In San Francisco, Ranked Choice Voting has some crying foul. And as the outcome and process from the November 2011 election is further studied, data shows there’s reason to be suspicious of the system.
In a Ranked Choice election, voters select their top three choices for an office. In San Francisco, RCV played a role in three elections – giving voters the chance to “cast” a total of nine ballots. However, only a third of them actually did.
The disparity of fully participating voters varies even more greatly when neighborhood or ethnic specific data is examined. In Chinatown, 9 percent of voters only cast a total of three ballots – one for each office. That means that when the election went into its runoff stages, their votes weren’t counted. Perhaps more troubling was the discarding of more than 31,500 ballots that had been correctly filled out, but did not rank candidates who moved on into the instant runoff. In essence, these voters did not vote ultimately vote in the election.
The tepid rate of correctly cast ballots came after a $300,000 voter education effort.
From the New York Times:
The results are in: San Francisco voters have trouble with ranked-choice elections.
Despite a $300,000 educational campaign leading up to last month’s elections, including a new smiley-face mascot, publicity events, and advertising on buses and in newspapers, only one-third of voters on Nov. 8 filled out all three choices in all three races, according to an analysis released this week by the University of San Francisco.
Read the full article here.