiteriana de la Mission on 23rd Street — more than twice the number that voted last year.

5:21 pm Historic, duh! Approximately 375 people have voted at First Covenant Church, and volunteers expect another 150 before polls close in two and half hours. Lines stretched out the door between 7 and 9 am, and things are still quiet now.

Ballots are in short supply today

Ballots are in short supply today

“Look at the interest, we’re in a historical situation that’s going to change the history books and change the nation,” says Ron Williams, a history teacher who lives in the Mission and has volunteered at polling places there for 5 years.

“Even my 12 to 13 year old students know that!”

4:55 pm: Lots more people, not more stress Jordan Conn reports from St. Francis of Assisi on Guerrero that 355 voters have cast their ballots so far. Polling supervisor Tomas Picarello (who, by the way, showed up at 6 am this morning and won’t go home till after 10:30 pm) says this is the heaviest turnout he’s seen. It’s been smooth, except for 15 minutes this morning when he ran out of ballots. The Mission is civil though: those waiting to participate in democracy were patient and understanding.

4:33 pm: Yeehaw! “I’ve never seen people so enthusiastic!” says Greg Johnson, a volunteer at the Valencia Street police station who’s worked too many elections to count.

4:19 pm Smart Campaigner A clever Cindy Sheehan supporter has moved in on prime real estate at the UCSF Mission Center on 15th Street. The only way into the polling place is through a parking lot–and the only way into the parking lot is through a narrow opening in a fence. It’s more than 100 feet from the voting booths, so it’s legal, but campaigner Larry Maas gets to sign Sheehan’s praises for every ballot-caster.

“Nancy Pelosi is the enabler for Bush and she has to be stopped,” says Maas, who showed up a half-hour ago in preparation for the after-work rush.

About 300 people have voted here today, about half 2004’s tally.

4:16 pm: Vote Now, No Lines! Iwan, Mission Loc@l’s intrepid reporter from Indonesia, reports from the Mission Rec Center polling place that nearly 1,000 voters have cast their ballots today. That’s already about 50% more votes than were cast in 2004 … If this is your precinct, it’s a good time to vote: Things are slow and voting booths are empty.

4:01 pm: Nearly 300 people have voted at the Centro Del Pueblo on Valencia today, plus 75 absentee ballots, reports Mission Loc@ler Jordan Conn.That doesn’t yet match 2004’s turnout, 641 voters. “There’s really no one waiting right now,” Jordan says. “Everyone here is voting.”

3:50 pm: Nader Snags a Vote Nearly 1,000 people have already voted today at the Dolores Street Community Services polling place, according to volunteer Jacqueline Hunter. For now, however, lines are short. One of the few voters casting a ballot in this just-before-rush-hour dead time was Dennis Moreno, a 21-year-old student at City College.

“I voted for Nader,” he said. “I think Obama and McCain are actually really similar on a lot of issues like the economy and the environment. I figure Obama is going to win anyway, so I voted for who I’d like to be in office even though I don’t think it’ll happen.”

It’s almost enough to give us flashbacks to 2000!

3:44 pm: Underage and (Politically) Engaged Conor McGuire, a seventeen year old Sacred Heart Cathedral student, took a day off from school to volunteer at a local polling place.

“It’s for my Civics class,” said McGuire, “but I’m finding that it’s fun and interesting.”

On 20th and Treat, Missionloc@l reporters witnessed the Mission Center poll’s youngest voter dropping off her ballot.

Rocio Bowman, 3, submitted a voter’s ballot for her mother, Melissa, today at the Mission Center polling place.

“It’s nice for her to see. It’ll be a couple of years before this matters to her, but she’s been with me every time I’ve voted since she’s been born,” said the elder Bowman.

The younger Bowman declined to comment.

2:37 pm: Ballot Boxes Overflowing! Earlier today Dolores Housing Project precinct on Valencia was visited by a federal worker to empty its overflowing ballot boxes.  Clerks estimated that there was about 200 people per hour by 10 a.m. and the boxes only hold 330 ballots at a time.  Inspector Diana Rathbone said, “I think by 8:30 we had half as many people vote as we had the whole primary.”  And although the line wrapped around the corner, she received an applause when she told the people on line that they’d never had a line before.

1:20 pm: Ballot Reader Back Up Station officials report that the reader is up and running.

1:00 pm: 745 Treat Ave. Ballot Reader Down It has been reported that since around 8:30 a.m., there have been problems with the ballot reader located at the 745 Treat Ave. polling station. Patti Davis, inspector at the site, says there is a paper jam in the processing top of the reader.

This means that while voters can vote, the votes cannot yet be counted. Officials at the site are putting all the completed ballots into a safe box to be counted later in the presence of a federal assistant.

12:20 pm: Mary Rybka, a mother who accompanied her daughter to cast her ballot in the polling station at 3125 Cesar Chavez, said she witnessed the polling place run out of ballots when she went to vote at 10:00 a.m. “The organizer just needed to get more ballot papers, so I have to wait for 15 minutes before I can cast the ballot,” she said. “It is quite ridiculous that they only prepared 150 ballot papers in the morning because they have been expecting a huge turnout for this election.”

Garfield Square polling place

Garfield Square polling place

11:40 am People are streaming to the polling place at 3914 Rec Center – Garfield Square. A District 9 supervisor candidate, Eva Royale, said she had never this situation in the previous elections. “This polling place was usually empty at noon in the past elections, but today people are lining up to vote,” Royale said.

11:05 a.m. 1045 Capp Street–This Housing Complex polling precinct finally had a slow down after a morning so busy they’d run out of ballots by 9 a.m.  Only 540 people had voted by that time, and the line was wrapped around the corner.  Around 9:30 the precinct received 2400 new ballots from the Department of Elections and things were up and running again.  Precinct Inspector Rigaldo Baldonado said that in his ten years of working the polls he’s never seen anything like it.  “This is new.  No one has taken a break yet,” he said.

10:48 a.m. Photos from three polling places along Valencia from 18th Street to 24th.

No dad, they're not parking, they're voting!
Keep Walking

Keep Walking.

9:05 a.m. Lines are beginning to wrap around the corner at some polling sites.  One voter at Synergy said she had been waiting 20 minutes–the first time she’d ever waited to vote. SE

8:48 a.m. The lines are long because they didn’t have enough pens, one voter reported as he exited Report  Bryant Elementary School, Precinct 3909 at 1050 York Street. JJB

7:23 a.m. Went to Synergy, my local polling place on Valencia Street…long line when I got there at 7 a.m.  Talked to Lynn Davis, 61, facilities manager who was standing in line with her friend Dick Manning, a 63-year-old friend who runs a book store.  From Lynn, “In the law firm where I work one of the political lawers , very Republican signed and said, Lynn, it’s your’s this time.”

Manning, it seems, had also been up reading about the vote in Dixville, New Hampshire where Obama won. ” A Democrat for the first time in 60 years,” Manning said.

4:37 a.m. only the garbage trucks are out. lc