By Steven Tavares

An internal poll for the mayor’s race in San Leandro shows little movement has been made by Tony Santos’ opponents. But, nevertheless there is concern during an election featuring the first-time use of Ranked Choice Voting in San Leandro.

The poll described to The Citizen shows Santos short of accomplishing a majority. Some sort of permutation of second place votes will be needed to push him over 50 percent, but where will they come from is the question. The survey shows Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak with around 20 percent and Stephen Cassidy at 15 percent.

Those numbers are not much different than figures predicted by some officials earlier in the year. Since the poll, two additional candidates–Sara Mestas and John Palau–have entered the race. Despite data showing RCV rarely produces a winner different from an election using plurality voting, there is still a sense of apprehension on how to conduct a campaign under the format which guarantees a winner in one election rather than the need for a more expensive primary and runoff elections.

If Santos’ numbers stand pat, he will need to pick up the remaining 3-5 percent from voters who ranked him second to their preferred candidate. Most likely they would come from Mestas and Palau, but then there is concern whether a combination of both candidate’s first place votes would even be enough on their own.