Getting Started With Voter Engagement

Make A Plan

If your arts and culture organization is not already promoting voter registration and getting out the vote, now is an excellent time to start. offers a voter engagement checklist to help you consider your organization’s capacity and begin a coordinate, achievable effort with your team.

Register Online

Californians with a social security number and a valid California driver's license or California-issued identification card may complete registration online at the California Secretary of State's website.

Voter registration may also be completed at a Department of Motor Vehicles location.

Host a Polling Place 

The Department of Elections is responsible for providing suitable polling sites for each of the 576 voting precincts located in San Francisco. If you have a clean, well-lit, accessible lobby or other space that might be usable, you may contact Precinct Services at (415) 554-4551 or e-mail us at

Be a Poll Worker

The City and County of San Francisco and Alameda County are both accepting applications from those interested in becoming poll workers.

Find your Polling Place

You can enter your address and find your polling place on the CA Secretary of State website. Information will be available 2-4 weeks prior to the election.


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Cultural Space Welcome (2016)

Hi Artists and Supporters,

As many of you know, there has been a flurry of activity around SF arts funding in the last year and many people want to know how to learn more. Navigating the nexus of politics, local funding and art-making can be a daunting task, so this is our effort to help fill you in on some of the details.

Basically, last year, some local artists and arts organizations decided to come together, ask for increased arts funding, leverage some political clout and ABBA was created. What's ABBA you ask? ABBA is Arts for a Better Bay Area and we are a coalition to help educate about arts-related matters and increase arts funding in the Bay Area.

Within ABBA are a few different components and some of us are involved with the Cultural Space Committee, a sub group that feels passionately about improving access to and retention of local art spaces and we want you to help.


We are really excited about hosting a special cultural spaces public meeting at SOMArts on October 17 and would love to hear from you about what our community needs. What do you think local art spaces should be doing? What do you need to know in order to feel more engaged, more informed and to help you articulate what you think needs to happen?  We’ll also breakdown the two local ballot measures that help support art and artists in San Francisco, and make sure you’re informed come election day on November 8.

So reach out to us and let us know what you think. ABBA has a great website and we will be populating it with lots of helpful documents, resources, FAQs and info to keep you updated on important meetings that relate to cultural spaces. We will also be working on organizing the public meeting this summer and we can use lots of help to make that happen.

Joen & Joe

ABBA Cultural Space Committee Co-chairs

 Cultural Space Committee aims to develop and implement preservation strategies for cultural spaces and artist housing.



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Advocacy & Non Profits


On Wednesday, June 29, 2016 several ABBA leaders got the chance to attend the Worry-Free Advocacy training by Bolder Advocacy, An initiative of Alliance for Justice. The training is very relevant as institutions tied to ABBA look for ways to advocate for ballot measure campaigns such as Arts and Homelessness within the confines of what is allowed. Nonprofits are encouraged to lobby and have the right to do so. Many of the activities that can influence policy do not technically meet the definition of lobbying, examples include expressing a view on a ballot, or an indirect call to action. 

During the training useful tools such as the 501 (h) expenditure tests were discussed and contextualized to help nonprofits determine their limits. The training also touched on the importance of tracking contributions to ballot measure campaigns to report on the IRS Form 990, along with the amount of time staff members can spend on ballot measure campaigns before reporting that contribution of staff time.

You can find more resources below along with future training dates.


Election-related Activity:

California Ballot Measures:

Interested in more workshops?

If you would like to bring a Bolder Advocacy training to your organization, please fill out this form, and we will contact you to discuss your options.

You can checkout upcoming public trainings and webinars here!


Have more questions about your nonprofit advocacy rights?

Please feel free to contact the attorney on call at advocacy(at)afj(dot)org or 866-NP-LOBBY (866-675-6229) if you have any questions. In addition, you can share my contact information with anyone who would prefer to receive their asistencia técnica en español: sara(at)afj(dot)org and 510-444-6070 x 2002.


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Prop S: Allocation of Hotel Tax Fund - "The Arts & End Family Homelessness" Initiative | San Francisco 2016 Election

UPDATE: September 14, 2016

Sample Messaging - Prop S & Arts + Families Town Hall  (PDF) 

UPDATE: August 29,2016

Vote S to Stabilize Artists and Homeless Families

Allocation of Hotel Tax Funds Summary

Allocation of Hotel Tax Funds Full legal Text

(KQED) SF Arts and Homeless Organizations Join Forces to Secure More City Funding May 27, 2016

Advocacy & NonProfits 101

Get Started with Voter Engagement


Sample Messaging

EVENT/PROJECT: Arts + Families Town Hall, September 2016


AUDIENCE: To Coalition Members



[Subject] JOIN ME: Let’s Build the Arts + Families Town Hall Audience

Dear staff,

I invite you to join me in attending the Arts + Families Town Hall, taking place on Tuesday, September 27th at YBCA Theater from 6pm to 8pm.

This event is being produced by a coalition of organizations in support of Proposition S, of which we are one. It will be an opportunity for us to gather, educate, and organize ourselves around Proposition S as well as the other propositions on the SF ballot this year that will impact our work. We will hear from proponents of many of the measures, and there will be opportunities to learn about how we, as individuals and as an organization, can support them.

 As you may have heard from me already, this is a historic year for us in San Francisco; among the many (25!) measures on the ballot are many that could make a very real difference to our organization, so it's more important than ever that we learn about them. The event is free and open to the public, so I encourage you to share this with others you know who are passionate about our work and this city.


More about Prop S:






Join us for the ARTS + FAMILIES TOWN HALL on Tuesday September 27th to learn how to have your November vote COUNT. This will be an evening of gathering, educating, and organizing ourselves around Proposition S and other local ballot measures that will impact the arts and family homelessness communities. Hope to see you there! RSVP:


#ArtsandFamsTownhall  - YBCA Theater - 9/27 - 6pm-8pm. Join us there to learn how to make your vote COUNT. 

#YesOnS #ArtsandFamsTownhall


AUDIENCE: For artist-serving organizations (messages targeted toward artists)



Facebook / Email:

Calling all San Francisco #artists! Amplify your voice at the annual Arts Town Hall — an opportunity to speak directly with district supervisor candidates about the issues that matter most to you. Let’s keep support for the #arts on the agenda in this year’s elections. Join us this Monday, September 12 at @YBCA.


Calling all #artists! Amplify your voices at the Arts Town Hall at @ybca this Tue. 9/27  #artisapublicgood

The Arts Town Hall is an opportunity for district supervisor candidates to hear from #SF #artists. Join us at @ybca Tue. 9/27


AUDIENCE: For art and cultural organizations (messages targeted toward the general public/arts supporters)



Facebook or Email Blast:

Show your support for the #arts by participating in the Arts Town Hall this Monday, September 22 at @YBCA! Hear directly from district supervisor candidates about their plans to preserve the vital role of the #arts in making this city so unique. Bring a friend and your questions!


Show your support for the #arts by joining the Arts Town Hall this Mon, Sept 22! Bring your questions for supervisor candidates.




Town Hall

  • Arts + Families Town Hall will take place on Tuesday, September 27that YBCA Theater at 6pm.

  • For you, members of our community, it will be an opportunity to learn how to make your vote count this November.

  • You'll hear from proponents of various measures, especially Proposition S, the arts + family homelessness funding ordinance, which we support.

  • Join me there to learn, join me there to gather with our broader community, and join me there for the future of this city.

Prop S

  • Restore the initial purpose of the Hotel Tax Fund, created in 1960s

    • To support SF’s vulnerable populations - artist & homeless families

  • Would allocate a percentage of the Hotel Tax Fund to go to:

    • 17% to the arts by 2020 (SF Arts Commission, Neighborhood Arts Program, Cultural Equity Endowment, and Grants for the Arts)

    • 3.6% will establish new Ending Family Homelessness Fund

  • Requires a 2/3rds majority vote


Questions / Comments about Prop S or the Arts + Families Town Hall: info(at)betterbayarea(dot)org



Screen_Shot_2016-06-16_at_12.52.00_PM.pngFor the first time in decades the people of San Francisco have the opportunity to collectively advocate for the public value of the arts through the ballot. This month the possible measures for the November Ballot have been announced, among them is the "Allocation of Hotel Tax Funds," informally known as the Arts and Families Initiative.

ABBA is gauging membership support and understanding of this measure as it is critically connected to the a vibrant bay area creative ecosystem. Even if you do not vote in SF, because of the interconnectedness of the Bay Area, we encourage you to still participate.

Help us reach our goal of 200 Bay Area arts practitioners participating in the survey by July 1st, 2016


Member Survey: To better understand our membership and knowledge gaps or strengths we are releasing this membership Survey. By completing the Survey you are signing up to ABBA's Community membership level and will be followed up with to complete the membership process. Details on ABBA membership 

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2016-17 Arts Budget Priorities

2016-17 ARTS BUDGET PRIORITIES: Cultural Vitality & Fair Inclusion Investments #CulturalEquity #SharedProsperity

As part of San Francisco Arts Advocacy Day ABBA shared with the Mayor's Office and all 11 Supervisors the Priority Investments that were not sufficiently supported in 2015's Shared Prosperity Investment.

 2016-17 ARTS BUDGET PRIORITIES: Cultural Vitality & Fair Inclusion Investments #CulturalEquity #SharedProsperity

Screen_Shot_2016-06-03_at_1.54.45_PM.png Screen_Shot_2016-06-03_at_1.54.52_PM.png

2016-17 Priorities based on 2015 Investment and Implementation

Details about the process in our SF Arts Advocacy Day post




Email Katherin (at) betterbayarea (dot) org and you'll be connected to the Arts Budget Committee 

Graphic by: Ernesto Sopprani, June 2016 

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On Tuesday, May 31st San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced the proposed budget for 2016-17 and 2017-18


Mayor's 2016-2017 & 2017-2018 Proposed Budget

Budget Highlights 

The San Francisco Arts Commission’s budget summary (beginning on p.104) highlights capital investments including significant projects at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and Civic Art Collection repair and restoration work including investments in Ruth Asawa’s “Origami Fountains” in Japan Town and the Mother’s Building murals “Noah and His Ark” located at the zoo.

Three new full-time positions are highlighted in the budget, including a data analyst to manage the department’s performance measures, program evaluation, research and reporting, a position to oversee the department’s capital projects and physical assets including the cultural centers and civic art collection, and a third position to support the “greatly expanded” SFAC Main Gallery in the War Memorial Veterans Building.

The 2016-17 budget includes an increase of $350,510 to Grants for the Arts which will remain level in 2017-18. According to the budget summary, in 2015-16 GFTA awarded $9.5 million in grants to 213 community arts organizations and funded 22 annual celebrations and parades.

What’s Next

Traditionally, the Mayor’s proposed budget is reviewed by the Board of Supervisors in public hearings. According to the budget schedule posted on the Board of Supervisors website, the first hearing for the Arts Commission will be held Friday, June 17th and the second hearing will be Thursday, June 23. Grants for the Arts is included in the budget for the City Administrator on Thursday, June 16th and Wednesday, June 22nd. All meetings begin at 10am and are held at City Hall, located at 1 Dr Carlton B. Goodlett Place.


More like this:

Mayor Lee Announces $6 Million Investment to Support San Francisco Nonprofit Organizations


Photo by: Ernesto Sopprani, April 2016 ABBA Open Meeting at SOMArts Cultural Center

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San Francisco Announces Proposed $13.4m in Arts & Culture Capital Investments


On May 25th San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced a proposed $411.3m 2-year capital budget, including $13.4m (3.26%) for arts and culture facilities.

According to the press release, the arts and culture investments are for “state of good repair and life safety needs at city-owned buildings” such as cultural centers and museums.

The Mayor’s proposed budget, released on May 31, states that capital projects will include a retrofit of elevators at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts as well as adding cooling systems to the HVAC affecting the theater and gallery spaces.

Capital recommendations are guided by San Francisco’s Ten-Year Capital Plan, which is annually reviewed by the Capital Planning Committee. For more information, go to:

 Graphic by: Ernesto Sopprani, June 2016 

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SF Arts Advocacy Day Needs Your Support


Arts Advocacy day is a day to broadcast our 2016-17 Arts Budget & Policy Priorities and to SHOW our elected officials why the arts are integral to a healthy city, while giving them examples on HOW to support our priorities this year.

when - Monday May 16, 2016 @1pm | where - City Hall steps, Polk St. (1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, 94102)

Please join us in demonstrating that vibrant neighborhoods, healthy communities, and cultural equity make San Francisco a vibrant City.


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ABBA Open Meeting - Recap (April 2016)

Open Meeting - Recap

On Monday, April 11th, 2016 ABBA held an Open Meeting at SOMArts Cultural Center to review the work and achievements of the last year while beginning to examine and evaluate our next steps moving forward. Everything from artist displacement, operational funds for small-to-mid sized institutions, youth opportunities, and other relevant arts topics were discussed. The presentation included words from ABBA leadership, institutions such as the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), Grants for the Arts (GFTA), and the ABBA Arts Budget Committee. Check out the documents available on our website to see details about how funds are allocated, along with updates concerning ABBA proposals for the upcoming year, and other useful information.

 ABBA Open Meeting April 2016ABBA Open Meeting April 2016 _2


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Central SoMa Plan Public Benefits Survey SUMMARY


The goal of this survey was for the SF Planning Commission to hear from the public what types of benefits want to be incorporated into the Central SoMa Plan, with the goal that the plan is approved in late 2016 or early 2017, planning began in 2011. 

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