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Instant Runoff Voting in Oakland

Earlier this month, Oakland elected its first Asian American to the less than coveted role of city mayor. Jean Quan emerged victorious this election day, although at one point she was trailing her opponent by 11 percentage points. Understood in context, however, her victory is perhaps less surprising – rather than winning by Plurality, Quan won under Oakland’s Instant Runoff Voting system.

I don't know much about Oakland politics, but this picture sure makes her look ready for business.

What’s the difference? For most elections in the United States, voters are instructed to cast their vote for the individual who they would most like to see get elected. These votes are tallied, and the one with the most votes is declared the winner. In contrast, the Instant Runoff Voting system asks voters to rank several candidates at once – this extra information is used to automatically determine the outcome . . . → Read More: Instant Runoff Voting in Oakland