What’s Happening in the Bay Area RCV Races This November?

For the November 6, 2018 election, the voters in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Leandro will be electing their local representatives through ranked choice voting (RCV). Here is an overview of those races.

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San Francisco Democratic Party Backs Ranked Choice Voting


SAN FRANCISCO – At its regular monthly meeting in June, the Democratic Party of San Francisco voted overwhelmingly (19 in favor, 4 opposed, 4 abstain) to pass a resolution that reaffirmed the local Party’s support for ranked choice voting (RCV). In its resolution, the Democratic Party praised some of the key features of RCV including:

  • Preventing costly and low turnout separate runoff elections (such as the previous December runoff)
  • More positive and substantive campaigning and less mudslinging in a number of races
  • Candidates recognizing the need to appeal to support from a broader electorate
  • Encouraging more diversity in candidates and voters
  • A 38 percent increase in the election of candidates of color in all four Bay Area cities that use RCV (San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and San Leandro)
  • Significant increases in voter turnout

The Democratic Party resolution called RCV a “fair election system that has been a success for voters in representation in San Francisco.”

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Data and Maps From the 2018 San Francisco Mayoral Election

Assembled Data and Maps of the 2018 San Francisco Mayoral Election


Final Round Breed v. Leno by Precinct

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What I’ve Learned About Ranked Choice Voting

Bruck.jpgAbout Myself

My name is Bruck Tsegaye, I am 16 years old and an upcoming Junior at Metwest High School in Oakland, California. Metwest as a community, focuses on social justice issues by spreading awareness and the freedom of walkouts. I have gained experience with social justice and activism through the organizations that I have been apart of. This is my last week as an intern with Coro and FairVote California. Both organizations have helped me gain a better understanding of leadership, networking, and how to create change within my community.

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How Representation is Better Under Ranked Choice Voting

Sofia.jpgAs a young Latina student I feel included in my community, but simultaneously, I know that I am not always at the table. From unequal opportunities in the education system to strange looks on my commute, the urge and push to succeed has not been discouraged, but rather increased.

San Francisco has always been a bubble. By saying this, I mean to acknowledge the difference it is to live here compared to other cities and counties. There are unequal opportunities everywhere, but something that I deeply appreciate is that we are not complicit nor do we simply ignore the issues that people in our communities are facing. San Francisco takes into account each others differences and needs, and tries to create a space that includes both of these things. An example of this is ranked choice voting (RCV).

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Exhausted Ballots in the 2018 San Francisco Mayoral Election

Exhausted Ballots: Did They Affect the Outcome in San Francisco’s Mayoral Election?

By Steven Hill and Pedro Hernandez

Executive Summary

In the 2018 mayoral election in San Francisco, 21,000 ballots (8.6% of all ballots cast) became “exhausted” -- is it possible that the number of exhausted ballots impacted the winner in San Francisco's mayoral election? Or, alternatively, if SF voters had more than three rankings (which might have reduced the number of exhausted ballots), might that have affected the outcome? The answer to both questions is: no. By using publicly available ballot-image data to analyze this race, it can be determined that a substantial number of the exhausted ballots came from voters who supported the less progressive-identified candidates in the race. Those voters tended to favor London Breed over Mark Leno by a ratio of 1.36 to 1. Some voters for Jane Kim also saw their ballots exhaust, and those voters tended to strongly favor Mark Leno. Overall, this analysis estimates that, with more rankings for voters leading to fewer exhausted ballots, Leno might have closed the victory margin by an estimated total of 183 votes. This would not have been enough to overcome the 2,600 vote gap between himself and London Breed.

In addition, if Jane Kim had won 700 more first choice rankings and surpassed Mark Leno in the first round, would that have changed the outcome of the election? Definitely not. In fact, London Breed would have won by an even greater margin, because Kim would have picked up fewer second and third rankings from Leno supporters than Leno picked up from Kim supporters.

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Ranked Choice Voting's Midterm Report

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Quick Takes - San Francisco Mayoral Election

Huge turnout

  • Voter turnout will end up around 53%, giving San Francisco its highest turnout for mayor in 15 years, much higher than statewide turnout (36%) in California.

Greater usage of ranked choice voting (RCV)

  • The mayor’s race drove turnout. San Francisco voters cast more RCV ballots for mayor than non-RCV ballots for governor and U.S. senator.
  • 86% of voters used at least two of their rankings in the mayor’s race, and nearly 70% used all three of their rankings.
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The California Voting Rights Act: Constitutional, Flexible, Powerful


By Pedro Hernandez and Alex Ault

California is diverse, but it’s local elected officials aren’t. No race or ethnic group constitutes a majority of the state’s population. Though they account for 34 percent of the state’s adult population, Latinos comprise just 18 percent of the statewide total of elected city officials in California. Other minority groups, like Asian American/Pacific Islander communities, are underrepresented to an even greater extent.

At the time of its passage, the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) was groundbreaking legislation. The CVRA expands on voting rights granted under the federal Voting Rights Act by, among other things, lessening the burden for communities to challenge at-large elections systems that dilute their ability to elect a candidate of their choice.

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Press Release: San Francisco Mayoral Election By the Numbers: A First Look


June 5, 2018

Contact: Pedro Hernandez at or 415.613.2363

San Francisco Mayoral Election By the Numbers: A First Look
Trends Suggest Voters Using RCV Better Than Ever More San Francisco Voters for Mayor than for Governor and Far Less Error

SAN FRANCISCO -- First ranked choice voting (RCV) election results in the special election for mayor of San Francisco suggest that voters are handling ranked choice voting ballots well. After analyzing the first release of the 78,223 ballots received by the Board of Elections on June 4, FairVote California finds that San Francisco voters are continuing to make effective use of ranked choice voting.

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