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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008


Berkeley, California (Wednesday, October 26, 2016) -  Learn how Ranked Choice Voting works to help guide your decisions for the Nov. 8 election, when several City Council seats and the mayoral race will use the method if no one candidate gets a majority of votes outright.

Ranked Choice Voting, which is sometimes referred to by its acronym, "RCV," allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, and eliminates the need for a separate, run-off election.

Voters can -- but aren't required to -- indicate their first, second and third choice for an office. Some voters choose only one top choice. If a candidate receives a majority of first choice votes, they are the winner.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of first place votes, then the ranked choice process is used:

  • First, the candidate with the fewest first place votes is eliminated.
  • Second, voters who selected the eliminated last place candidate have their votes transferred to their second choice. If they didn't choose a second choice, they do not have a vote in the second round.
  • Third, votes are re-counted to see if there is a candidate with more than 50 percent of the vote.
  • If no candidate receives more than 50 percent, the process of eliminating the last place candidate and transferring votes is repeated until a majority winner is declared.

In Berkeley, the 2014 District 8 contest provides an example of how Ranked Choice Voting has been used. Alameda County also posts all Ranked Choice Voting results for 20142012 and 2010 for Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro, the three cities in the County that use this runoff method.

Ranked Choice Voting is sometimes called "instant run-off voting" but that does not mean the election is decided on Election night.  All ballots are processed and counted before a race is decided.  

The use of Ranked Choice Voting does not change any other part of the voting experience.  Voters may continue to vote-by-mail or at the polls just as before. 

RCV is as easy as ranking your top three choices - 1, 2, 3.  For more information of how Ranked-Choice Voting works, including video demonstrationsFAQs, and translated materials, please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/rcv. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters also has web-based resources to learn about Ranked Choice Voting

If you have any questions about RCV, please contact the City Clerk Department at 981-6900 or elections@cityofberkeley.info.


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