Voters could decide this November on a charter amendment introduced Tuesday at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ meeting that would eliminate ranked-choice voting for all citywide elections. Supervisor Mark Farrell introduced the proposal, which he says has the support of five other supervisors, enough to place it on the ballot in November. San Francisco’s current system allows voters to rank up to three candidates for each elected office, and those with the lowest vote totals are eliminated and their second- and third-place votes are reassigned until someone has the majority of the votes. The charter amendment would scuttle ranked-choice voting and replace it with a non-partisan primary in September of any election year with citywide races. If no candidate received 65 percent of the vote for a given office, a runoff would be held in November between the top two candidates.
Farrell and Supervisor Sean Elsbernd previously introduced a similar proposal that also included district supervisors’ races and could have gone in front of voters on the June ballot, but that measure was tabled by the board last month.
“I would’ve preferred to do it across all races, but this is a step in the right direction,” Farrell said. He said ranked-choice voting is too confusing to voters and can lead to races where there are too many candidates who are hard to differentiate from each other. Elsbernd, Carmen Chu, Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen and Christina Olague are the other supervisors supporting the new charter amendment.
Last month, the board also considered a separate proposal on the city’s election system by Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos, but kept that off the June ballot, as well. That measure, which sought to include more voter education on ranked-choice voting and also consolidate the city’s odd-year elections into a single year, was sent back to a board committee for further analysis.