This story was updated at 3 p.m. on April 7. The Elections Commission meeting has now been scheduled for 1:30 p.m on Friday, April 8.
Late on Wednesday evening, the Elections Commission voted to hold a special hearing on removing its three appointees to the Redistricting Task Force.
The Elections Commission will hold the special hearing at 3 p.m. this Sunday.
The Redistricting Task Force is composed of three mayoral appointees, three Board of Supervisors appointees, and three Elections Commission appointees. The three Elections Commission appointees who will be considered for removal are vice-chair Ditka Reiner, Chasel Lee, and Raynell Cooper.
The vote came after a flood of public comment to the Elections Commission from community groups and members of the public. They were displeased with the Redistricting Task Force’s recent predawn U-turn, which saw it adopt a map (4B) that carves the Tenderloin and central SoMa out of District 6 and moves both into District 5.
Last week, the task force voted 8-1 to support a different map (4D) that kept the Tenderloin and central SoMa in District 6. The task force’s about-face at 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning angered some community members, and many attended Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Election Commission to protest how its three appointees had voted.
Each member who will be considered for removal voted in favor of returning to the controversial Map 4B. They were joined in that vote by mayoral appointees chair Arnold Townsend, Lily Ho, and Matthew Castillon.
“Something was really wrong with the process,” said Curtis Bradford, co-chair of the Tenderloin People’s Congress. “It has been an utter failure and an utter sham. The commission needed to step in.”
Coincidentally, Wednesday’s Elections Commission meeting was scheduled to happen at the same time as the Redistricting Task Force’s meeting. That meant that almost 100 of the activists and members of the public who had gathered at City Hall at 5 p.m. Wednesday to protest the Redistricting Task Force’s actions were able to easily address the Elections Commission, too.
“We’re going to go in and give public comment. And then, we’re going to go out and call in to the Elections Commission,” Bradford said in a speech to the crowd before the meetings began. “We’re going to do double duty today.”
The commission’s subsequent vote was reportedly unanimous, bar one abstention.
“I’m not sure I fully expect them to be removed,” added Bradford, but he said that the commission does have the authority to recall members.
If any of the task force members were to be removed, it is unclear if they would, or could, be replaced for the final week of redistricting. The task force must have a finalized district map ready to present by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 14.
It must also have a map with all the broad strokes settled by Saturday, April 9, a day before the Election Commission might recall its appointees.
Near the end of the task force meeting, at 3:05 a.m., member Matthew Castillon asked to introduce an agenda item to vote on denouncing the Elections Commission’s decision. Lily Ho seconded his request. It seems that, due to procedural rules, the agenda item is unlikely to be heard until Monday, but members discussed the possibility of holding an emergency meeting to raise the matter sooner.
“I always thought recalls were for malfeasance,” rather than disagreements, said chair Arnold Townsend. He added that he would be in attendance on Sunday.