Posted on November 12, 2010
**NEW** PBS Evening News Hour with Jim Lehrer profiles the Oakland election with ranked choice voting -- see the program here.
Election 2010 was a remarkable one for the instant runoff voting form of ranked choice voting (RCV).
As reported in the New York Times, RCV's first use in Oakland (CA) was a major factor in the first-ever election of an Asian American woman to be mayor of a major American city. Heavily outspent, Jean Quan trailed by 9% in first choices. She surged into the lead in the ranked-choice tally, however, thanks to the fact that she had reached out effectively to more Oakland voters than her top opponent. RCV also changed first-round outcomes in nearby San Leandro and San Francisco and avoided a runoff in Berkeley. Read FairVote's analysis here and here.
Maine's largest city, Portland, adopted RCV for its mayoral elections starting in 2011, and its controversial race for governor was won with less than 50% for the 6th time in its last 7 such elections - a non-majority outcome also reflected in more than a dozen races for the US Senate and state governorships nationally. The Portland Press Herald suggests its time for a new politics, with RCV being featured as what could contribute to such a change.
In another state with a string of non-majority statewide election winners, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune also backed RCV.
Finally, more than 1.9 million voters in North Carolina cast RCV ballots in the nation's first-ever statewide general election with RCV. Leading state papers are calling for extending it to more elections.