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Ron Conway Emails Voter Guide to CEOs, Fails to Grasp Ranked-Choice Voting

It's not illegal, but it sure is shady.

 

Update: Statement from Ron Conway political adviser Alex Tourk appended. 

Late last week tech financier and Ed Lee ATM Ron Conway blasted out a mass email to CEOs with suggestions for how to vote in next week’s election and a request to “please share the list below and ask your team to Vote on November 3.” Pando Daily, itself a Conway interest, received the email and published it this morning. By Pando’s count, Conway has invested in 546 companies through his SV Network, so the Ron Conway voter guide is potentially hitting the inboxes of tens of thousands of employees, prefaced by casual “FYIs,” siren emojis, or just plain silence. Democracy!   

As Pando points out, in our post-Citizens United universe, there’s nothing illegal about an investor or an employer encouraging employees to vote a certain way. Though Conway’s just-this-side-of-legal brand of influence is well rehearsed, Lee’s biggest backer displayed a rather entertaining grasp of ranked-choice voting in his e-blast: 

Ed Lee  Mayor in all 3 choices (rank choice voting)

Vicki Hennessy  Sheriff  in all 3 choices (rank choice voting)

If you live in District 3 in SF vote FOR Julie Christensen in all 3 choices (rank choice voting)

Sorry, Ron, even if you have all the money in the world, you can still vote for Ed Lee only once! (Good thing you sent the email, then?)

Despite the rallying cry for participatory democracy, Conway encouraged his network of CEOs to stay away from several races, including city attorney. So, you know, definitely get out there and excercise your right to vote, but not too hard.

The whole email:

From: Ron Conway 

Date: October 24, 2015 at 12:01:55 PM PDT

To: Ron Conway 

Subject: SF Election Recommendations for November 3rd

TO:  San Francisco-based SV Angel Portfolio CEOs

We have an important election in SF on November 3rd.

Can you please share the list below and ask your team to Vote either on November 3 or by absentee ballot beforehand  !

Candidate and proposition recommendations in the upcoming election in SF on November 3 :

Ed Lee  Mayor in all 3 choices (rank choice voting)

Vicki Hennessy  Sheriff  in all 3 choices (rank choice voting)

Alex Randolph  Member, Community College Board

If you live in District 3 in SF vote FOR Julie Christensen in all 3 choices (rank choice voting)

Not Voting for candidates for City Attorney, District Attorney or Treasurer

PROPOSITIONS ON THE BALLOT

These recommendations match those of  sf.citi.

Measure A

General Obligation Bond Election - Affordable Housing - Not to Exceed $310,000,000

VOTE YES

Measure B

Enhancement of Paid Parental Leave for City Employees

VOTE YES

Measure C

Expenditure Lobbyists Ordinance

VOTE YES

Measure D

Mission Rock

VOTE YES

Measure E

Requirements For Public Meetings of Local Policy Bodies

VOTE NO

Measure F

Short-Term Residential Rentals

VOTE NO

Measure G

Disclosures Regarding Renewable Energy

VOTE NO

Measure H

Clean Energy Right to Know Act

VOTE YES

Measure I

Mission District Housing Moratorium

VOTE NO

Measure J

Establishing the Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund

VOTE YES

Measure K

Surplus City Property Ordinance

VOTE YES

 

Update: After posting this story, we received the following statement from Conway's political adviser, Alex Tourk:

"Ron is exercising his constitutional right—even responsibility—to participate in the political process of his hometown and have opinions about candidates and issues on the ballot. It’s no different from any other CEO or union or high profile individual making endorsements. Ron understands that ranked-choice voting does not allow for multiple votes for the same candidate, though his enthusiasm for some candidates seems to have been interpreted otherwise. The fact is a lot of people in the tech community look to Ron for recommendations and he is glad to share them and encourage others to share them as well.”


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