Neither of two dueling proposals to change San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting system will go on the June ballot, the city’s Board of Supervisors decided today.
San Francisco’s current system, approved by voters in 2002 and put into effect in 2004, allows voters to rank up to three candidates for each elected office, and those with the lowest vote totals are eliminated and their second- and third-place votes are reassigned until someone has a majority of the votes.
A charter amendment proposed by Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Mark Farrell sought to scuttle ranked-choice voting and replace it with a primary and runoff system, while another measure proposed by Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos sought to make minor tweaks to the current system.
Neither proposal will go in front of the city’s voters in this June’s election though–supervisors voted this afternoon to table the runoff system proposal and send the other one back to committee for further analysis.
Campos had sought to delay a vote on his proposal, which included more voter education on ranked-choice voting and the consolidation of the city’s odd-year elections into a single year, saying it would be better served to go on the November ballot after more analysis was done on its potential effects.
Elsbernd accused him of pushing for the delay because ranked-choice advocates thought the lower turnout in a June election might not favor their proposal, and said enough analysis had been done on the issue.
“This has been in front of us for the last 10 years,” he said.
“I’m not sure what more we need to discuss.”
The board eventually agreed to send Campos and Avalos’ proposal back to committee, but not before narrowly voting 6-5 to table the runoff system proposal, in effect killing it, Farrell said.
“It’s a shame we didn’t send this to the ballot to let voters decide,” he said.
Farrell and Elsbernd were among supervisors who had argued that the current system is too confusing to voters, and that it leads to too many candidates that were hard to differentiate from each other.
Campos disagreed, saying “The system we have in place is a system that works … instead of throwing it out, we need to make it better.”
He said when his proposal goes back to a board committee for further discussion, he would consider incorporating any additional ideas from other supervisors, such as one from Jane Kim, who proposed having runoffs just for mayoral elections but not for other elected offices.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News