FairVote New Mexico, a project of FairVote, is a non-partisan organization that advocates for electoral solutions that give voters more voice and greater choice. We specifically advocate for ranked choice voting, a system proven to be more inclusive, participatory, and representative than our current electoral system. In 2008, ranked choice voting (RCV) was approved by voters in Santa Fe, NM, and the city is planning to implement it for local elections in March 2018.
Ranked choice voting (RCV) makes democracy more fair and functional. It works in a variety of contexts. It is a simple change that can have a big impact.
With ranked choice voting, voters can rank as many candidates as they want in order of choice. Candidates do best when they attract a strong core of first-choice support while also reaching out for second and even third choices. When used as an "instant runoff" to elect a single candidate like a mayor or a governor, RCV helps elect a candidate that better reflects the support of a majority of voters. When used as a form of fair representation voting to elect more than one candidate like a city council, state legislature or even Congress, RCV helps to more fairly represent the full spectrum of voters.
In 2008, ranked choice voting (RCV) was approved by Santa Fe voters. Santa Fe is planning to implement it for local elections in March 2018, and in doing so, New Mexico will join states like California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota that have cities using RCV. Santa Fe voters support using ranked choice voting for their elections for several reasons:
Too often, candidates win elections despite being opposed by most voters. With RCV, you get winners who earn a majority of the vote. This means the winner is more broadly representative.
With RCV, you don’t need to vote twice since there is no primary or runoff election. Instead, you get a winner in a single high turnout election. This saves money and reduces campaign finance needs.
In RCV elections, candidates will ask for your first choice support and also your backup choices. This encourages candidates to reach beyond their traditional base of supporters. Candidates who have run and won in RCV elections have been successful because of coalition building and effective relationship building with all voters.
RCV makes elections more fair and representative because you always get to vote your favorite first. This allows you to vote for your true preference based on your hopes and values, instead of the fear of “splitting the vote” among candidates you like from the same community.
DIRECTOR, FAIRVOTE NEW MEXICO
Born and raised in Ecuador, Maria Perez immigrated to the United States in the 1990s to pursue a B.S. in Biology and later a M.S. in Chinese medicine. She has crafted a career guided by her passion to address social disparities. With 18 years of experience working on equity and equitable policy, she is a seasoned organizer, facilitator, health care practitioner, advocate, coalition builder and a firm believer in the power of people coming together to address complex social problems.
Before joining FairVote, Maria worked on place-based health equity initiatives in the Bay Area, where she supported collaborative groups in planning and implementing campaigns around issues of health access, education, economic opportunity, and housing.
As a health care practitioner and advocate, Maria spent over ten years serving uninsured and underinsured populations. She is also a former health educator, having served in faculty and curriculum development roles for community health workers and Chinese medicine students. Maria spent several years deeply involved with Affordable Care Act outreach, education and enrollment, and legislative work in the state of New Mexico.
DO YOU WANT TO SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY?
YOU CAN START BY DEFENDING IT LOCALLY, HERE IN SANTA FE!
FAIRVOTE NEW MEXICO NEEDS YOUR HELP!
WHAT IS RANKED CHOICE VOTING?
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a simple, yet powerful change we can make to give voters a stronger voice in our elections. Voters are given the freedom to rank candidates in order of choice--first, second, and third, instead of just picking one. All first choices are counted, and if a candidate has a majority, then they win, just like any other election. However, if nobody has a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and those voters have their ballot instantly count for their next choice. This process continues until a candidate receives a majority of votes, and is declared the winner. Ranked Choice Voting promotes fairness, eliminates the split-vote, and foster civil elections.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN SANTA FE?
In 2008, Ranked Choice Voting was approved by Santa Fe Voters. However, RCV has not been implemented because the adequate voting equipment has not been available, UNTIL NOW. We now have a chance to ensure that our next municipal elections are run with Ranked Choice Voting, as per the will of the voters! By implementing RCV in Santa Fe, New Mexico will be joining states like California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota that have cities using Ranked Choice Voting.
The city clerk needs to make a decision within the next few weeks whether she will run a RCV election next March. She will be putting the issue to the City Council for discussion next Wednesday, June 28th.
It is important that Council members from all districts know that Santa Fe voters are ready for Ranked Choice Voting implementation, and aware that there is no reason to postpone implementation given the fact that the adequate voting equipment is available.
WHO TO CONTACT?
You can call your city council members by phone between now and Wednesday June 28th. You can also call the Mayor’s office. Additionally, it would be great if you can show up to City Council next Wednesday June 28th for public comment (Agenda for the meeting will be coming out this Friday. Once that is out we can let you know what time to show up that evening).
WHAT TO SAY?
When you call your council member, whether you reach them directly or reach their voice mail, you can say something like this (A similar message can be shared with the Mayor’s office):
My name is ___________ and I live in your district. I am calling today to ask you to support the implementation of Ranked Choice Voting for our next municipal elections. Santa Fe voters approved Ranked Choice Voting in 2008. It hasn’t been implemented yet because the adequate voting equipment hasn’t been available. Now the equipment is available and it will be ready to run a Ranked Choice Voting election. There is no reason why the city should not honor the voters’ will for our next election. We want fairer and more civil elections. Please support Ranked Choice Voting when the issue comes up for discussion at City Council meetings!
Thank you so much!
Councilor Villarreal (505) 955-2345
Councilor Lindell (505) 955 6812
Councilor Maestas (505) 955-6815
Councilor Ives (505) 955-6816
Councilor Dominguez (505) 955-6814
Councilor Rivera (505) 955-6818
Councilor Trujillo (505) 955-6811
Councilor Harris (505) 955-6817
Mayor Gonzales (505) 955-6590