Not everyone in San Francisco is happy with Barack Obama's first term in office. But they all agree on one point: the Democrat is the right choice for the next four years.
The sign pointing to the voting booth in San Francisco's City Hall is small and unassuming. Hardly anything else points to the fact that the next President of the United States is being elected on this day. It's no wonder. For the people of California, the result is a foregone conclusion.
"It doesn't make a difference whether you go to vote or not," said Rafael Mandelman, a young man handing out flyers to passers-by in front of City Hall. "Everyone here is for Obama anyway."
Several points to cover
Mandelman nonetheless tried to persuade as many people as possible to cast their vote. After all, this is also about him. Mandelman is running for a seat on a local administrative council. On November 6, voters didn't just cast their ballots for the country's president. They also voted on numerous proposals solely affecting San Francisco and California, such as choosing the candidates for various committees.
San Franciscans also had to decide on whether the death penalty should be abolished in California, and whether genetically-modified food should be labeled as such. In both cases, a majority voted against these initiatives.
For Kira Franzen, the presidential elections are much more important. She cast her vote for Barack Obama.
"He's simply more liberal than Mitt Romney," said the 24-year-old bank employee, who was mainly convinced by Obama's financial policies. Kira has a red sticker on her blazer, like a lot of voters on this day. "I voted" the sticker reads - in English, Spanish and Chinese, a linguistic acknowledgment of the country's many immigrants.
Every third Californian has Latin American roots. Every tenth is from Asia. More than half the population belongs to a minority group, like Kira's friend Jason. Born in the Bahamas, Jason also voted for Obama - if only for the lack of alternatives.
"It was to me like voting for the lesser of two evils, so I voted for Obama," the 25-year-old said. "He promised a lot, and disappointed a lot of people because he didn't keep his promises." Jason hopes for one thing for the next four years: that the president brings home to the US the soldiers fighting overseas.
Hope for progress
There is little of the euphoria that reigned in the streets of San Francisco during the elections four years ago. There are no homemade placards, no Obama figurines in the store windows, no catchy slogans like "hope" or "change." For most Californians, though, there is no other candidate. Even little things testify to this. In a small supermarket near City Hall soft drinks come in red cups printed with the word "Romney" in white letters - because the blue Obama cups have long since sold out.
On the steps outside City Hall, Matt has made himself comfortable. He too is wearing the red sticker which a woman near the entrance has been handing out to voters. The 21-year-old is convinced by the president's policies, and so he voted for Obama.
"I think he's done a great job the last four years," Matt said. "I want to see Obamacare carried out. I think that the policy will be good for the United States of America - and I want to see it happen." He said he was also happy with Obama's foreign policy. "He's improved our standing in the world."
His friend Zac agreed. "I believe that he really cares about America," the 24-year-old said. "I think he's already made a big difference, and a lot of his opponents don't want to see it. I think four more years is what he needs to at least partially come through with a lot of his promises."