SF Mayoral Candidates Vote But Don't Tell

They call it a secret ballot for a reason

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 8:31 AM PDT
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SF Mayoral Candidates Vote But Don't Tell

The San Francisco mayoral candidates are voting, but not sharing their second and third place picks with the public.

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Three San Francisco mayoral candidates -- venture capitalist Joanna Rees, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, and incumbent Mayor Ed Lee -- took advantage of early voting and cast their ballots at City Hall early this week for the Nov. 8 election, the first mayoral election in San Francisco history to feature ranked-choice voting, in which voters pick up to three choices for the office.

We know who the candidates put for their first choice -- themselves -- but who did they put second and third? In this case, the hopefuls are voting and not telling, all declining to say who they put second and third, according to the San Francisco Examiner, though Lee did take the opportunity to offer a barb towards ranked-choice voting.

"I want to take another look at this ranked-choice voting," Lee told the Examiner. San Francisco needs to do a better job educating voters about the oft-confusing process "at least," the mayor said. "A lot of peopl eare saying they still don't know what happens to their vote."

Prior elections featured a runoff election one month after the general election in which the top-two vote-getters in the initial election squared off against one another. A famous example of ranked-choice voting in action is last year's Oakland mayoral race, in which Jean Quan became mayor thanks to second- and third-place votes.

With ranked choice, if the candidate with the most first place votes doesn’t receive a majority after the initial tally, the candidate with the least first place votes is eliminated and his or her second and third place votes are distributed. The rounds of counting continue until one candidate gets a majority.

Make sense? If not, you're not alone.

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