FairVote New Mexico Director Maria Perez sat down with New Mexico in Focus to discuss what voters need to know about their upcoming ranked choice choice voting (RCV) election in March.
The conversation with Producer Sarah Gustavas touched on how RCV gives voters more choice and a stronger voice in elections. For the first time, Santa Feans will be able to rank candidates in order of preference. When the votes are tallied, if a candidate wins with a majority (50 percent + 1) they win. If no one 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.
Perez said there is a robust voter education effort underway, and it’s doesn’t always feel like a civics class. To that end, Perez has been reaching out to local businesses that could hold mock elections and give Santa Fe voters an opportunity to get familiar with a ranking ballot without worrying about candidates. For example on Feb. 8, Santa Fe’s Second Street Brewery is holding a Rank Your Brew event which aims to be fun and informative.
FairVote New Mexico is working with Santa Fe city officials to prepare for the upcoming March 6 election and Perez is urging citizens to register to vote if they haven’t already. Absentee voting starts on January 30th and early voting starts in mid February.
“Ranked choice voting is easy,” Perez said. “And, remember to rank all the candidates. Ranking second, third, fourth and fifth candidates will never hurt your favorite candidate.”