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Oakland has used it for 10 years, but this year it was a source of confusion

Now that ballots have been counted for the 2022 election, we’ve been left with the homework of explaining ranked-choice voting. Oakland has used ranked-choice voting for the past 10 years, yet this was a source of confusion for many. Explaining how this works can be tricky, not only to our youth and non-citizens, but to the general community in Oakland – especially when we consider this election was the first time we had the chance to rank 5 candidates instead of 3 for mayor. FIA believes in empowering everyone to use their voice and when you are well versed on candidates rank-choice voting is a great way to maximize your voting power and your voice.

I found this Oaklandside article featuring national expert on ranked-choice voting Sean Dugar helpful (please see the entire article pasted below) in explaining the logistics and data behind why Oakland uses ranked-choice voting. It will be important that more education happens in Oakland about how ranked choice voting works so that we can fulfill our goal of enfranchising as many voters as possible. For example, in 2022 there were many “overvotes” (when a voter has ranked more than one candidate at the same ranking) that didn’t count. We need to make sure our communities are informed about HOW to use ranked-choice voting so the votes cast are not in vain.

As an organizer I know the action is in the reaction. I appreciate how Sean Dugar called out the different growth areas Oakland can focus on to guarantee we have successful rank-choice voting results for the next election. For FIA this could mean we work closer with voters who choose to do mail-in ballots and make sure they avoid overvotes. I invite others to share what they feel we should do differently or again for our next election!

What do you feel we should do differently or again for our next election? Write us back or hit us on social!

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