Early voting for the Nov. 8 election began Tuesday with three mayoral hopefuls casting ballots on the ground floor of City Hall.
Mayor Ed Lee showed up with his wife to a throng of press members and supporters, some of whom followed him inside after a short rally outside the building. In typical Lee fashion, he opened with a joke upon entering the polling station area.
“I understand there is no electioneering at the polls, so I won’t say anything until I’m done,” Lee said. “I don’t want to have any undue influence on my wife.”
Lee noted that he hasn’t seen his name on a ballot since being elected senior class president at Franklin High School in Seattle and said it was “a little weird.” Upon leaving the official polling area, Lee took the opportunity to express concerns he has about The City’s ranked-choice voting system.
“I want to take another look at this ranked choice voting,” Lee said, adding that The City needs to “at least” do a better job educating voters about how it works.
Designed to avoid long and costly run-off elections, ranked-choice voting allows voters to choose up to three candidates. If the candidate with the most first-choice votes doesn’t receive a majority after the first round of counting, the lowest-performing candidate drops off the bottom of the list and the second-place votes on his or her ballots go to the rightful candidate. The rounds of counting continue until one candidate gets a majority.
Lee said he has heard “lingering questions” about whether second and third choices somehow trump the first place votes.
“A lot of people are saying they still don’t know what happens to their vote,” Lee said.
As for his own second and third choices, the mayor was mum on specifics, but said he did indeed choose two others he has been “thinking about” through campaign season.
Candidates Joanna Rees and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu also voted Tuesday morning, with the latter filling out his ballot after an all-night campaign event that had him riding night buses and his bicycle through inclement weather.