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Indybay Feature

Democratic reform: Ranked Choice Voting in San Francisco

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Zabrae Valentine
Location Details:
Commonwealth Club
595 Market St., 2nd Floor
San Francisco

From: Steven Hill, Center for Voting and Democracy

Please join me next Tuesday evening for a program at San Francisco's venerable Commonwealth Club. I will be speaking about the upcoming use of Ranked Choice Voting in San Francisco (also known as Instant Runoff Voting). I will be joined at the podium by Prof. Richard DeLeon from San Francisco State University, one of the Bay Area's foremost commentators on local and state politics. It should be a great program, it will be broadcast on radio, and it's free to the public. Here are the details, followed by the Commonwealth Club's email promotion.

When: Tuesday, October 26, 2004, 7 pm
Where: Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco


The nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum

Ranked-Choice Voting In San Francisco's November 2004 Election: How It Works And Why It Matters


a.. Richard DeLeon, PhD, San Francisco State University
b.. Steven Hill, Author of "Fixing Elections: The Failure of America's Winner Take All Politics" ( and Co-Founder and Associate Director of the
Center for Voting and Democracy

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Commonwealth Club of San Francisco

6:30 p.m., Registration | 7:00 p.m., Program 595 Market St., 2nd Floor, San

Free for Members and Non-members; for reservations, call 415/597-6705 or


Or register online at

How will the new "Ranked Choice Voting" affect how citizens vote on the November 2 ballot? How will this change affect election outcomes? In March 2002, San Franciscans voted to adopt "ranked-choice" voting (also known as "instant runoff voting") for city elections, and in a matter of weeks, ballots will reflect this change for the first time.

Voting reform advocate Steven Hill and Professor Rich De Leon will tell us everything San Francisco voters need to know about ranked-choice voting and explain what they should be prepared to do on election day. They will examine why the change was made, share the history of ranked-choice voting, and cite examples of how this process is working elsewhere in the U.S.

Ranked-choice voting allows people to rank three candidates in order of preference for local races. This enables voters cast their vote for whomever they genuinely prefer without "spoiling" final election outcomes, and eliminates the need for costly run-offs. Not only does ranked-choice voting require voters to think differently about how they vote, but the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times report that it is changing the way candidates campaign, fostering more coalition-building and less negative campaigning.

Steven Hill has been instrumental in the campaign to adopt ranked choice voting in San Francisco. Professor DeLeon has led the way in researching the impact of electoral systems in San Francisco and elsewhere.
Added to the calendar on Fri, Oct 22, 2004 12:00PM
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