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Friday, January 7, 2011

Low-income voters struggled with ranked-choice voting - California Watch

From California Watch,
Voters from low-income neighborhoods had a tougher time with the complexities of the ranked-choice voting system in November's election.

That’s the bottom line of a California Watch analysis of voting data from the electoral district that arguably faced the most complicated ballot in California: San Francisco’s Supervisorial District 10.

In the first round of the system’s so-called instant runoff, more than 2 percent of district voters – 489 – spoiled their ballots with what are called “overvotes.” That means voters improperly voted for more candidates than allowed. Under the rules, those votes weren’t counted.

Although the voters who didn’t vote in the supervisorial election were distributed fairly evenly throughout the district, the “overvotes” were concentrated in lower-income areas, the data show.

In Bayview/Hunters Point, more than 3 percent of the ballots were spoiled because of overvotes. The rate was almost as high in Visitacion Valley, a lower-income area with a large population of Asian immigrants.

Those rates were triple the spoil rate among votes cast on Potrero Hill, where income and education levels are higher, according to census data.

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