vote_lede_template.jpgThe San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave unanimous initial approval today to legislation allowing city residents to receive their voter information pamphlets electronically rather than via regular mail.

The proposal to send the pamphlets by email is an attempt to make the city more cost-conscious, said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who introduced the legislation.

“We have elections every year at a heavy cost to the city and taxpayers,” Mirkarimi said.

As of Aug. 15, there were 462,913 registered voters in San Francisco, and it costs nearly a dollar to print and mail each voter pamphlet, according to Robert Selna, Mirkarimi’s legislative assistant.

“It’s a cost-saving and environmental issue,” Selna said.

For this November’s election, the city’s Department of Elections has to send out the voter pamphlets by Oct. 10.

While the proposal will likely be given final approval by the board next week and signed into law by the mayor soon afterward, that will probably not leave the department enough time to set up a process to send the pamphlets by email for this year’s election, Department of Elections Director John Arntz said.

“We want to get it started … but haven’t sat down yet” to discuss the details, Arntz said.

The legislation is allowed after a similar bill, AB 1717, was approved at the state level last year to allow each county in the state to potentially offer the email option.

San Francisco is one of the first counties in California to approve the option, Selna said.

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