Election Spam, 2016 ed., The Final Countdown

Posted Mon 07 November 2016 09:02 under category politics

As you may or may not know, today is the day before the most contentious election in recent memory. Aside from the presidential race between a competent woman and a can of orange spray paint, there are also a host of down-ballot candidates at the federal, state, and local levels, and, here in San Francisco, an outstanding 42 state, regional, and city ballot propositions. As is usual, I've received a healthy pile of 77 pieces of election spam this season; here's my tally.

2016-11 Election Ads

Overall, of the 77 pieces of mail that my wife and I received in the months leading up to this election, 15 of them were voting slates and 62 of them were either single-issue or, in many cases, dual-issue (U & P, Q & R). As far as I can tell, only a single one of them (the state-issued party-level official endorsements) even touched on the presidential campaign. Read on for details!

Let's start with the candidates for office:

Candidate # In Favor # Opposed
Hillary Clinton for President 1
Kamala Harris for US Senate 3
Nancy Pelosi for US Representative 1
Preston Picus for US Representative 1
Jane Kim for State Senate1 14 4
Scott Weiner for State Senate 5
David Chiu for State Assembly 5
Victor Hwang for Judge 5
Paul Henderson for Judge2 1
Aaron Peskin for Board of Supervisors3 2
Bevan Dufty for BART4 5
Gwyneth Borden for BART5 1
Shanell Williams for Community College Board 2
Amy Bacharach for Community College Board 1

Phew! That was a lot! Surprisingly, the US Senate race isn't being advertised very heavily in San Francsico, despite it being a fairly close race between Kamala Harris (the official Democratic endorsement) and Loretta Sanchez (also a Democrat; historically affiliated with the Blue Dogs). I don't want to get into the weeds, but I will point out6 that Loretta Sanchez is, to my knowledge, the only pro-encryption candidate in any race on this ballot. She even wrote a Medium post about encryption issues, which is pretty cool. Maybe she should've done some advertising around this issue?

Anyhow, next up: state propositions. The vast majority of these were from slates.7

Proposition/Initiative # In Favor # Opposed
Proposition 51 6
Proposition 52 7
Proposition 53 6
Proposition 54 1 4
Proposition 55 7
Proposition 56 7 4
Proposition 57 7
Proposition 58 7
Proposition 59 7
Proposition 60 1 7
Proposition 61 1 4
Proposition 62 6
Proposition 63 5
Proposition 64 6
Proposition 65 4
Proposition 66 5
Proposition 67 6

Finally, the most contentious part of this election in San Francisco: the local propositions.

Proposition/Initiative # In Favor # Opposed
Proposition A 8
Proposition B 6
Proposition C 8
Proposition D 5 1
Proposition E 7
Proposition F 7
Proposition G 3
Proposition H 10 1
Proposition I 4
Proposition J 3
Proposition K 3 1
Proposition L 5 1
Proposition M 8 1
Proposition N 6
Proposition O 13 4
Proposition P 3 11
Proposition Q 5
Proposition R 1 5
Proposition S 8
Proposition T 3
Proposition U 3 11
Proposition V 9 23
Proposition W 11
Proposition X 9
Measure RR 9

As you can see, Prop V8 is the subject of the biggest spending; we started receiving no-on-V flyers as early as August.

There was also one item which didn't actually say what it was pro or anti; it just encouraged us to vote and to visit kidsnotprofits.com to learn more about how billionaries were taking over our educational system. As far as I can tell, it's concerned with charter schools, which aren't on the ballot.

That's it! That's the breakdown of how approximately $25 was spent to print and post advertisements to my household. If all 345,811 households in SF got this much spam, we should expect this election to cost approximately $8.6 million in printed advertising costs alone. I hope it's worth it.

I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, especially in the election between the most qualified candidate ever and a Nacho Cheesier rapist, but I guess I'll join the ever-present chorus reminding you that you should vote, because there has to be at least one issue you care about spread between the 9 offices and 42 propositions on the ballot.

See you next year for our next installment of Election Spam9.


  1. I assume that everybody's seen Ms. Kim's goofy video ad already, but I'm linking to it anyway because it's exceptionally goofy. 

  2. Mr. Henderson has upgraded from a wordpress.com domain since the primaries; good for him! 

  3. There were actually a lot more than 2 for Mr. Peskin, but since he's running basically unopposed and I can't stand him, I didn't do a good job of counting them. Also, note that his website is just showing the text "pageok" as of this writing. 

  4. Surprisingly, 2/5 of the pro-Bevan ads were single-issue ads. I didn't know that people felt that strongly about the BART board... 

  5. I couldn't find an actual website, so I guess I have to link to her Twitter profile 

  6. Hat tip to my friend Morgan Conbere for bringing this to my attention in an extremely well-worded Facebook post 

  7. Full disclosure: my wife is heavily involved in the Yes-on-57 campaign. I think I should tell you to vote yes on 57. 

  8. The Unhealthy Food Obviously Has Externalities That Are Not Considered In The Current System And Should Be Taxed But Soda Companies Like Money Tax 

  9. Unless the morally and economically bankrupt cheese puff wins and the world ends before next year, but let's not worry too much about that scenario, eh? 


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