Ranked Choice Voting in Santa Fe: Approved in 2008. Implemented Only If You Act NOW

If you know enough about RCV, skip to the bottom for speaking points and the Councilors targeted for input. Let’s Retake Our Democracy! And whatever you do come to the City Council Meeting, Wednesday, July 26 at 7pm and bring friends, lots of friends. This is important and it will take an hour of your time.

WHAT IS RANKED CHOICE VOTING? Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a simple, yet powerful change we can make to give voters a stronger voice in our elections. Voters are given the freedom to rank candidates in order of choice–first, second, and third, instead of just picking one. All first choices are counted, and if a candidate has a majority, then they win, just like any other election. However, if nobody 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. Ranked Choice Voting promotes fairness, eliminates the split-vote, and fosters more civil elections.

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN SANTA FE?  In 2008, Ranked Choice Voting was approved by Santa Fe Voters. However, RCV has not been implemented because the adequate voting equipment has not been available, UNTIL NOW. We now have a chance to ensure that our next municipal elections are run with Ranked Choice Voting, as per the will of the voters! By implementing RCV in Santa Fe, New Mexico will be joining states like California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota that have cities using Ranked Choice Voting.

The city clerk needs to make a decision within the next few weeks whether she will run a RCV election next March. At the June 28 meeting Councilors Lindell, Harris, Rivera and Trujillo voted to stop plans to implement Ranked Choice in our next municipal elections in March 2018, despite assurances from the Secretary of State’s office that the certification process could be completed in plenty of time to prepare for that election and despite Councilors Villarreal and Maestas and the Mayor suggesting that a motion to conditionally approve moving forward, pending certification being completed by October 1. This idea fell on deaf ears and the motion to stop the process was passed 4-3.

Subsequent to that vote, Councilors have been receiving continuous calls and emails (thank you team) and at the July 12 meeting, Councilor Maestas asked that the motion be reconsidered on Wednesday, July 26 when the Secretary of State will present an argument for proceeding with the plan to implement.

It is important that Council members from all districts know that Santa Fe voters are ready for Ranked Choice Voting implementation, and aware that there is no reason to postpone implementation given the fact that the adequate voting equipment is available.  Click here for more information on FairVote the group organizing the effort.

WHO TO CONTACT? You can call your city council members by phone between now and Wednesday July 26th. Additionally, it would be great if you can show up to City Council next Wednesday July 26th for public comment. The agenda for the meeting will be coming out the Friday, prior. Once that is out we can let you know what time to show up that evening. We are focusing our efforts on Councilors Rivera, Ives, and Dominquez, but since we have so many supporters in District I, we ask those of you in that District to let Councilor Lindell know how you feel about her vote to stop RCV.

WHAT TO SAY? When you call your council member, whether you reach them directly or reach their voice mail, you can say something like this (A similar message can be shared with the Mayor’s office): I suggest that you customize your message so you are not clearly reading off of a script.

Hello Councilor_________,

My name is ___________ and I live in your district. I am calling (and emailing) today to ask you to support the implementation of Ranked Choice Voting for our next municipal elections. Santa Fe voters approved Ranked Choice Voting in 2008. Please be courteous. Anger is both not appropriate and ineffective.

  • It hasn’t been implemented yet because the adequate voting equipment hasn’t been available.
  • Now the equipment is available and it will be ready to run a Ranked Choice Voting election.
  • The SOS has assured us that the certification will be complete in plenty of time for March 2018
  • There is no reason why the city should not honor the voters’ will for our next election.
  • Indeed, the Charter mandates that now that the equipment and software are in place, the City MUST implement RCV.
  • We want fairer and more civil elections. Please support Ranked Choice Voting when the issue comes up for discussion at City Council meetings!

Thank you so much!

Below is contact information on all the City Council members and our Mayor.

MAYOR JAVIER GONZALES (505) 955-6590, jmgonzales@santafenm.gov

District 1.

  • Renee Villarreal, District 1 Councilor, (505) 955-2345, rdvillarreal@santafenm.gov
  • Signe I. Lindell, District 1 Councilor, (505) 955-6812, silindell@santafenm.gov
    • We have a ton of supporters in District 1, so let Lindell know how you feel….respectfully….but call and email and let her know you are a District one resident.

District 2.

  • Joseph Maestas, District 2 Councilor, (505) 955-6815, jmmaestas@santafenm.gov
  • Peter Ives, District 2 Councilor, (505) 955-6816, pnives@santafenm.gov
    • Absent last meeting and said to be on the fence. We need his vote. If you live in District 2, let him know and that, if true that you have voted for him in the past. Ives is a good guy and may likely support this with respectful pressure from constituents.

District 3

  • Carmichael Dominguez, District 3 Councilor, (505) 955-6814, cadominguez@santafenm.gov
    • I am told that Dominquez may not be attending this meeting and he has missed the last few meetings, but it is worth contacting him if you live in his district as he is said to generally favor RCV.
  • Chris Rivera, District 3 Councilor, (505) 955-6818, cmrivera@santafenm.gov
    • This is another key Councilor as at the initial meeting when the vote was taken, he was clearly on the fence. A presentation by the SOS and pressure from constituents may get him to switch and approve moving forward.  If you are not from District 3, look at the map below and if you know folks who do, call them and ask them to act.

District 4–Don’t bother.


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