New developments in SF Supervisor races and a Defense of Ranked Choice Voting
Sep 6, 2023
"I can’t write about San Francisco’s upcoming races without defending ranked choice voting (RCV). RCV is getting a lot of unfair criticism. I’d like to set the record straight." -- Randy Shaw, editor of BeyondChron
"RCV replaced a system of low-turnout runoff elections. These turnouts were disproportionately decided by white homeowners. RCV is far more democratic. It also saves cities the cost of operating low-turnout runoff elections.
The big rap against RCV by supporters of losing candidates? It’s too “confusing.” They point to seemingly odd RCV results—-like a candidate whose voters forego second place choices (See Ignacio de la Fuente, 2022 Oakland mayor’s race) or who send second place votes to a candidate of a different ideology (Nancy Tung voters went to Chesa Boudin over Suzy Loftus in San Francisco’s 2019 District Attorney’s race).
But these outcomes made sense. de la Fuente drew votes heavily from those who only cared about him. Tung voters were angry at Mayor Breed for appointing Loftus to the temporary DA post and did not want to give Loftus their second place votes.
I understand why people blame “confusion” instead of a campaign’s failure to strategically attract ranked choice votes. But candidates lacking a winning RCV strategy have only themselves to blame."