Santa Fe City Attorney and City Clerk Are Stalling Despite Court Order and 9-0 Vote from Council to Proceed with RCV
From multiple highly credible sources I have been been told that the City Attorney and City Clerk are resisting efforts to implement RCV and are in a highly contentious relationship with the Dominion, the software provider who is offering technical support to the City to jump start its planning for RCV. While the Mayor left a message for me on Thursday night, three calls to reach him to clarify the situation have not been returned. I am told that while the situation has not reached a total crisis, the situation is not being managed well, at all, so much so that the Secretary of State and Director of NM Elections are asking for an emergency meeting with the Mayor, City Attorney and City Clerk. It is time to call our Mayor and our City Council and insist they respect the voters will, withdraw the Supreme Court appeal and begin implementing RCV aggressively. Clearly, this is not being handled well at all. Contact info is provided at the end of this page. Below is more from the Santa Fe New Mexican, excoriating the City for its failure to heed the voters will.
On Saturday, the Santa Fe New Mexican published an excellent Op-Ed in which it laid out the history behind RCV and the City’s bungling of its implementation. From the Op-Ed: “In the nine years since the charter amendment passed, no City Council or mayor — and there has been a rotating cast — bothered to help lay the foundation for what would happen once voting machines were equipped with the necessary technology. The council did not approve ordinances spelling out how Santa Fe would go about counting ballots or otherwise set the parameters for a ranked-choice election. No voter education was done, either, to alert citizens that this measure was on the way.?
The Op-Ed goes on to cite comments from Frank Katz the City Attorney when RCV was adopted by the voters: “The Constitutional Amendment that provided for municipal runoff elections did not impose limits on a home rule municipality’s method of implementing runoff elections.” The New Mexican goes on to report that: “In his formal legal opinion, he noted that the Constitutional Amendment did not: define ‘runoff election,’ restrict the type of runoff, determine what percentage of votes must be achieved, or provide any other details.”
The Op-Ed concludes: “The bottom line: A city that is following the will of the 65 percent of the voters who approved ranked-choice voting should not also be seeking — aggressively — to have the system thrown out. That seems disingenuous at best, especially after city leaders past and present failed to follow through with setting up sensible election procedures. It’s unnecessary to have technology in hand to develop ordinances on how votes will be counted and the like.” Click here to read the Santa Fe New Mexican’s scathing review of the City’s performance on Ranked Choice Voting. Frankly, I am sick of reporting on this. I recall my favorite sign at the Women’s March: “I can’t believe I am still protesting this.” The saga continues.
Your role is clear. Use the contact info below and let the City Council know that you want:
- Pass the RCV ordinance being voted on at 5pm and make sure that the City includes the “continuing ballot” language which ensures a majority plus one vote is achieved through RCV and eliminates the need for the ill-conceived second runoff proposed initially by the Mayor–which he now opposes.
- Direct the City Clerk to immediately contact the Secretary of State, State Director of Elections, and Dominion;
- Convene an emergency City Council meeting to vote again on the legal action appealing the District Court to the Supreme Court and vote to cease legal action;
- Direct the Clerk to report weekly to the Mayor on progress; and
- Ask that the Mayor use the City website to post weekly updates on progress.
Contact info follows.
Below is contact information on all the City Council members and our Mayor.
MAYOR JAVIER GONZALES (505) 955-6590, email@example.com
Kelley Brennan, City Attorney: (505) 955-6511. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Renee Villarreal, District 1 Councilor, (505) 955-2345, email@example.com
- Signe I. Lindell, District 1 Councilor, (505) 955-6812, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joseph Maestas, District 2 Councilor, (505) 955-6815, email@example.com
- Peter Ives, District 2 Councilor, (505) 955-6816, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carmichael Dominguez, District 3 Councilor, (505) 955-6814, email@example.com
- Chris Rivera, District 3 Councilor, (505) 955-6818, firstname.lastname@example.org