Oakland approves rank choice voting

Oakland City Council approved a new election system called rank choice voting to cut costs. (ABC7)

January 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
There is now a new way to vote in Oakland. The City Council approved an election system called "rank choice" voting.

Voters will now rank candidates in order of preference. In a close race, second and third choices will help decide the winner, eliminating the need for a runoff election. Supporters say the system is faster, more fair, and it saves money.

"Rank choice voting is something I have believed in for many, many years because it allows us to consolidate the election to November at which there is a dramatic improved turnout and lowered cost," says city councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.

In 2006, Oakland voters decided to amend the charter to require rank choice voting.

The city budgeted $900,000 for the change, but it's relying on Berkeley and San Leandro to chip in for the rest of the cost.

Both of those cities are still deciding if they will make the switch.