Voices & Choices

Santa Cruz charter commission marks first step toward electoral reform

Santa Cruz charter commission marks first step toward electoral reform

Ranked choice voting could come to Santa Cruz under a charter amendment committee created by the City Council on Tuesday.

The 13-member citizen committee -- seven seats to be chosen by the seven council members plus six at-large representatives -- will be charged with reviewing a series of long-discussed changes to city elections: creating council voting districts, upping council member wages and a ranked choice voting system.

The push for ranked choice voting gained traction in Santa Cruz after the last presidential and city council election through a grassroots campaign known as Yes on Ranked Choice! Though the group’s effort to secure a 2018 ballot measure on ranked choice voting proved unsuccessful, the charter amendment committee gives new hope to their cause.

Ranked choice voting offers similar benefits for reflective representation, while also boosting voter turnout and preventing the so-called “spoiler” effect of third-party candidates, as research has shown. We hope the citizen charter amendment committee will use its power to help push for these much-needed reforms.

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