Voices & Choices

Ms. Magazine: Ranked choice voting boosts feminist candidates

Ms. Magazine:  Ranked choice voting boosts feminist candidates

London Breed’s historic win in the San Francisco mayor race also marks a victory for ranked choice voting. A new Ms. Magazine piece highlights how ranked choice voting helps feminist candidates succeed as demonstrated by Breed, who became the first African-American woman to win the mayoral seat in San Francisco’s June election.

As Cynthia Terrell, RepresentWomen director and FairVote co-founder, explains in the article, winning many second and third choice votes helped Breed emerge the victor in a tight race that remained too close to call for nearly a week after the election.

“Women candidates, perhaps because they’re new to the political system, are less afraid seemingly to say to say hey, if I’m not going to be your first choice I hope I’m gonna be your second or third choice,” Terrell told Ms. “Constituencies may know that they helped put a candidate over the top, even if they don’t have a strong enough base of support to elect a candidate of their own—which is a good reason to have ranked choice voting in general, even if it doesn’t pertain specifically to women.”

Breed’s victory is not a one-off, either.

New research suggests the odds of women winning seats in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro — four cities that use ranked choice voting in local elections — increased by 4.4 percent after RCV was adopted. The probability of a win for women of color saw a 1.2 percent  increase under RCV.

FairVote California’s Pedro Hernandez also highlighted the civil campaigning that RCV fosters, which in San Francisco led to an alliance between two of Breed’s competitors.

Read the full article in Ms. here.

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