Ranked-choice voting in Portland and San Francisco

One of my recent projects with the Indaba Application Network was a ranked-choice straw poll dedicated to San Francisco’s ranked-choice/instant runoff Mayoral race. The poll is closed now, but the site will remain online at https://mayor2011.com until the domain name expires. John Avalos pulled out a slim victory on the straw poll site, but came in second to incumbent Ed Lee in the real world vote.

Post-election press reports indicate that San Franciscans weren’t universally enthusiastic about the ranked-choice voting process. There were complaints when it became apparent that someone can be declared winner without actually receiving a majority of the votes cast. Part of the problem is that San Francisco’s ballot only permitted three choices in a field of sixteen candidates, so the instant run off system exhausted ballots more quickly than is desirable.

The ranked-choice voting process in Portland Maine allowed a rank for every candidate and the ballot counting apparently went quite smoothly.

The people of Minneapolis will be using ranked-choice voting for their Mayoral race in 2012. Mayor2011.com is on deck.

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