Ranked Choice Voting in Bay Area Elections

Ranked choice voting (the locally preferred name for instant runoff voting) is used to conduct municipal elections in several Bay Area cities. San Francisco held its first ranked choice voting elections in 2004. Oakland and San Leandro in 2010 used ranked choice voting or the first time in elections for mayor and other city offices, with the Oakland mayoral race receiving extensive coverage in national media. Berkeley also used ranked choice voting in 2010 to elect several city offices.

In 2011, San Francisco used ranked choice in hotly contested races for mayoral race and two other citywide offices. As of the end of 2012, a total of 20 San Francisco elections have now gone to multiple rounds of counting in elections held every November since 2004. Evidence suggests RCV has rewarded candidates who work particularly hard in reaching out directly to voters, and 16 of the City's 18 offices elected by RCV are now held by people of color. See more about San Francisco's experience with RCV at SFBetterElections.com. 

In November 2012, RCV elections in the Bay Area included multi-candidate races for mayor in Berkeley, city council in San Leandro and Oakland, and Board of Supervisors in San Francisco. DemoChoice had set up special pages on elections in San Francisco and elections in the East Bay cities of Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro. See examples of the November 2012 ballots for San Francisco (color, black and white), Oakland (color, black and white), San Leandro (color, black and white), and Berkeley (color, black and white). Seethe  East Bay RCV results and a video detailing the round-by-round results in an Oakland city council race.

Notable Quote:  "Now is the time for all California counties to embrace so-called instant runoff voting. Also known as ranked choice voting, this system is gaining popularity around the country, most notably in San Francisco and Alameda counties....Experience in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley over the last two years - including smooth balloting on Nov. 6 - shows that voters catch on quickly. California counties should do the same. Let’s move to an election system that saves money and rewards better leaders."       
      - Sacramento Business Journal
, Editorial, November 30, 2012

Analysis of Oakland RCV Elections, 2010-2012: Winners Earn More Votes: Of the 18 offices in Oakland elected by RCV in 2010 and 2012, 16 of the RCV winner won with more votes than the previous winner in the last election without RCV. See a more detailed analysis here.

FairVote's November2012 Analysis:  2012 Ranked Choice Voting Elections in Bay Area Cities


You can also find more information on RCV in the Bay Area from local officials: