New election system operable by November
By J. K. Dineen
April 9, 2004
State officials cleared the way for ranked-choice voting
in San Francisco Thursday, setting the stage for a new
election system to be in place by this fall's hot
The state certification comes more than two years after
the electorate approved the ranked-choice voting method,
also known as instant-runoff voting, by charter reform.
The voting system will allow voters to rank their choices
from one to three in order to avoid a December rematch,
which could save The City more than $3 million per election.
A panel appointed by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley did
recommend making some design changes to the ballot.
"They want the ballots looked at to see if they can
be made more voter friendly," said Steven Hill of the
Center for Voting and Democracy.
In the past, the grassroots organization Chinese American
Voter Education Committee had opposed ranked-choice voting,
arguing it would confuse and disenfranchise more than 15,000
voters who use Chinese-language ballots.
But executive director David Lee said the organization
was resigned to the new system and now planned to now focus
on providing voter education.
"The reality is we're going to have it regardless of
how we feel about the system," he said. "The train
has left the station."
He said a recent poll showed that 30 percent of
Chinese-American voters were totally unfamiliar with
"We don't have much time and [have] seven
supervisors to elect," Lee said.