The Oakland Mayor's Race: Making Sense of Instant Runoff Voting
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Three years ago, Jean Quan won the Oakland mayoral race thanks in part to Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV).
Also known as Ranked Choice Voting, this system introduces an entirely different strategy. IRV eliminates primaries and instead has voters rank candidates in order of preference. What matters most is not how many first place votes a candidate receives, but how many overall votes he or she receives.
Some argue the system saves money, elects the candidate with the broadest support, and allows voters to vote their conscience without fear of "wasting" their vote on a "losing" candidate. Others argue that the system confuses voters, promotes negative campaigning, and that the results reflect more a candidate’s aptitude for strategy than the will of the people.
With the next election right around the corner, come hear some of the best minds on the subject discuss the upcoming Oakland mayor's race and the effect IRV has on campaigning and elections in the Bay Area.