The Alameda County Registrar of Voters used an incorrect method to count ballots for Berkeley and other cities using ranked-choice voting, resulting in inaccurate totals for the Nov. 8, 2022, election.
Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis issued a press release Wednesday stating that his office’s “tally system was not configured properly.”
The problem affected the races for Berkeley City Council in districts 1 and 8 — the city’s only races that use ranked-choice voting and where more than two candidates were running. Ranked-choice voting is not used for rent board or school board.
No election results were affected by the issue in Berkeley, according to the registrar. Rashi Kesarwani still won in District 1 and Mark Humbert won in District 8 after the registrar re-ran the ballots using the proper ranked-choice tally method.
The registrar’s mistake was more serious in Oakland, to the point where it may have caused the registrar to certify the wrong winner in the Oakland Unified School District, District 4 race, according to two of the candidates and the registrar’s office.
The registrar’s office did not respond to a phone call and email seeking more information about the error. But they included the following information about the miscounted ballots in their press release:
It should have been configured to advance ballots to the next ranking immediately when no candidate was selected for a particular round. This means that if no candidate was selected in the first round on the ballot, then 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 the County’s equipment counted the RCV ballots in the manner in which the ballot was completed, meaning no vote was registered for those ballots in the first round of counting because those voters did not identify a valid candidate in a particular rank on the ballot.
The problem affected every race in Oakland where more than two candidates were running, including all three Oakland Unified board seats, the mayor’s race, and City Council District 6. San Leandro’s ranked-choice elections were also affected.