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Green Party of California

Green Party Praises ‘Ranked Choice Voting' Success in San Francisco; Saves $3 Million, Gives Voters More Choices at Ballot Box

For immediate release: Thursday, Nov. 10, 2004

Cres Vellucci, State Press Office, 916-996-1970,
Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-277-0610,
Sara Amir, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-270-7106,

SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 10, 2004) – An innovative "Ranked Choice" voting system – saving taxpayers millions of dollars and giving voters more choices at the ballot box – passed a big test here Nov. 2 with flying colors, said the Green Party of California, which has long advocated the system.

Using Ranked Choice (or Instant Runoff) Voting in its Board of Supervisors election, San Franciscans elected seven winners – including three supervisors on election night and four supervisors a few days later. All the winners would have been known within 24 hours of the Nov. 2 election if there had not been a minor equipment glitch, said observers.

The system success means that taxpayers do not have to spend an estimated $3 million for the usual December runoff election. And, campaigns did not have to spend the additional monies for the runoff, which usually has a low voter turn-out.

Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to elect officials by selecting a first-choice candidate and different second- and third-choice candidates. If a candidate receives 50 percent or more votes, that candidate wins outright. If not, those receiving the fewest votes are eliminated and the voter's next choice is counted. This process continues until a 50 percent winner is chosen.

"The San Francisco election was a win for voters, and for Democracy," said Steven Hill of the Center for Voting and Democracy. "The fast results mean that San Francisco avoided a December runoff election (which ) were notoriously negative," added Hill, noting that the winners in the election won with more votes than in the last San Francisco runoff election. In short, the system appeared to have encouraged voter participation.

In addition to the GPCA, a host of social justice, minority and environmental groups – including the League of Women Voters and United Farm Workers – support Ranked Choice Voting, as well as Sen. John McCain and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.


The Green Party of California
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437