Ten years ago Oakland residents overwhelmingly voted to move from a traditional primary and then general election type of voting, to ranked choice voting – also sometimes called instant runoff voting. The ranked choice voting system saves the city over a million dollars a year by consolidating elections, and ensures that elections are more representative because voter turnout is always higher during general elections.
It also allows voters to select who they really want to be elected, rather than being forced to chose from “the lesser of two evils.” In this way, it gives grassroots candidates who may not be able to raise as much money as establishment candidates greater opportunity to be viable competitors. Oakland first implemented ranked choice voting in 2010, and voters have successfully been using the system to elect our city representatives ever since.
When voting on Oakland races, you may rank your top 3 choices for local seats including city council and school board. The idea is that by allowing voters to rank candidates, we will elect someone who more closely reflects the support of the majority of voters.
Under this system, races may result in a candidate winning who did not receive the majority of 1st choice votes, but did rake in more 2nd and 3rd choice votes. If you feel adamantly against particular candidates, we recommend to leave them out of your ranking even if this means leaving your 2nd and/or 3rd choice blank. In other words, vote only for candidates who you at least somewhat support as your 2nd and 3rd choices.
Need more info about how ranked choice voting works? Check out these resources to learn more:
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