Evening voters Peaches (left) and Miss Figgy.

Mission Local will be visiting polling places throughout the day, asking voters and others what local issues stood out for them. Check out our story on where to vote and where to watch the election results.

Evening Dispatch – 8 p.m. 

Voters turned out strongly in the mornings, poll workers said, and in the northern Mission, voters were busy filling out ballots in the evening still, even if the surge may not have been as strong as in the morning.

“It’s been busy in the morning, after that it got quiet,” said Scott Wade Bickmore, a poll worker at 15th Street near Guerrero streets who has worked at the polling place for two elections.

Today, given the high turnout of a presidential election year, the polling place needed two extra voter booths to accommodate the surge. But some voters who came during the day, Bickmore said, were able to enjoy the sunlight in a courtyard at the polling place while they filled out their ballots.

Outside, a few voters chatted about the election.

“One of the things I’m so blessed, is that Hillary is going to be our new president,” said voter Peaches. “Donald Trump, in this campaign, he played this blame game.”

“I will be so glad for it to be over so they can put him on the other side of a wall,” concurred another voter, who gave her name as Miss Figgy.

At a UCSF building at Folsom and 15th streets, poll worker Ed Chan also said people generally voted in the morning.

“They came early,” Chan said. “I guess people wanted to see the results.”

Four years ago, he remembered, voters were waiting to vote until quite late in the day.

At Marshall Elementary School, on the other hand, there was an evening surge – not enough to form a long line, but enough to fill the voting stations.

One 17-year resident of the Mission District voted for the first time on Tuesday. Jean, originally from France, was struck by the range of items on the ballot, from federal to the most hyperlocal.

“It’s confusing to realize how much of the process is manual,” he noted. “It relies on extensive education. I expected a more sophisticated process.”

For one woman, Ms. D. Smith, the identity of the Mission District was being decided on the ballot.

“We don’t want to lose the Mission. I want a location we can identify with.” the Joshua Arce supporter said. “This district gave my African Amercian child an opportunity to go to school here and to speak, read and write fluent Spanish.”

Afternoon Dispatch — 3 p.m.

Two volunteers for Hillary Ronen’s campaign got a rude greeting Tuesday afternoon when a man pulled up to the corner of 22nd and Florida streets near 1:20 p.m. and began swearing at the volunteers with sexist language.

“I don’t talk to bitch-ass women, I only talk to men,” the man said, according to Elizabeth Creely, who was at the corner with another volunteer handing out flyers for Ronen and other candidates down the street from a polling station. Creely said the man drove a silver sedan and had asked the pair where he could vote. When Creely began answering, he swore at her.

Elizabeth Creely and Bartek Rost at 22nd and Florida streets. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

“He came out of the care and starts yelling,” said Bartek Rost, the other Ronen volunteer.

“He was going, ‘I’m from the neighborhood,’” said Creely. “Oh so you’re from this neighborhood and that gives you the right?”

Creely and Rost called the police after the man drove off and two officers answered the call, meeting with the volunteers at the corner before getting in a patrol car to search around.

Fire Station at 19th and Shotwell

Number of ballots read at 1:05 p.m. at the 19th and Shotwell fire station polls. Photo by Lola M. Chavez
The fire station at 19th and Shotwell streets on Election Day. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

Poll workers said turnout was high throughout the day, but had come down by lunchtime. Because the polling station is inside a firehouse, a poll worker said the firemen sometimes have to use the lockers near the voting booths — and one fire meant a truck had to be dispatched a few feet from where people were voting.

“That was a little intense,” said one worker.

Maria Forde, a Mission resident, said the local ballot was a bit daunting, given its length, but she relied on a voters guide she often makes use of.

“I used the Pissed Off Voters Guide,” she said, referring to the left-leaning guide.

It was the national election that had her the most worried, however. She voted for Clinton “out of necessity,” and said the Trump phenomenon had her curling up in bed, scouring the internet to distract herself.

“I had to watch cat videos with my boyfriend just to clear my mind.”

22nd and Shotwell

David Werlin at 22nd and Shotwell streets. Photo by Lola M. Chavez
Cesar Chavez Elementary School on Election Day. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

David Werlin, a volunteer for the Ronen campaign, stood at a corner down the block from a polling station at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. He said a steady stream of voters had been coming to the school all day and that it “never really stopped.” Werlin himself said he was most concerned with state propositions, like the death penalty repeal and the extension of the personal income tax, but that his 16-year-old daughter had him stumping for Proposition F to lower San Francisco’s voting age.

“She’s more informed of what’s going on than a lot of 30 year olds,” he said.

Monte Sinai Iglesia de Dios

Jesus Teran. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

The church at 22nd and Alabama streets saw a line out the door and around the block in the morning, a poll worker said, but was relatively quiet by lunchtime. Near 2 p.m., a lot of the voters were Spanish speaking and sought translation from a bilingual volunteer.

Jesus Teran, who dropped off a mail-in ballot at the polling place, was not overwhelmed by the dozens of local and state propositions on the ballot this year — he knew how to vote on many of them, he said, and simply googled the others.

“That really helped,” he said. Of particular importance, he said, was marijuana legalization, the soda tax, the drug price changes, and Proposition O — the life on office space restriction for a major development in the Bayview-Hunter’s Point.

“That area needs a little bit to bring it up more,” he said.

Donald Trump signs left on the corner of 22nd and Harrison streets. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

Morning Report — 10 a.m.

Poll workers in southern Mission District precincts reported today that the early turnout has been strong, with many saying that there were lines when they opened up at 7 a.m.

Despite the acrimonious national election, there was a sense of exuberance on the streets where campaign workers proliferated at the edges of the polling stations, handing out literature and talking to voters as they made their way into the polling stations.

“We had a pretty heavy rush hour of people going to work,” said Sally, a poll worker at Synergy School on Valencia and 25th streets. “People seem to be upbeat.”

The first tabulation of results will come at 8:45 p.m., according to San Francisco election officials. More than half of the city’s voters mail in their ballots and the first results will be this tabulation. Registration in the Mission District is up by nearly 6,000 voters.

Outside of Synergy School on Valencia Street

Katelyn Gibbons. Photo by Lydia Chávez

Katelyn Gibbons came prepared. She had a printed-out sample ballot and her notes on each measure. “It’s super-important that everyone get out to vote,” said Gibbons. For her, the measures on homeless tent encampments, marijuana legalization, and the soda tax were particularly important. She opted for Scott Wiener over Jane Kim, based on Kim’s opposition to Proposition Q that would outlaw tents.

On 25th Street

Antonio Aquilera, a campaign worker for Hillary Ronen, was handing out flyers. “Locally, I’m really excited about the office of the public advocate,” he said referring to Proposition H, which would create an elective office and agency to advocate for residents. “It’s a different mechanism at City Hall.”

At the corner of Garfield Park

Robert Alfaro, a campaign worker. Photo by Lydia Chávez

“There’s just a slew of important issues,” said Robert Alfaro, who lives on Lucky Street. “We need to keep low-income folks in their homes. We’re trying to make sure we can get jobs in our community.” Alfaro, who was born and raised in the Mission District, said he can remember “when people didn’t want to come here back in the day and now I see people walking their dogs and jogging. They should engage more. I hope as time passes that people will care more about the history of this place.”

Community Center in Garfield Park

Polling station at the youth center in Garfield Park. Photo by Lydia Chávez

“There were people lined up when we opened,” said Jessica Sanchez, a poll worker at the Youth Community Center who has worked at the center in earlier elections. “It seems like it is going to be as big as the Obama election.” In that election, turnout in San Francisco reached 79 percent. She said the length of the ballot meant that people need more time to vote.

Will Ives, a voter who exited the station, said passing the soda tax was particularly important.

Polling Place on Alabama Street near 25th Street. 

“Some people were here 20 minutes early,” said Jeremy, a poll worker at a garage on Alabama Street.

Jeremy, a poll worker outside a station on Alabama Street. “Some people were here 20 minutes early,” said Jeremy. Photo by Lydia Chávez

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On Alabama and 26th streets. 

Yoel Gonzalez on Alabama Street waiting for work.

“I can’t vote but I am with Hillary. The other señor is sick,” said Yoel Gonzalez who added that the two most important issues for him are opening up job opportunities and making the roads safe. He said he walks a lot in the Mission and the drivers are often “drunk and don’t know how to drive and don’t stop for the pedestrian.”

On Alabama Street.

Bert Palaez watering his front yard on Alabama Street. Photo by Lydia Chávez

For Bert Palaez who has lived in the Mission District since 1971, the cigarette tax was one of the most important measures on the ballot.

A smoker, he still “thinks they should raise it.” It will make people “think about smoking.” And, for himself, he said, it will “make me slow down.”

Cesar Chavez Elementary School. 

At the legal distance from the polling station at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Supervisor Candidate Joshua Arce was handing out flyers and greeting voters.

Joshua Arce, supervisor candidate for District 9.

Arce said, he was happy with how the campaign had been going and especially pleased with his endorsement from Dolores Huerta, the co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union. Just recently, he said, his family had found photographs of his grandparents working in the fields.

Michael Chen, from the new pro-development Yimby (Yes-In-My-Back-Yard) Party was also out in front of Cesar Chavez Elementary School handing out the Yimby Party’s endorsements, which include Arce in District 9.

Chen said he was for any initiative that would get more housing in the Mission District.

Maria Guerrero, a polling worker at the elementary school, said the turnout so far had been “very good.” At 7:15 a.m., “there was a long line” of people waiting to vote.

22nd Street 

Rachel Stoltzfus and Emelyn Erickson out campaigning for Proposition S, which will allocate a portion of the city’s tax to arts and homeless programs.

Hua-Zang Si Buddhist temple on 22nd Street

Dennis Teo says the two most important ballot issues were those concerning education and BART. Photo by Lydia Chávez

The most important issue on the ballot Octavio Sajun, “housing,” Veronica Serrano, “education,” and Samantha Peraza, definitely education and funding for City College.” All were on their way to drop off their ballots.

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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