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San Francisco Charter Amendment for Instant Runoff Voting

Passed 55% - 45% on March 5, 2002

 


NOTE:  This charter amendment is available as an .rtf file that most word processors should be able to open.  If you have any trouble opening the file, please contact us by email or phone, 301-270-4616.

CHARTER AMENDMENT

PROPOSITION

            Describing and setting forth a proposal to the qualified voters of the City and County of San Francisco to amend the Charter of said city and county by amending Section 13.101, repealing the current Section 13.102, and adding a new Section 13.102, to provide for the election of the Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, Treasurer, Assessor-Recorder, Public Defender, and members of the Board of Supervisors using a ranked-choice, or "instant run-off," ballot, to require that City voting systems be compatible with a ranked-choice ballot system, and setting a date and conditions for implementation.

            The Board of Supervisors hereby submits to the qualified voters of said city and county at an election to be held on March 5, 2002, a proposal to amend the Charter of said city and county by amending Section 13.101, repealing the current Section 13.102, and adding a new Section 13.102, so that the same shall read as follows:

       Note:  

  • Additions are single-underline italics Times New Roman;
  • deletions are strikethrough italics Times New Roman.
  • Board amendment additions are double underlined
  • Board amendment deletions are strikethrough normal. 

            Section 1.  The San Francisco Charter is hereby amended, by amending Section 13.101, to read as follows:

SEC. 13.101.            TERMS OF ELECTIVE OFFICE.             Except in the case of an appointment or election to fill a vacancy, the term of office of each elected officer shall commence at 12:00 noon on the eighth day of January following the date of the election.

            Subject to the applicable provisions for municipal runoff elections of Section 13.102, the elected officers of the City and County shall be elected as follows:

            At the general municipal election in 1995 and every fourth year thereafter, a Mayor, a Sheriff and a District Attorney shall be elected.

            At the statewide general election in 1996 and every fourth year thereafter, four members of the Board of Education and four members of the Governing Board of the Community College District shall be elected.

            At the general municipal election in 1997 and every fourth year thereafter, a City Attorney and a Treasurer shall be elected.

            At the statewide primary election in 1998 and every fourth year thereafter, an Assessor-Recorder and Public Defender shall be elected.

            At the statewide general election in 1998 and every fourth year thereafter, three members of the Board of Education and three members of the Governing Board of the Community College District shall be elected.

            The election and terms of office of members of the Board of Supervisors shall be governed by Section 13.110.

Section 2.  The San Francisco Charter is hereby amended, by repealing current Section 13.102, as follows:

SEC. 13.102.  MUNICIPAL RUNOFF ELECTIONS. If no candidate for any elective office of the City and County, except the Board of Education and the Governing Board of the Community College District, receives a majority of the votes cast at an election for such office, the two candidates receiving the most votes shall qualify to have their names placed on the ballot for a municipal runoff election. If no candidate for Board of Supervisors receives a majority of the votes cast within the district, the two candidates from the district receiving the most votes shall qualify to have their names placed on the ballot for a district runoff election. A runoff election for the office of Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney and Treasurer, or a district runoff election for Supervisor, shall be held on the second Tuesday of the next ensuing December. A runoff election for Assessor-Recorder and Public Defender shall be held at the next general election.

            Section 3. The San Francisco Charter is hereby amended, by adding a new Section 13.102, to read as follows:

SEC. 13.102.  INSTANT RUNOFF ELECTIONS. (a)  For the purposes of this section: (1) a candidate shall be deemed "continuing" if the candidate has not been eliminated; (2) a ballot shall be deemed "continuing" if it is not exhausted; and (3) a ballot shall be deemed "exhausted," and not counted in further stages of the tabulation, if all of the choices have been eliminated or there are no more choices indicated on the ballot.  If a ranked-choice ballot gives equal rank to two or more candidates, the ballot shall be declared exhausted when such multiple rankings are reached.  If a voter casts a ranked-choice ballot but skips a rank, the voter's vote shall be transferred to that voter's next ranked choice.    (b) The Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, Treasurer, Assessor-Recorder, Public Defender, and members of the Board of Supervisors shall be elected using a ranked-choice, or "instant runoff," ballot.  The ballot shall allow voters to rank a number of choices in order of preference equal to the total number of candidates for each office; provided, however, if the voting system, vote tabulation system, or similar or related equipment used by the City and County cannot feasibly accommodate choices equal to the total number of candidates running for each office, then the Director of Elections may limit the number of choices a voter may rank to no fewer than three,.  The ballot shall in no way interfere with a voter's ability to cast a vote for a write-in candidate.  (c)  If a candidate receives a majority of the first choices, that candidate shall be declared elected.  If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate who received the fewest first choices shall be eliminated and each vote cast for that candidate shall be transferred to the next-ranked candidate on that voter's ballot.  If, after this transfer of votes, any candidate has a majority of the votes from the continuing ballots, that candidate shall be declared elected. (d)  If no candidate receives a majority of votes from the continuing ballots after a candidate has been eliminated and his or her votes have been transferred to the next-ranked candidate, the continuing candidate with the fewest votes from the continuing ballots shall be eliminated.  All votes cast for that candidate shall be transferred to the next-ranked continuing candidate on each voter's ballot.  This process of eliminating candidates and transferring their votes to the next-ranked continuing candidates shall be repeated until a candidate receives a majority of the votes from the continuing ballots. (e)  If the total number of votes of the two or more candidates credited with the lowest number of votes is less than the number of votes credited to the candidate with the next highest number of votes, those candidates with the lowest number of votes shall be eliminated simultaneously and their votes transferred to the next-ranked continuing candidate on each ballot in a single counting operation. (f)  A tie between two or more candidates shall be resolved in accordance with State law. (g)  The Department of Elections shall conduct a voter education campaign to familiarize voters with the ranked-choice or "instant runoff," method of voting.  (h)  Any voting system, vote tabulation system, or similar or related equipment acquired by the City and County shall have the capability to accommodate this system of ranked-choice or "instant run-off" balloting. (i)  Ranked-choice, or "instant runoff," balloting shall be used for the general municipal election in November 2002 and all subsequent elections.  If the Director of Elections certifies to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor no later than July 1, 2002 that the Department of Elections will not be ready to implement ranked-choice balloting in November 2002, then the City shall begin using ranked-choice, or "instant runoff," balloting at the November 2003 general municipal election. If ranked-choice, or "instant runoff," balloting is not used in November of 2002, and no candidate for any elective office of the City and County, except the Board of Education and the Governing Board of the Community College District, receives a majority of the votes cast at an election for such office, the two candidates receiving the most votes shall qualify to have their names placed on the ballot for a runoff election held on the second Tuesday in December of 2002.

APPROVED AS TO FORM:

LOUISE H. RENNE, City Attorney


MAXWELL S. PELTZ, Deputy City Attorney