Voices & Choices

Santa Clara, Calif. could adopt ranked choice voting this June

Santa Clara, Calif. could adopt ranked choice voting this June

Santa Clarans will face an important choice in June that would fundamentally change how citizens are represented by the mayor and city council. An amendment to the city’s charter will be on the June ballot to reform the city’s election system, and some former members of the city’s Charter Review Committee are making the case for voters to approve the change.

In a recent op-ed in The San Jose Mercury News, Mary Hanna-Weir, Hosam Haggag and Keith Stattenfield laid out the case why they are calling for proportional representation with ranked choice voting and two multi-member districts.

They write:

“When voters have the power to rank their candidates in order of preference, election results are more fair and representative. Voters always get to vote their favorite first. This allows voters to vote for their true preference based on their hopes and values, rather than fear splitting the vote among candidates from the same communities. Candidates can run to be the first or second choice of voters, and if a candidate can’t win, the second and third choices of voters can help another candidate get elected rather than voters feeling their vote is wasted. Beyond empowering racial and ethnic minorities, ranked-choice voting makes it more likely for ideological minorities to elect the candidates they prefer too….

“Santa Clara faces an important choice in June — whether to transition to a new election system that has the potential to make our local representation more closely reflect the will of the people. Democracy works best when the voices of the people can be heard by their elected officials and where voters feel their votes actually matter. The proposed changes to our local elections, using ranked choice voting and creating two districts with three city council members each, will do just that.”

You can read the full op-ed here.  

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