Berkeley, CA Instant Runoff Voting for City Elections
Type: Charter Amendment
Status: Approved by voters on 3/2/04
Vote: In Favor - 72% Opposed - 28%
Charter Amendment - Instant Runoff Voting
Shall the Charter of the City of Berkeley be amended to authorize the city council to adopt an instant runoff election system upon finding that acceptable voting systems and equipment make it technically feasible, consolidation of City election with County elections will remain feasible and the City will not incur additional election costs?
Financial Implications: Savings, between $100,000 to $300,000 if separate runoff election avoided which may be offset by start up costs for instant runoff voting.
The People of City of Berkeley hereby amend the Charter of the City of Berkeley to read as follows:
Section 1. Article III, Section 5, shall be amended to add subsection (12) to read as follows:
(12) Use of instant runoff voting in lieu of runoff elections
For purposes of this charter “instant runoff voting” shall refer to a voting system which, in a single election, determines the candidate supported by the voters. Notwithstanding any section of this charter to the contrary, upon a determination by the city council of all of the following, that: a) the voting equipment and procedures are technically ready to handle instant runoff voting in municipal elections; b) instant runoff voting will not preclude the City from consolidating its municipal elections with the County; and c) instant runoff elections will not result in additional City election costs, the council may by ordinance establish a system of instant runoff voting for the offices of mayor, city council, and auditor, in any manner permitted by the State of California Elections Code. Once the council institutes a system of instant runoff voting, future elections shall be conducted as instant runoff voting elections, unless the council finds that circumstances have changed such that one or more of the prior council findings required by this section are no longer valid. In such case, the council shall articulate the specific basis therefor in order to suspend an existing system of instant runoff voting. The fourteenth paragraph of Section 9 of Article V relating to the percentage threshold to trigger a runoff election shall have no application to a system of instant runoff voting. The city clerk shall conduct voter and community education to familiarize voters with instant runoff voting.
The People find that the passage of a charter amendment on the ballot at the March 2004 election to reduce the threshold for triggering runoff elections and to delay any such election to the February of the year following the general municipal election does not conflict with this amendment.