Press Statement: Berkeley Mayor-Elect Jesse Arreguin Wins 60% to 40%

Election Results Should Process Round Eliminations Until There Are Two Candidates

As the Alameda County Registrar of Voters continues to update the results with new numbers we wanted to highlight a key point: that Jesse Arreguin has won the mayor’s race by 60% to 40% in the final instant runoff tally against Laurie Capitelli.

In San Francisco, the Department of Elections runs the ranked choice voting algorithm in all contests down to the strongest two candidates and reports on those result. Doing so clarifies the intent of the voters. Here is a recent example from this year’s elections in San Francisco.

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Our Take on Bay Area RCV Election Results

Dear friends,

I went to bed late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning refreshing all of my web browsers trying to keep up with all of the election results. With Election Day behind us, there are exciting opportunities and challenges ahead. I hope we can agree that our election system has a direct impact on who will represent us. As we still process election results at the local and national level, you can turn to us for an analysis of ranked choice voting elections from now until the untold future.

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PRESS RELEASE: Bay Area Ranked Choice Voting Elections Analysis


November 10, 2016


California: Pedro Hernandez, Deputy Director, FairVote California

(415) 613-2363 /

National: Michelle C. Whittaker, Director of Communications, FairVote

(301) 270-1238 / (301) 270-4616 /

Bay Area Ranked Choice Voting Elections Analysis

Strong showing of voters embracing ranked choice voting, majority winners determined with broad support

San Francisco, CA — Voters used ranked ballots in twelve (12) competitive races featuring more than two candidates in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. FairVote California’s (FVCA) early analysis of the results shows advantages for candidates that actively campaigned for second and third choice support from voters. The four Bay Area cities with ranked choice voting continue to have among the most diverse representatives in the nation, with new winners including Jesse Arreguin becoming the first Latino mayor of Berkeley with a 59% to 41% win in the final instant runoff in an eight-candidate race.

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Early Bay Area Ranked Choice Voting Election Results

Since implementation of ranked choice voting (RCV) in the Bay Area, voters are exercising their voice and greater choice in the local elections. When candidates utilize a RCV strategy, they are engaging a larger base of voters by contacting every voter to ask not only for their first choice, but their second or third choice. There were 12 Bay Area races where there were more than two candidates on the ballot. In general, lead candidates in these races avoided a runoff election with RCV in play. The results are still coming in as mail in ballots and provisional ballots are being counted, but here is our initial analysis of key races with RCV.

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Explaining San Francisco's Ranked Choice Voting

This piece was originally published by Mission Local.

In March 2002, San Francisco voters passed ranked choice voting as an amendment to the City Charter, and it has been used in every city election since 2004. San Francisco is one of four Bay Area cities that will use ranked choice voting to elect its officials this November 8. This means San Francisco voters will have the freedom to rank their favorite candidates in order of preference and elect their District Supervisors in one efficient trip to the polls when turnout is at its peak.

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Why Ranked Choice Voting Matters in Oakland

The following piece was originally published in Oakland Magazine.

Oakland started to use ranked choice voting in 2010, four years after city voters approved the voting system by a two-to-one margin. Now, Oakland is one of four Bay Area cities that will use ranked choice voting to elect its officials this November 8. This means Oakland voters will have the freedom to rank their favorite candidates in order of preference and elect their school board and councilmembers in one efficient trip to the polls.

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FairVote California Provides Voter and Candidate Education for Ranked Choice Voting

Newly formed group to work with community organizers and advocates on electoral reform education and advocacy.


November 2, 2016

Communications Director Michelle C. Whittaker (301) 270-4616 or


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- FairVote California (FVCA) has released new voter and candidate information for upcoming ranked choice voting elections. Nearly 900 handouts have been distributed throughout the Bay Area at community events and centers, candidate campaigns, civic engagement groups, health clinics, and churches. The online and printable handouts provide helpful information on how a ranked ballot works and campaign strategies for candidates. The voter handouts are an educational tool available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

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Some Insights into Ranked Choice Voting in Berkeley

The following piece was originally published in Berkeleyside.

I recently read your coverage of Berkeley candidates for the Nov. 8 election. One city council candidate encouraged voters to only vote for her and not rank other candidates — this is a political tactic called “bullet voting” — and suggested ranked choice voting has “unintended consequences.”

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Your Vote Matters in Berkeley's Election

The following piece was originally published in The Berkeley Daily Planet.

Berkeley is one of four Bay Area cities that will use ranked choice voting to elect its officials this November 8. This means Berkeley voters will have the freedom to rank their favorite candidates in order of preference and elect a new mayor and council in one efficient trip to the polls. 

The way ranked choice voting works is as easy as 1-2-3: Voters rank the candidates using the three columns on the ballot to indicate their first choice candidate, second choice candidate, and third choice candidate. In elections with many choices -- like Berkeley’s election for mayor -- it’s wise to use all three of your rankings. Let me explain.

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Disappointed, But Still Optimistic

In 2010, I sat in Oakland City Hall listening to the debate about whether ranked choice voting (RCV) should be implemented for that election year, despite the fact that in 2006, voters had overwhelmingly supported ranked choice voting to be adopted by a margin of 69% to 31%. Oakland voters knew that consolidating a June primary to a general election was more just and fair because turnout is highest and more diverse in November.

This conversation was only made possible because Oakland is a charter city and voters were able to make this decision. The type of election system a community uses has a direct impact on the type of representation people get. Unfortunately, under current state law, general law cities and many kinds of districts must use a single-round “plurality” voting method, also known as “winner-take-all” or “first-past-the-post.” Whatever it is called, plurality voting can have terrible results because of vote splitting and the spoiler effect. Without a majority requirement, a crowded field of three or more candidates could mean a winner is declared with a third of the vote or less because too many similar candidates can split the vote.

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