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2016 Election Results: Bay Area voters buck national trends

Many people in the heavily Democratic Bay Area awoke, as if from a bad dream, to a new political reality Wednesday morning. 

But Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the presidential race feels like a fresh start to San Francisco’s ever-embattled Republicans, like Republican activist Howard Epstein, who said Donald Trump has done an amazing job as a candidate.

Epstein and other Republicans were partying at a rented space in Twitter’s building on San Francisco’s Market Street. It was scheduled to end at 9:30 p.m., and they ran out of alcohol. But they were having so much fun, they bought more and stuck around until that ran out, too.

But the good times were not rolling for everyone. Protests broke out in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Oakland.

California ballot measures 

While Donald Trump’s ascension became the elephant in every election room, people were paying some attention to ballot measures as well.

Voters passed most state propositions, including Prop. 64, legalizing recreational marijuana in California. Voters also called for more legislative transparency, an extension of a tax on high earners, a higher tax on cigarettes and e-cigarettes, multilingual schools, and more regulations on guns and ammunition. They decided not to end the death penalty, or to try to lower the price of pharmaceuticals.

State and local races

In races to join the much redder United States Congress, Democrat Kamala Harris took an easy and expected victory over fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez and will replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate. And in a rematch of a Silicon Valley contest, Democrat Ro Khanna took incumbent Democrat Mike Honda’s seat in the House of Representatives.

In San Francisco, two Democratic city supervisors also battled it out for a vacant seat in the state Senate. Scott Wiener beat Jane Kim in a tight race.

Local ballot measures

Several measures on San Francisco’s ballot also pitted the moderate and progressive branches of the dominant Democratic party against each other. Voters rejected proposition P, which would have changed the bidding rules for affordable housing projects, and U, which would have raised income limits for access to some affordable housing.

But voters overwhelmingly supported Prop C, which will repurpose bonds to fund affordable housing. Voters also rejected a sales tax increase in San Francisco. San Francisco voters passed a bond for public schools and a tax extension to support City College. They passed a ban on tents on sidewalks and limits on lobbyists. And they overwhelmingly passed a measure to try to improve police oversight.

Often, when many measures fill the ballots, the easy answer for voters is to just say “no.” But that was not the trend in the Bay Area. Soda taxes in Albany, San Francisco, and Oakland all passed.

Voters in the city of Alameda made a strong statement by passing the rent control Measure M1. Alameda County voters passed Measure A1 — a 580 million dollar bond to pay for affordable housing.

More than two-thirds of voters in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco Counties also came together to pass a 3.5 billion dollar BART bond — Measure RR. Altogether, Bay Area voters did what Bay Area voters often do — they used direct democracy to improve systems that serve the Bay Area. It could be seen as fairly predictable behavior in a corner of a country where a really radical choice will change the face of national politics as we’ve known them.

Election results by county

How many people voted in your county, and for who? Which ballot measures won? Check out these county-by-county results. Note: Some of these results are not final. 


Crosscurrents Elections
Ben joined KALW in 2004. As Executive News Editor and then News Director, he helped the news department win numerous regional and national awards for long- and short-form journalism. He also helped teach hundreds of audio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW, today.