Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) has been used in Oakland since 2010. RCV was approved by Oakland voters in 2006 with the adoption of Measure O. Oakland elects its Mayor, City Council members, City Attorney, City Auditor, and School Board Directors using RCV.


Improving Voter Understanding and Reporting

We dedicate our efforts to this work because we know that with RCV, voters are better represented. In Oakland, RCV eliminated the need for a costly June primary election and voters only had to visit the polls once when turnout is highest in a November general election.

We are advocating for ongoing voter education and more transparent reporting of RCV elections. As a reminder, with RCV, if no candidate receives a majority of votes (50%+1), the “instant runoff” is triggered. This means that the candidate with the fewest 1st choices was defeated in the first round, and the ballots for that candidate go to those voters’ 2nd or 3rd choices. This process repeats during each round of counting until there is a majority winner.

FairVote California recommends that the Alameda County Registrar process the instant runoff despite a majority. We believe that this gives voters and the public a sense of how the winning candidate fared among all voters and helps to further clarify the election results.



Alameda County Registrar of Voters - Ranked Choice Voting

Oakland RCV Resources

FairVote Election Analysis



Stay tuned for voter education and campaign efforts for the upcoming election.


Oakland Magazine: Why Ranked Choice Voting Matters in Oakland

Bay Area Election Analysis

FairVote: Every RCV Election in the Bay Area So Far Has Produced Condorcet Winners


East Bay Express: Oaklanders Understood Ranked Choice Voting

Huffington Post: Key Facts About 2014 Ranked Choice Voting Elections in Bay Area

RCV and Campaign Civility Report

Oakland North: How ranked-choice voting worked in District 1

FairVote: Visual Demonstration of How Libby Schaaf Was Elected Mayor of Oakland in 2014


 PublicCEO: Analysis Of 2012 Ranked Choice Voting Elections In The Bay Area: Three Points


Oakland Rising: Key Facts about Oakland’s First RCV Election

FairVote: Final Results Analysis

Comparing RCV and Top-Two Primaries in Oakland

Ella Baker Infographic on RCV


From the Blog

There are numerous ways to assess an electoral system. Mathematicians and political scientists have developed hundreds of different criteria, with the most common including the majority criterion, the later-no-harm criterion and the Condorcet winner criterion.

The Condorcet winner criterion is one of the most common criteria. It states that the candidate who would win a one-on-one matchup against any other candidate should win the election. The frequency with which an electoral system elects Condorcet winners is a good measure of whether the election system reflects the political center of a given electorate, since a Condorcet winner, by definition, has to be able to win over a majority of the electorate regardless of alternative choices.

A system that more often elects Condorcet winners will less often elect a candidate disliked by the majority of voters--an outcome that US voters in plurality elections and low turnout runoffs know all too well. It is hard to estimate how many US elections using plurality and runoff systems elect candidates disliked by a majority of voters, but we all have anecdotes of reviled politicians who somehow manage to keep being re-elected.

This week, the City of Oakland unanimously passed a resolution calling for reform to abolish the electoral college. The resolution was introduced by Oakland District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb, and was co-sponsored by At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. 

The resolution directs the City Administrator and City Lobbyist to work with relevant state and federal elected officials to develop and ratify an amendment to the United States Constitution to replace the Electoral College with a national popular vote for President, such as the legislation recently introduced by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California. In the alternative, the resolution asks to approve the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Our friends at the Center for Civic Design are looking for people to help test some new ballot designs and voter education materials, to help make voting a better experience.

If you live and vote in San Francisco or Alameda County, they'd love to have you participate in their research study.

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.


November 10, 2016


California: Pedro Hernandez, Deputy Director, FairVote California

(415) 613-2363 / pedro@fairvote.org

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

(301) 270-1238 / (301) 270-4616 / mwhittaker@fairvote.org

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.

Join the Oakland Chapter