Release of Results and IRV Tabulation
San Francisco currently reports election results starting on
Election Night on the following schedule:
Early absentee results are released in Report #1 as soon as
possible after polls close at 8pm.
Subsequent reports are released on Election Night as
precincts report. 100% of precincts generally report by 11pm.
On each day following the election, a single report is
released at the end of the day that includes all absentee and provisional
votes counted that day.
Nearly all ballots are counted within a week of the election,
and the final numbers are typically determined within 7-14 days of the election.
With instant runoff voting, two additional step in the
ballot counting process must occur: an anonymous record of each vote cast must
be aggregated in data files, and then the instant runoff tabulation is performed
on the entire data set.
An instant runoff tabulation on a partial data set does not
have any official significance in the final results, so it does not make sense
to perform the tabulation until all (or nearly all) ballots have been scanned.
Since this may not occur until 7-14 days after the
election, we believe that it is particularly important to have a very public
process of preliminary result reporting. To achieve this, we recommend
releasing results in three ways:
1st choice totals should be reported in the same manner and
on the same schedule as results are currently reported.
Data files consisting of anonymous records of all ballot
scanned to date should be released on the following schedule:
Early absentees as soon as possible after polls close
Precinct results as soon as all or nearly all precinct
report on election night
One report at the end of each day of ballot counting
following Election Night.
After all ballots have been counted and reported according
to the above schedule, the Dept. should perform the instant runoff
tabulation and report round-by-round vote totals for all candidates,
including exhausted ballots, until a candidate receives a majority of
Sample data files and IRV tabulation results
To give people a sense of what these data file and tabulation
results will look like, we have assembled some dummy data that shows the
Early absentee votes
Absentee and provisional report #1
Absentee and provisional report #2
These data sets contain 50 votes that show first, second and
third choice candidates from among a field of 8 candidates.
It is a simple process to drop these data sets into a
spreadsheet and perform the IRV tabulation, but we have formatted so that the
votes can be tallied by the type of software that the vendor will develop or
If you would like to tally the votes using software, you can
download a program called Choice
Plus Lite for evaluation purposes. (The Center for Voting and
Democracy does not endorse or guarantee this software.)
To use this program, install it on your computer, copy the
4 data files into the cplite directory, and then copy this input
file into the same directory. Then run the program, load the input file and tally
If everything worked properly, the program will generate output
files that look like this: