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Alameda County finds error in ranked voting system, investigating Oakland school board race

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — A mix of votes in Oakland. The Alameda County Registrar of Electors said the first certified results in an Oakland School Board race were not correct.

In fact, the contestant who was certified as finishing in 3rd place now claims victory. This all has to do with ranking voting.

The Registrar of Electors says only one race has been affected and it is this school board race. In a press release, the Alameda County Registrar of Electors said it learned that its ranked vote count system was not configured correctly for the November 2022 general election.

“We became aware that there might be a problem on Friday. We completed our research yesterday (Tuesday) and informed the candidates this morning (Wednesday),” the statement said.

They say it affects the Oakland School Board Superintendent’s District 4 race, but also say “no other results for a ranked vote election, in any jurisdiction were changed.”

MORE: Once homeless, daughter of refugees, Sheng Thao addresses Oakland; Become the city’s 51st mayor

Nick Resnick was certified as the winner earlier this month, but his opponent Mike Hutchinson, who would have lost the District 4 race, was told differently on Wednesday morning.

“Without being cynical, I now believe in holiday miracles. So it was very shocking to wake up this morning and receive a phone call at 10:30 a.m. from the Alameda County Elections Officer informing me that I had indeed won. the election.” said Mike Hutchinson, who is currently a District 5 school board member but is running for District 4.

“This is from FairVote, which is a group that has worked on ranked voting nationally. And they did an audit that kind of led to this, I’ve now found out, but it doesn’t come not about me as a candidate or my campaign,” Hutchinson said.

MORE: Oakland mayoral candidate Loren Taylor caves to Sheng Thao, criticizes ranked voting

The Registrar of Electors did not confirm whether Hutchinson is the winner, but said, “The current results posted are the original certified votes. We are working to recertify using the correct count.”

We contacted Nick Resnick, but got no response. The board has yet to announce a winner. Resnick would be the first transgender person elected to a school board in California if nothing were to change.

MORE: Community groups see Pamela Price winning as a force for change in the Alameda Co. District Attorney’s office.

Alameda County issued a press release writing:

“Several jurisdictions use Ranked Voting (“RCV”) to conduct their elections in Alameda County.

The ROV learned that its RCV scoring system was not configured correctly for the November 2022 general election. It should have been configured to advance ballots to the next ranking immediately when no candidate was selected for a particular turn. This means that if no candidate was selected in the first round on the ballot, the second round ranking would count as the first round ranking, the third round ranking would count as the second round ranking, and so on. .

For the November 2022 General Election, the setting on County Equipment counted the RCV ballots the way the ballot was filled, meaning no votes were recorded for those ballots at the first round of counting because those voters did not identify a valid candidate. in a particular rank on the ballot.

Once he learned of the problem, the ROV immediately investigated it. The ROV worked with its vendor to determine the source of the problem and resolve it. After reviewing the election data and applying the correct configuration, the ROV learned that only one outcome was affected: Principal of Oakland School, District 4, for the Oakland Unified School District. No other results for any RCV elections in any jurisdiction were changed.

The ROV notified the City of Oakland, the Oakland Unified School District, District 4 Principal Candidates, and the Secretary of State. The ROV is currently working with its supplier to provide guarantees that this will not happen in future elections.”

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