Proportional ranked choice voting for school board elections in San Francisco

What would be the impacts of using proportional ranked choice voting to elect school board members in San Francisco?

      1. Better representation. Proportional RCV is the best method for ensuring broad representation and allowing candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities to win election. Voters use ranked ballots to express their own diversity, and voters win representation no matter where they live.
      1. Retain citywide elections, protect against a voting rights lawsuit. If San Francisco’s school board was elected by proportional RCV, it will still be elected citywide without being forced to move to district elections. The California Voting Rights Act targets at-large elections like San Francisco’s method used to elect its school board. P-RCV is better than districts because minority voters would be able to win representation even if they don’t live in the “right” gerrymandered district. P-RCV would change the conditions that currently expose San Francisco to the threat of a voting rights lawsuit.
      1. Simplicity for voters — ranked ballots are familiar. San Franciscans already use ranked choice voting to elect our mayor, Board of Supervisors and other citywide offices. Voters are used to ranking their ballots, so it makes sense to allow voters to rank for school board elections too. It will be less confusing if San Francisco uses the same method for all local elections.
      1. Lower the amount of money needed to win. Currently, a successful candidate for a school board seat must win support from approximately 40% to 50% of voters spread all over the city. With P-RCV, a candidate would need to support from 20% to 25% of voters. This not only would open up school board elections to a broader range of viewpoints, but candidates would not need to run citywide but instead could focus on specific neighborhoods or communities of interest where their support is strongest. Candidates wouldn’t need to depend on deep-pocketed donors or run citywide campaigns.
      1. Enjoy the benefits of ranked ballots. San Francisco already uses ranked ballots in its elections for mayor, Board of Supervisors and other offices. P-RCV would introduce ranked ballots for school board elections, with all of its associated benefits including: a) allowing voters to have more choice without fear of wasting their votes on spoiler candidates, and b) allowing candidates to utilize the ranked ballots for building coalitions with other candidates and their supporters.
      1. Districts will divide city resources. The educational needs of schools and families are similar across the city and from one neighborhood to another. Dividing those needs into districts could result in some schools better served than others. Politics between districts could become more intense.
      1. Best of both worlds: neighborhood and citywide representation. P-RCV allows a natural give-and-take between electing representatives who are based in neighborhoods and represent neighborhood interests, and other representatives that pay more attention to citywide issues. Both citywide and neighborhood issues are important, but districts only pays attention to neighborhood issues, and at-large elections only to citywide issues. Only P-RCV allows a hybrid of both of these important perspectives.

These are important benefits that San Francisco would enjoy by making a modest change to using a proportional ranked choice voting method that allows voters to rank their ballots like they already do for mayor and city council, yet preserves citywide elections and avoiding districts.