Voices & Choices

Women Win Large Majority of Ranked Choice Voting Races in Bay Area, Including Two Mayoral Races

Women Win Large Majority of Ranked Choice Voting Races in Bay Area, Including Two Mayoral Races

Women have a history of doing well in ranked choice voting (RCV) elections. The incentives it creates to find areas of common ground with backers of opponents may be easier for many women candidates. The less polarized, negative style of campaigning may invite more women to run.

We'll need to see what happens with men and women candidates over time, but certainly women did well in the four ranked choice voting elections held yesterday in cities in the Bay Area. Consider:

Oakland: Women may sweep all eight RCV elections. Libby Schaaf won the mayor’s race, defeating ncumbent Jean Quan, and women were the top three finishers in first choices. Women won the citywide auditor race, at least two of three Oakland city council seats being elected (including newcomer Annie Campbell Washington, while Dana King narrowly trails in another open seat race), and at least two of three school board  seats (with Nina Senn ahead in the one still-undecided  race).

San Leandro: Pauline Cutter won the open seat race for mayor, defeating another woman in the final instant runoff. Women also won two of three city council seats, all of which were open seats.

San Francisco: All incumbents won easily in the five RCV elections for the Board of Supervisors and  two citywide offices , including women in three of five Board of Supervisors seats and one of two citywide offices.

Berkeley: Berkeley was used RCV to elect four city council seats and a citywide race. One female and two male incumbents retained their seats, while the open seat race is too close to call in the final instant runoff between a man and woman. A female incumbent was re-elected as city auditor.

Overall, that's 24 seats elected by RCV yesterday. At least 15 women are winners, with a chance to win three more, including women who are African American, Latina, Asian American and white. You can see an overview of the races at the East Bay Express.

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