San Francisco Ranked Choice Voting Resources

For current updates on San Francisco's use of IRV, please visit the page at

FairVote released an Evaluation of San Francisco's First Ranked Choice Voting Election, compiling data and reports from San Francisco State University, the Chinese American Voters Education Committee, and the San Francisco Department of Elections. FairVote's Report on San Francisco (.pdf)

FairVote also released an assessment giving thumbs up to San Francisco's first IRV election. FairVote reviewed three measures of success for the first election in San Francisco, addressed other topics relating to the election and answered frequently asked questions. FairVote's Assessment (.pdf)

Chinese American Voters Education Committee (CAVEC) exit polls shows IRV is a big success. Read about the CAVEC poll.

On November 2, 2004, San Francisco voters made history when they went to the polls and used ranked choice voting (also known as instant runoff voting) to elect seven members of the Board of Supervisors (city council). All winners were determined by Friday afternoon, less than 72 hours after the polls had closed, and the city saved millions of tax dollars by avoiding a low turnout, December runoff election.  In addition, all winners were elected with many more votes than in previous races for Supervisor, so more voters had a say in who their local representatives are. All in all, it was a great success for the maiden voyage of ranked choice voting in San Francisco (see media coverage below).

Number one rankings were released on election night, and based on those preliminary results it was obvious that three races in Districts 2, 3 and 9 were decided because the frontrunners had too great a lead. The other four races required the "instant runoff" to decide the winners, with results known by Friday afternoon, November 5.

Besides Board of Supervisor, in other years ranked choice voting will be used to elect the mayor, district attorney, sheriff, treasurer, city attorney, public defender, and tax assessor.