Tag Archives: San Francisco mayoral election

Update: How the West was won? Mayor Ed Lee’s an elected after a Ranked Choice victory in San Francisco

 I’ve lauded Ed Lee for reaching “Gold Mountain,” when he was named interim. That alone was a tremendous accomplishment for the community lawyer turned bureaucrat. But his evolution to “elected” is all the more fascinating because of Ranked Choice Voting.

RCV is process that redistributes the votes, working from the bottom up.  Each time a last placed candidate was eliminated in the field of 16, a voter’s second choice is distributed accordingly to the named candidate still alive in the race.

Lee, who led at the end of election night Tuesday with  31 percent of the vote to Avalos’ 18 percent, was stalled with just 38 percent of the vote as the RCV vote count was underway Wednesday.

But Lee’s stock rose in round 7 when Public Defender Jeff Adachi was eliminated.

Adachi’s second place votes went mostly to City Attorney Ed Herrera, who got 2,100. Board President David Chiu had  1,721. But Lee did better with 1,935.

Lee’s ability to amass a large number of No.2 votes, particularly from the other top Asian American candidates’ ballots was significant.

In round 8, when State Senator Leland Yee was eliminated,  Herrera took 2,092 of Yee’s second choice votes.  Chiu took 2,275.  But again, Lee got the most from Yee:  2,992 second place votes.

In round 9, Chiu, who raised more than a million dollars and won the endorsement of the San Francisco Chronicle, was eliminated.  The winner of Chiu’s second choice votes were Herrera at 2,376, Avalos with 3,832.  And again, there was Lee getting a huge chunk, 5,894.

Remember Chiu ran only after Lee promised not to run, but then Lee ran anyway.  Lee was like a siphon on Chiu for first and second choice votes. In fact, Chiu’s seconds got Lee close to a majority with 49.02 percent of the votes, but it would take one more round to win it all.

In round 10, when Herrera was eliminated, 6,883 of his second place votes went to Avalos, the top name on the Democratic Party’s slate.  But again, there was Lee who took 4,705 No.2s from Herrera.

That’s all Lee needed to enter the 11th round with a whopping 61 percent, more than enough votes for a majority.

And that’s how the sausage was made.

Update: The above analysis was after first 11 rounds of Ranked Choice counts and re-distributions from Wednesday. 

Thursday’s  count added a 12th round which changed the numbers only slightly as Lee virtually held the same lead, 61 percent to Avalos’ 39 percent. But the race technically is over when Lee got 50 percent and 1 vote.

One interesting fact: Lee padded his vote count significantly by being the second choice for backers of Chiu, Yee and Adachi. Those sloppy seconds added nearly 20 percent to Lee’s total vote.

See my Amok column on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog at www.aaldef.org/blog

Update: San Francisco Interim takes big step toward history: Ed Lee has 39.85 percent of the vote by mail turnout

Interim Mayor Ed Lee took the big lead in the first release of vote-by-mail ballots in the SF Mayoral race.

Lee got a commanding  26,621 votes or 39.85 percent of the votes counted so far.

Supervisor John Avalos and City Attorney Dennis Herrera are next with 10.6 percent and 10.24 percent, respectively. Both candidates were endorsed by the San Francisco Democratic Party.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu was in fourth with 8.36 percent.

State Senator Leland Yee was in fifth with 8.25 percent.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi  was in sixth with 6.33 percent.

This first tally includes just the vote by mail which represents about 14.59 percent of all voters. The next release of votes at 9:45 will include the first ballots from today’s polling.

Those votes could reflect a totally different voter sentiment in light of voter  fraud allegations made against some of Lee’s supporters.

But if the trend continues, Lee would be very close to the 50 percent and 1 vote he needs to secure victory.

The top ten candidates received 97.65 percent.

If no one receives a majority,  the Ranked Choice Voting will eliminate the lowest ranking candidate one by one and distribute their backers’ 2nd and 3rd choices until one candidate gets a majority of the vote.

More detailed results at :