At-A-Glance: IRV Now!

The Need for IRV

Oakland's election system needs reform now. Five times in the past five years the city has had to conduct November runoffs or call a special election — for City Council races alone. These elections are less representative of the will of Oaklanders and often cost taxpayers additional dollars for second elections. Instant Runoff Voting is a simple solution that will make Oakland's elections more democratic and economical.

There are two problems with the current runoff system. First, they are expensive, costing Oakland taxpayers $200,000 for a citywide runoff. Second, to ensure the possibility of a runoff, Oakland's elections are held in March, when voter turnout is lowest, instead of in November, when voter turnout is highest. Thus, Oakland's elections often cost more and take place in a month when far fewer citizens will have their voices heard at the ballot box.

Special elections are even more problematic. When an elected official leaves office early a special election is called to replace them. Unfortunately, a candidate in this race need only receive a plurality of votes to win — which in the last two special elections in five years has meant that a candidate was elected even though up to 72 percent of Oaklanders voted against them.

Instant Runoff Voting solves for all these problems by allowing voters to rank candidates on their ballots. By knowing voters second or third choices, a runoff election is unnecessary and the city can save money. Because IRV requires a majority to win, special elections would now only elect majority-supported candidates. Finally, because under IRV runoffs are unnecessary, Oakland's elections could be rescheduled to November to maximize voter turnout.

Our Mission

Our mission is for Oakland to employ IRV for all local elections by 2008. We hope to achieve this by having Oaklanders vote on a Charter Amendment in November 2006 to adopt IRV by 2008.


Return to the Oakland IRV Home.

Featured Supporters:

"IRV is a fair way to promote a speedy, less expensive democratic process and savings could go to increase public financing of campaigns."

Nancy Nadel
Oakland City Councilmember
District 3

Wilson Riles
Former Oakland City Councilmember
District 5

Full list of endorsers