On the day of San Francisco's first ranked-choice mayoral election, Supervisors Elsbernd and Farrell are set to propose a new charter amendment that would eliminate the new voting system altogether. As first year Supervisor Farrell told the Examiner, "ranked-choice voting is a failed experiment."
Before we forget, however, it is also a "failed experiment" that helped Farrell squeeze in to the District 2 seat after he barely beat out Janet Reilly in an instant runoff last year.
Anyhow, Farrell and Elsbernd's proposed amendment will need a majority vote from the Board before it ends up in front of us regular folk on next June's ballot. According to Examinista Melissa Griffin it's unlikely any supe will want to vote against it after the inevitable shitshow that will occur as today's votes are tabulated.
Still, the reasons for doing away with the new system go beyond the "It's confusing!" or "What exactly happens to my other two votes?" complaints that we've been hearing leading up to today's vote. Looking to the mess in Oakland, where Mayor Jean Quan is currently the focus of a recall effort, Griffin gives the sense that Quan's, "incompetence might have been discovered prior to the election if she had been subjected to a runoff instead of sliding into office due to a ranked-choice voting system." Bottom line: runoffs like those in 2003 and 1995 might be less of a pain in the ass than recalling an elected official down the road.
As for the more immediate implications: Because this amendment is only being introduced today, it probably won't send any sparks flying in the Board Chambers just yet. But that could change depending on how things shake out tonight for Supervisor-Candidates David Chiu and John Avalos. (And, of course, Ross Mirkarimi in the Sheriff's race.)
UPDATE: Sparks did indeed fly after Farrell introduced his charter amendment at this afternoon's Board of Supervisors meeting. Supervisor Avalos sternly explained he was "stunned" by the introduction on the day when the election is still in progress. Avalos called the amendment, "very crass" and a "cheap publicity stunt" before proposing a modified ranked-choice voting system and vowing to introduce another charter amendment to counter Farrell and Elsbernd's amendment. Elsbernd, for his part, reminded Supervisor Avalos that the nine of the current supervisors were elected with less than a majority vote in their respective elections.