Category Archives: Oakland

Oakland an Example of Risk in Ranked-Choice Voting

The San Francisco Examiner reports on Jean Quan’s “Reign of Error”.  They blame RCV for electing a Mayor largely seen as incompetent.  She is currently the target of THREE RECALL EFFORTS!

“I can’t shake the suspicion that her (Quan’s) incompetence might have been discovered prior to the election if she had been subjected to a runoff instead of sliding into office due to a ranked-choice voting system.”

It goes on to describe RCV supporters:

The religious fervor exhibited by people who love ranked-choice voting is a bit bizarre. Are they selling the voting machines that count these funky ballots? They cite charts and arguments and polls like they are defending a senior thesis instead of acknowledging what any conversation with a local will tell you: People don’t like ranked-choice voting. 

Then calls for a repeal of Ranked Choice Voting:

We should consider recalling the system of ranked-choice voting before we have to recall an elected official who escaped the scrutiny of a runoff election. Just ask Oakland. 


Didn’t you get the Memo? Negative Campaigns thrive in Ranked Choice Voting Races

How many times have you heard “There will be clean campaigns with RCV because candidates want the 2nd and 3rd place votes”.  This is a common pitch by RCV supporters that just doesn’t hold any water.

The effectiveness of Negative Campaigns in RCV was demonstrated by the Jean Quan campaign in Oakland.  Quan paid for many hit pieces against Don Perata, and supported a “Anyone but Don” campaign, which included a negative website.  Quan spent the most money out of any elected Mayor.  The League of WOmen Voters lamented about how negative the campaign got, as they promoted RCV would introduce clean campaigns.

This formal is now being used in several RCV races around the country.  Negative campaigning abounds, beginning with the San francisco Mayor’s Race where candidates Herrera and Yee have come out with attacks on the current Mayor.

The Huffington Post reports “Dennis Herrera Releases Savage Attack on Ed Lee” and the Lt. Gov. of California asked Leland Yee to take down his attack video.

On the other side of the country, the RCV negative attack playbook is being used in Portland Maine, where they will be using RCV for the very first time.  Jed Rathband, who ran the RCV campaign, is now going negative.  His attacks have been relentless, and have caught the eye of the press.  Mayor Mavodones states he is sorry that some candidates “are going down the path” of negative campaigning.

League of Women Voters Event outlines Ranked Choice Voting Pros and Cons (also known as Instant Runoff Voting)

Lee Price MMC, City Clerk of San Jose presents an extensive Pro and Con of Ranked Choice Voting. Her presentation for the League of Women Voters covers all bases, and uses real world data from recent RCV elections.

Lee Price is considered an expert in Ranked Choice Voting and administering elections, and is an active instructor for the City Clerk’s Association of California

She shares her in-depth knowledge of RCV in this video:

Department of Justice Files Voting Rights Violations Complaint against Alameda County

The Department of Justice filed a Voting Rights Violation against Alameda County and the Registrar of Voters, which administered the recent Ranked Choice Voting elections in Oakland, Berkeley and San Leandro.

“The complaint alleges that Alameda County violated Sections 203 of the Voting Rights Act by having failed to provide effective access to the electoral process for Spanish and Chinese-speaking citizens who need language assistance and translated materials and information to cast an informed ballot.”

The complaint can be seen HERE.

A published picture of a voting booth clearly shows RCV Voting instructions in English only.  The agreement, reached just one day after America celebrated its Independence, stipulates the County will provide Voting materials and assistance in SPanish and Chinese.  The Press Release reads:

“The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy, and language barriers should never keep citizens from accessing that right,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Today’s agreement ensures that Alameda County’s Spanish and Chinese-speaking citizens will be able to cast an effective ballot and successfully participate in the electoral process”

Confusion about Oakland’s new Ranked Choice Voting System may have affected election

Lance Williams, the reporter who broke the Barry Bonds steroid scandal, writes for California Watch – the Center for Investigative Reporting that voter confusion may have changed the outcome of the Oakland Mayoral election:

“One out of every 10 Oakland voters showed signs of confusion about how to vote for mayor using the city’s new ranked-choice voting procedure, according to a computer analysis of returns obtained by California Watch.

The confusion was so great that it may have flipped the final results of the extraordinarily tight mayor’s race between former state Senate leader Don Perata and city council member Jean Quan, the analysis shows.”

On the perils of “Instant Run-off” voting – A blindfold and a dartboard

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on voters not understanding the Ranked-Choice Voting system.  Describes how popular candidates can loose with this system and winners receiving only 24% support.

“Berkeley resident David Reid decided to take a poll this fall on his daily walks, with poodles Lucy and Dora, in the city’s Rose Garden neighborhood. How many of his neighbors in this upscale and well-educated swath of Berkeley, he wondered, understood how the new ranked-choice voting system worked?

“I asked city officials, academics, writers … none of them understood it,” said Reid, editor and an author of the 1994 book “Sex, Death and God in L.A.”