The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on July 10 whether to place a controversial charter amendment on November’s ballot that would largely repeal San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting (RCV) system, but the outcome of that effort has become murky with the introduction of two competing alternatives. The original charter amendment, sponsored by Sup. Mark Farrell, would eliminate RCV for all citywide elected officials, instead holding a primary in September and runoff in November. The board rejected an earlier effort by Farrell to repeal RCV, but Farrell came back with a modified measure that was co-sponsored by Sup. Christina Olague, much to the dismay of her progressive supporters, particularly Steven Hill, the father of RCV in San Francisco. Hill said runoff elections in September, a month notorious for having low-voter turnout, will invariably favor the conservatives who always vote in high numbers. He said that RCV is a fairer representation of what voters want and a November election allows for more voters to be heard.
After widespread criticism from her progressive constituents, Olague publicly turned away from the measure, telling Hill and board members she would remove her name from it. Yet instead of removing her name, in a surprise move she proposed her own amendment to the charter, which only angered progressives more. “Progressives are pretty furious with Christina right now because she is working with conservatives and went back on her word,” Hill said.
Olague’s proposal would eliminate RCV for only mayoral elections, with the primary still in September, even though she previously told the Guardian that she opposes having an election in September. Olague didn’t respond to email inquiries from the Guardian, but she has maintained in previous interviews that she is only trying to create a compromise between opposing parties on the board.