Eight Oakland mayoral candidates say they've been sidelined in the crowded race -- shut out of debates and forums and mostly ignored in news media.
The diverse and scrappy (or campaign cashless) "bottom eight" candidates held a news conference Tuesday to call out the treatment they say undermines the purpose of Oakland's ranked-choice ballot.
"Ranked-choice voting is supposed to allow everyone a fair chance at running for office," write-in candidate Sam Washington said. "Something went way off the rails, ladies and gentlemen."
Under the system, voters pick their top three candidates in order of first, second and third choice. If no candidate garners more than 50 percent of first-choice votes, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and second choices from those ballots are redistributed, all until one candidate has a majority of votes. Also known as instant runoff, ranked choice allows for more candidates to compete for an office without the need for runoff elections.
Oakland's ballot has 15 official candidates for mayor, plus write-ins.
Nancy Sidebotham, another lesser-known candidate, said big-money influence in the race is transferring control away from the people of Oakland to outside interests.