Related: Mirkarimi Stays Ahead In Most Recent Results For Sheriff’s Contest
Ed Lee Declares Victory In Mayor’s Race
Gascon Keeps Job As SF DA
Turnout Lowest-Ever For Contested Mayoral Race

vote_lede_template.jpg6:28 PM: With a little more than 32,000 votes left to count, it’s all but certain: Ed Lee will stay on as mayor of San Francisco.

When the ranked-choice votes were tallied today on the 150,000-plus ballots counted so far in the mayor’s race, Lee ended up with about 61 percent of the vote after 11 rounds of assigning second- and third-place votes from other candidates.

Supervisor John Avalos finished second with 39 percent of the vote.

District Attorney George Gascon also appears set to hold onto his position, garnering about 64 percent of the ranked-choice votes tallied so far. Criminal justice scholar and former police commissioner David Onek finished second with 36 percent.

The ranked-choice votes also show that Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is likely to beat his challengers to become San Francisco’s new sheriff.

Mirkarimi now has about 53 percent of the vote compared to 47 percent for sheriff’s Capt. Paul Miyamoto.

At a news conference at City Hall following the Department of Election’s release of the latest vote totals this afternoon, Lee said “I’m confident we can use the word victory right now.”

Flanked by his wife and daughter, Lee began welling up with tears as he spoke to reporters outside the mayor’s office.

“It’s wonderful to know your work is welcomed,” he said.

Lee was appointed interim mayor in January when Gavin Newsom became the state’s lieutenant governor.

With the victory in a crowded 16-candidate race, he becomes San Francisco’s first elected Asian mayor.

Lee said he would be calling the other candidates in the race on Thursday morning to congratulate them on their efforts in the race, which he called “grueling.”

Avalos, who was the last candidate to survive in the ranked-choice system against Lee, is not yet conceding defeat, campaign spokeswoman Erica Fox said.

“We are waiting until all the votes are counted,” Fox said. “We’ll wait to see how it all shakes out before John makes any big statement or decision.”

Department of Elections director John Arntz said today that about 25,000 vote-by-mail ballots have yet to be counted, as well as about 7,500 provisional ballots. He expected that those votes would be counted by the end of the weekend.

Arntz said the voter turnout in this election will eventually reach around 41 percent once all the votes are tallied. The number is well below 52 percent, which is what voter turnout was in San Francisco’s last mayoral election in 2007.

Arntz declined to give an opinion as to why this year’s turnout at the polls was lower than other years, but said the city’s ranked-choice voting system was probably not to blame.

“We actually don’t get a lot of complaints like that from voters,” Arntz said. “Complaints are more ‘where’s my polling place,’ ‘where’s my ballot,’ or if there’s electioneering going on.”

Updated totals in the races are expected to be released Thursday at 4 p.m.

5:12 PM: With a little more than 32,000 votes left to count, it’s all but certain: Ed Lee will stay on as mayor of San Francisco.

When the ranked-choice votes were tallied on the 150,000-plus ballots counted so far in the mayor’s race, Lee ended up with about 61 percent of the vote after 11 rounds of assigning second- and third-place votes from other candidates.

Supervisor John Avalos finished second, with 39 percent of the vote.

District Attorney George Gascon also appears set to hold onto his position, garnering about 64 percent of the ranked-choice votes tallied so far. Criminal justice scholar and former police commissioner David Onek finished second with 36 percent.

The ranked-choice votes also show that Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is likely to beat his opponents to become San Francisco’s new sheriff.

Mirkarimi now has about 53 percent of the vote compared to 47 percent for sheriff’s Capt. Paul Miyamoto.

Department of Elections director John Arntz said about 25,000 vote-by-mail ballots have yet to be counted, as well as about 7,500 provisional ballots. He expects that those votes will be counted by the end of the weekend.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • Bruce

    As ballots are exhausted they no longer count towards the majority needed to win the election. Ed Lee currently has about 69,000 votes to John Avalos’ 44,000. But there are 42,000 exhausted ballots. Ed Lee has a majority only when compared to John Avalos, not compared to the vote total. Under this logic a candidate doesn’t need a 50%+1 majority, they need 1 more vote than the runner up once all other candidates have been eliminated.

    Yes, some elections (George W) are decided by a plurality, but RCV promises a majority for the winner and I feel cheated. I want to see a run off in this scenario. It isn’t fair to the people who voted for other candidates than Avalos and Lee, because their votes are essentially thrown out once exhausted and count towards nothing. I’m sure most of them have an opinion between Avalos and Lee.

  • Bruce

    As ballots are exhausted they no longer count towards the majority needed to win the election. Ed Lee currently has about 69,000 votes to John Avalos’ 44,000. But there are 42,000 exhausted ballots. Ed Lee has a majority only when compared to John Avalos, not compared to the vote total. Under this logic a candidate doesn’t need a 50%+1 majority, they need 1 more vote than the runner up once all other candidates have been eliminated.

    Yes, some elections (George W) are decided by a plurality, but RCV promises a majority for the winner and I feel cheated. I want to see a run off in this scenario. It isn’t fair to the people who voted for other candidates than Avalos and Lee, because their votes are essentially thrown out once exhausted and count towards nothing. I’m sure most of them have an opinion between Avalos and Lee.