I heard there were problems with RCV in Oakland, why are we trying to bring it here?

  • RCV has worked well in Oakland, and is popular among its voters and elected leaders. It has helped elect strong and beloved elected officials while keeping costs to taxpayers low and removing the need for a run-off election. It can be tempting to blame a new system for a politician we don’t fully support, but true participatory democracy means opening up the field to a variety of candidates.
  • Under RCV, voters across the Bay Area have elected candidates more representative of themselves and their communities and given more people the chance to run for office.
  • Some people may still have negative opinions about Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) because of Don Perata's defeat in Oakland's 2010 mayoral race, which Jean Quan narrowly won. Please see this analysis by CFER. In short, Jean Quan would have won even if Oakland had continued to use their traditional run-off system instead of RCV. The main failure in that election was that the Registrar did not report the results properly, announcing the first round results and then not releasing the final tally until 3 days later. Since then, RCV election administration practices have improved so that preliminary tallies are now done on election night. Under the same RCV system, voters ousted Quan four years later and elected the current mayor Libby Schaaf.
  • Oakland and SF are currently limited by their voting machines to allow voters to rank only 3 candidates (those machines are scheduled to be replaced with more RCV-capable equipment). This won't be an issue at all in Santa Clara, where our county Registrar of Voters is in the process of procuring equipment that will allow voters to rank up to 10 candidates.