Perform your own RCV tally: downloading the software

NOTE:  We revised the software on November 8 to include codes for  overvotes and undervotes to facilitate the analysis of voting patterns.  If you downloaded the software before Nov 8, we encourage you to use the updated version, which includes new input files and the program sfcnvrt.exe dated 11/8/4 at 9:18 am.

Installing the software and performing RCV tallies

  1. Download the software (zip file) and store it in in a folder on your c: drive, such as c:\rcv.

  2. Unzip the file and place the two executables, sfcnvrt.exe and cplite.exe, along with 7 .in files, in the same directory.

  3. From the City's website, copy the ballot image data into a text file and save it in the same folder.

  4. Go to the DOS prompt, change directories to your folder, and use the command, "sfcnvrt <ballot image file name>"

  5. This will create 7 .blt files that contain the rankings for each supervisor district.  These files will contain codes for precinct numbers, which you can look up to identify the actual precinct numbers.

  6. Check each of the .blt files and if they contain any quotation marks ("), search and replace them.  (This happened on one Windows XP machine, but not on another)

  7. Return to windows, click on the cplite.exe icon.

  8. For each district that you want to tally, in the CPLite program, go to Election > Load and then choose the .in file corresponding to the supervisor district you wish to run.  If the file loads successfully, go to Election > Tally.  If a tie occurs, select a candidate to eliminate.  Under law, ties are broken by drawing lots.

  9. The files, election.out and tabrpt.out, will contain the round by round RCV tally.

  10. Before running another supervisor district, be sure to rename the files, election.out and tabrpt.out, because CPLite will overwrite those files every time it tally a race.

Some details and hints

Before starting the process, your directory should contain:

  • sfcnvrt.exe, a program simply takes a text file containing the rankings for these 7 supervisor races and sorts and reformats the data into 7 separate text files that are formatted as input files for CPLite.exe;

  • CPLite.exe, a program that loads an input file containing candidate names and codes and the set of rankings, performs the RCV tally, and creates two output files showing the results, election.out and tabrpt.out;

  • CPLite.doc, a user's guide for CPLite;

  • 7 input files, named,,,,,, and;

  • A text file containing the RCV ballot image data, such as details.txt

Once you successfully run sfcnvrt from DOS, your directory will contain 7 .blt files, and when you successfully run CPLite from Windows, the following files will be in the same directory:

  • election.out and tabrpt.out, RCV tally result files

  • loadrep.out and transfer.out, audit files for the CPLite.  The transfer.out file could be quite large and is an audit file, so we don't recommend saving separate copies for each tally.

Both sfcnvrt.exe and CPLite.exe are DOS-based programs, so they may have trouble with long directory (folder) names.  That's why it's a good idea to store all these files in a simple directory on the c: drive.  In particular, use a valid 8 character file names for the folder, such as c:\rcv.

The codes for undervotes, overvotes and specific candidate names are hardwired into sfcnvrt.exe, so don't expect to use the same program in future elections (but we'll surely be able to provide more flexible software next time).

There are two input files for CPLite.exe.  The first is a .in file, such as  This file lists the candidate names and candidate codes. It also includes a statement that says, ".INCLUDE DIST01.BLT."  The .blt file contains the actual rankings.  Once CPLite reads in, it knows to read the data in dist01.blt.  Once it finishes reading both files, which goes very quickly, it is ready to perform the RCV tally and generate the election results, which are stored in the files, election.out and tabrpt.out.

Remember that this free version CPLite is for evaluation purposes, and that if you ever want to use this software to tally the results of your own election, you should buy the software ($45).  You can read more about the software on Voting Solution's website.

When official data is released, numerous experts, such as Professor Rich DeLeon and David Binder of Binder and Associates, will analyze the results and announcing their finds, so if you have any trouble, check our homepage or do a web search for other people who are posting independent tally results.