Today was my first time actually voting with San Francisco's instant runoff system, known as ranked-preference voting. Instead of having an election and then having a runoff six weeks later if nobody got an outright majority, voters list their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for each office.
In one of today's contests, City Attorney, it's a rather inelegant formality: there is only one name, without even any write-in candidates. However, for Assessor-Recorder and Treasurer, we get to give our druthers and our almost druthers and our grumbling mutter-mutters.
It looks something like this:
|First Choice||Second Choice||Third Choice|
|George Washington||←||George Washington||George Washington|
|Warren G. Harding||Warren G. Harding||Warren G. Harding|
|Abe Lincoln||Abe Lincoln||←||Abe Lincoln|
|George W. Bush||George W. Bush||George W. Bush|
By the way, the only write-in candidate on the ballot didn't even bother to vote for himself, at least if the results on the city's web site are accurate. 2,752 people did write in something for the otherwise uncontested City Attorney race, even though no write-in candidates qualified before the election.
The only race in which the ranked-preference system mattered was the Assessor-Recorder. Oddly, even though the web site reports 100% of the precinct results, it does not officially record the instant run-off result. If even 23% of Ronald Chun's voters had Phil Ting as their second choice, then Ting was re-elected, but if somehow 77.4% of those Chun voters had Gerardo Sandoval as second choice, then Sandoval won a stunning upset. I'm guessing, just on raw odds, that it's Ting, but Chun ran on a strongly anti-Ting platform, so his voters might have been strongly pro-Sandoval as an "anyone but Ting" vote. Could it have been by a more than 3-to-1 margin, though? Official word, apparently, will wait until morning.