Voters in Albany, California will soon get to vote on adopting a Multi-Winner Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system for city council and school board elections. The city council voted unanimously last month to put the measure on the November ballot. The measure is promoted by Voter Choice Albany.
Currently, city council and school board members are elected using at-large plurality voting. This system is problematic because the largest voting group in a jurisdiction can elect every member of the council, leaving sizable community groups with no representation.
Albany would be joining another California city, Palm Desert, which recently voted to adopt Multi-Winner RCV as part of a settlement under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). Multi-Seat RCV has gained traction in recent years, as Eastpointe, Michigan debuted the system as a remedy under the Federal Voting Rights Act.
Proponents of the measure say that Proportional RCV will make it more likely that candidates supported by underrepresented groups will be elected, and makes it the right solution for them. “Ranked Choice Voting will result in a City Council that better reflects the entire city, and responds to the interest of all residents”, said Andrew Tang, a member of Voter Choice Albany.
You can read the City Council ordinance approving the referendum here.