by Paul Fidalgo
on January 07, 2010
The city council of Oakland, California overwhelmingly voted on January 5 to adopt instant runoff voting for its mayoral and council elections next year. Voting 6-2, the council is enacting a 2006 voter-approved mandate to implement the reform, a measure that won 69% support.
Oakland will forego its traditional June primaries--for which turnout is usually abysmally low--and the city is estimated to save $800,000 in the process. As activist Judy Cox put it, via the Oakland Tribune, "In a city of 400,000 with 200,000 registered voters we shouldn't be electing council members with 3,000 votes. That's criminal."
IRV is also on track for implementation this year in Oakland's Bay Area neighbor, Berkeley. Alameda County's elections department deserves great credit for prepring to use IRV, as does the New America Foundation, Caliornians for Electoral Reform and an impressive array of community groups.