Marking Your Ballot - Ranked-Choice Voting
• Read the instructions printed on each ballot card.
• Use a pen with black or dark blue ink.
• Fill in the oval next to your selection for the contest or measure, as shown in picture 1.
• To vote for a qualified write-in candidate, write the candidate’s name in the space at the end of the candidate list and fill in the oval next to the space; for a list of qualified write-in candidates, visit sfelections.org/writein on or after October 23, or ask a poll worker.
• Do not write personal information, such as your name, anywhere on the ballot.
• If you do not want to vote on a certain contest or measure, leave it blank. Your votes for the other contests and measures will still count.
• Made a mistake? To get a replacement ballot, go to sfelections.org/myballot, call (415) 554-4375, or ask a poll worker.
You will notice some changes on your ballot! San Francisco’s new voting system expands your opportunities to rank candidates. You can now rank up to 10 candidates in a ranked-choice voting contest, instead of three candidates as in the past. To practice marking a ballot, visit sfelections.org/rcv or see the Sample Ballot in this pamphlet.
Ranked-choice voting eliminates the need for separate runoff elections by allowing voters to rank candidates in order of preference. San Francisco voters have used ranked-choice voting since 2004 to elect all City offices except members of the Board of Education and the Community College Board.
How Ranked-Choice Voting Works
• First, everyone’s first choice is counted.
• If a candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes—more than half—that candidate wins.
• If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate in last place is eliminated.
• Voters who selected the candidate who was eliminated have their votes counted for their next choice.
• This cycle repeats until there is a majority winner.
How to Mark a Contest that Uses Ranked-Choice Voting
• The names of candidates are listed in rows on the left side of a grid. Numbered rankings appear in the top row.
• You may rank as many candidates as you like – up to a maximum of 10 candidates. If you do not want to rank some candidates, leave columns blank.
• To rank candidates on the ballot, fill in the ovals from left to right, as shown in picture 2.
o In the first column for your first choice.
o In the second column for your second choice.
o In the third column for your third choice, and so on.
• Do not fill in more than one oval for a candidate. If you rank a single candidate as the first, second, third choice, and so on, it is the same as leaving the second choice, third choice, and so on, blank.
• Do not fill in more than one oval in the same column. If you give the same ranking to multiple candidates, your vote in that rank and later ranks will not count.
• To vote for a qualified write-in candidate, write the person’s name in the space at the end of the candidate list and fill in the oval for the rank.
• If there are fewer than three candidates for an office, mark your choice(s) and leave columns blank. (San Francisco’s Charter requires that voters be allowed to rank no fewer than three choices for any contest that uses ranked-choice voting. However, sometimes fewer than three candidates run for an office).