San Francisco


Voters passed Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) as an amendment to the City Charter in March of 2002. In 2004, San Francisco held its first RCV election. San Francisco voters use RCV to elect the Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, Treasurer, Assessor-Recorder, Public Defender, and Members of the Board of Supervisors.


Improving Voter Understanding and Election Systems

We dedicate our efforts to this work because we know that with RCV, voters are better represented. With RCV, San Francisco voters only have to visit the polls once when turnout is highest in a November general election. Prior to RCV, many voters did not participate in the second round of voting, which was held in December as a runoff election – the median turnout decline for local runoffs between 2000 and 2003 was 39.5%, meaning just three in five voters turned out in the decisive runoff election. With RCV, 86.8% of voters ballots count in the final, decisive election.

RCV eliminated the need for a costly December runoff election. Based on the Department of Elections, these costs included approximately $340,000 for every district election for a member of the Board of Supervisors and approximately $3.7 million if adding a citywide runoff election for Mayor.

We are advocating for ongoing voter education and support the San Francisco Open Source Voting System Project.



San Francisco Department of Elections - Ranked Choice Voting

SF Better Elections


FairVote Election Analysis

SF Open Source Voting System



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


FairVote: Ranked Choice Voting in the 2016 Bay Area Elections

Bay Area Election Analysis

Fairvote: Evaluating the 2016 Ranked Choice Voting Elections in the Bay Area

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

FairVote: RCV Elections and Runoffs: Exhausted Votes vs Exhausted Voters in the Bay Area


Ranked Choice Voting and Racial Group Turnout: Methodological Flaws Skew Recent Study on RCV

FairVote: Seven Ways Ranked Choice Voting is Empowering Voters in 2015


FairVote: Key Facts about the Use of Ranked Choice Voting in 2014 in California’s Bay Area

2014 Eagleton Poll California RCV Survey Results

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

RCV and Campaign Civility Report


In defense of ranked choice voting


FairVote: First Take on RCV Elections in Four Bay Area Cities

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


Better Elections in San Francisco: San Francisco Numbers Tell a Powerful Story about RCV

FairVote: RCV Election Results: Portland and San Francisco

Like 1-2-3: Ranked-choice voting here to stay


Understanding the RCV Election Results in District 10


Beyond Chron: Ranked Choice Voting in SF: $3 Million Saved, Turnout Nearly Tripled


Ranked Choice Voting and Voter Turnout in San Francisco’s 2005 Election
Public Research Institute: An Assessment of Ranked-Choice Voting in the San Francisco 2005 Election


Public Research Institute: An Assessment of Ranked-Choice Voting in the  San Francisco 2004 Election


From the Blog

June_5_2018_Election.jpg (image source:

With the sudden passing of Mayor Edwin Lee on Dec. 12, voters in San Francisco will be choosing a new mayor in a special election on June 5, 2018. The winner will be choice in a single ranked choice voting, “instant runoff” election unlike most California vacancies that take far longer to fill over two rounds of voting.

Candidates for the special election will be required to submit their nomination papers by 5 pm on Jan. 9, 2018. The period for candidates to gather voter signatures to reduce the cost of filing nomination papers for the office of mayor is now open; this period ends Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 5pm.

While the field for candidates is not yet clear, we wanted to to provide our supporters with an overview of what to expect.


What is the project? The project is for the City and County of San Francisco to develop and certify an open source paper-ballot voting system, as described in detail by a resolution passed unanimously by the San Francisco Elections Commission in November 2015.[1]

What is an open source voting system? An open source voting system is a voting system consisting of open source software running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS, aka “commodity”) hardware. Open source software is software that is free for anyone to inspect, use, and improve.[2] The software is public and non-proprietary. The Firefox web browser and the Linux and Android operating systems are three widely used examples of open source software. Open source software is used heavily by successful technology companies large and small.

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