San Francisco Officials Repair Voting Glitches

Times Staff Writer

Elections officials here fixed a software glitch Friday that had temporarily paralyzed a tally of votes cast under a novel voting method.

The method, known as "ranked choice" or "instant runoff" voting, allows voters to select a first, second and third choice. If no one wins 50% of the votes when the first choices are tallied, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The second choice of those voters is then added to the remaining candidates' tallies. The process continues until a majority winner emerges.

First choices for Board of Supervisor seats were reported on election night. But voter turnout was so high that the computer system was unable to process the tallies Wednesday.

After approval from the secretary of state's office was granted Friday, the software problem was corrected, said San Francisco Elections Department Director John Arntz.

The results are not final; some provisional and absentee ballots must still be processed, and then the rounds of elimination and recount repeated.

But it appears that six incumbents held on to their seats. In the only open race, to replace outgoing Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez, fellow Green Party member Ross Mirkarimi appears to be the victor.

Gonzalez launched a surprisingly strong bid for mayor last year, attracting thousands of young left-leaning volunteers. Many of those volunteers transferred their energies to the campaign of Mirkarimi, a district attorney's investigator, longtime activist and political consultant who helped run the Gonzalez campaign.

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