Almost a decade has passed since Santa Fe voters overwhelmingly voted to adopt ranked choice voting (RCV) for all elections, a charter amendment to uphold majority rule and encourage cleaner campaigns.
But RCV has yet to be implemented. In the past, there were technical barriers that would have created additional burdens on the city clerk. But now, those barriers have been removed.
On Wednesday, June 28th, Santa Fe City Council voted 4-3 to delay ranked choice voting once again and did so with only a three-day notice of their discussion, without allowing any public comment and with two members of the council absent from the vote.
The city council acted despite New Mexico’s Secretary of State, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, assuring the city that the state’s voting equipment vendor is on target to have a certified system in place this year, long before the March 2018 elections.
The council acted over the strong objections from Mayor Javier Gonzales and Councilors Renee Villarreal and Joseph Maestas. Mayor Javier Gonzales, after winning with less than 50 percent of the vote, has consistently supported respecting Santa Fe voters. In 2014, Gonzales said, “It’s important that people running for office have a mandate to lead, and the only way that can be achieved is through ranked voting where the ultimate winner has the support of a majority of the electorate.”
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I support ranked choice voting in Santa Fe elections. It’s time for the Santa Fe City Council to respect voters and uphold the law. It is unacceptable to rush this decision, deny public comment, silence the opinions of two councilors and expose the city to an expensive lawsuit.
The people Santa Fe made their voice heard by supporting RCV in 2008, now the Santa Fe City Council must allow the full council to vote after a process of fostering real deliberation with public comment.