Ranked Choice Voting is a way to bring city voters to the polls only once in a year, eliminating the need for frequent runoff elections. In ranked voting, voters pick their first-, second- and third-choice candidates on a single ballot.
On Tuesday, a federal judge upheld San Francisco’s instant-runoff voting system. San Francisco has used Ranked Choice Voting (also known as Instant Runoff Voting) since 2004.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
“A former candidate for supervisor and a group of voters argued that the system, enacted in a 2002 ballot measure, violates the rights of voters who choose only lower-ranked candidates and are disregarded in the final selection.
But U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said Friday that the three-candidate restriction, which was the focus of the legal challenge, doesn’t take away anyone’s vote and avoids the confusion that might ensue if voters were asked to rank every candidate on the ballot.
Courts have upheld instant-runoff voting in other cities, but Seeborg said no judge has ruled before on a system in which voters choose only their top three candidates. Oakland, Berkeley and San Leandro have recently adopted similar measures, he said.“