Laura Wells—a member of the board of the Grand Lake Neighborhood Center—gives credit to District 2 for giving a big push to Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). She says that now is your chance to vote YES on Measure O to make IRV a reality.

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Instant Runoff Voting (Yes on Measure O) makes sense for Oakland, and the Grand Lake area can be proud for helping to bring forward this important electoral reform. Local sponsors and supporters include both District 2 City Council candidates, Aimee Allison and Pat Kernighan. Kernighan co-sponsored Instant Runoff Voting, with District 3 city council member Nancy Nadel, when the city council voted in July to place the measure on November’s ballot. During the District 2 special election in May 2005, all eight candidates said they favored this ranked choice voting method: Aimee Allison, Paul Garrison, Shirley Gee, Justin Horner, David Kakishiba, Pat Kernighan, Peggy Moore, and Todd Plate.

Voter turnout will be a big winner with Measure O. Currently, most local elections are decided in June when voter turnout is very low — only a third of eligible voters in the last election. Voter turnout in November is significantly greater, so it makes sense to elect local leaders in one November election using instant runoff voting. Oakland also will save nearly a half-million tax dollars, according to the city auditor, money then available for other public services.

With instant runoff voting (known as IRV), voters pick their favorite candidate, just like now, but they also rank their runoff choices 1, 2, 3 on their ballot. If a candidate receives a majority of first rankings, she wins — just like now. But if no candidate has a majority of first rankings, the second and third rankings are used to determine the majority winner — instantly — in one November election.

IRV has proven itself as a reform voters like. San Francisco has held two successful elections using IRV. Exit polls show voters overwhelmingly understood and liked IRV, with positive results reported across all ethnic and racial groups. Voters also like the reduction in negative campaigning that occurs with IRV.

Measure O has been endorsed by two dozen elected officials including Congresswoman Barbara Lee, City Attorney John Russo, Board of Supervisors President Keith Carson and Alice Lai-Bitker, the Oakland Tribune, Spanish Speaking Citizens’ Foundation, Democratic Party, Green Party, Central Labor Council, NAACP (Youth and College Division), the Sierra Club and many more. Please vote Yes on Measure O. Visit for more information.

[Editor’s note: You might also be interested in John Russo’s “Instant Runoff Voting — A step towards a healthier democracy.”]