All About Voting

Voting Day is March 6!

Go Vote for Joe on voting day!  Any voter registered in the City of Santa Fe may vote at any one of the following Voting Convenience Centers, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on March 6, 2018:

1.  Montezuma Lodge, 431 Paseo de Peralta
2.  Gonzales Community School, 851 W. Alameda
3.  Salazar Elementary School, 1231 Apache Avenue
4.  Atalaya Elementary School, 721 Camino Cabra
5.  St. John’s United Methodist Church, 1200 Old Pecos Trail
6.  Christian Life Church, 121 Siringo Road
7.  Nina Otero Community School, 5901 Herrera Drive
8.  Sweeney Elementary School, 4100 S. Meadows Road
9.  Southside Library, 6599 Jaguar Drive
10.  Nava Elementary School, 2655 Siringo Road
11.  Kearny Elementary School, 901 Avenida de las Campanas
12.  Genoveva Chavez Community Center, 3221 Rodeo Road

But don’t wait until then…VOTE EARLY! 

Ranked Choice Voting(RCV) is new this election cycle (see below).  RCV may take more time at the polls – all the more reason to Go Vote Early for Joe!

Early voting starts February 14 and ends March 2.  It’s fast and easy, on your schedule, and you don’t have to worry that you might not make it on voting day.

Two choices for early voting:

  1. The Office of the City Clerk, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.
  2. The Genoveva Chavez Community Center, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 am to 6 pm, except the last day of early voting, March 2, polls will close at 5:00 pm.

Not registered to vote in the City yet?  Need to change your registration to your new address?

You have until February 6!  Visit the City Clerk’s election site to see details: https://www.santafenm.gov/election_-_march_6_2018_regular_municipal_election

All about… Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is officially here.  The NM Supreme Court upheld a ordinance passed in 2008 to implement RCV for City of Santa Fe elections.

“Ranked Choice” means that voters can rank the candidates by preference on the ballot.

RCV is also called “Instant Runoff Voting” because it purports to eliminate the need for a separate runoff election to ensure that the candidate who wins has at least 50% support from the voters.

The City has developed a website on RCV and voting for this election – votedifferentsantafe.com .  Below is our brief discussion of RCV, based on attending RCV workshops and communicating with the City and voters.

How does it work?

Let’s say there’s Candidate A, B, and C in a race, and the first round of voting turned out as follows:

A – 35% of the first-choice votes
B – 33% of the first-choice votes
C – 32% of the first-choice votes

In our previous system, Candidate A would be declared the winner.  We did not previously have a provision for a runoff election amongst the top two candidates, so whoever had the most votes won.

With RCV, Candidate C gets eliminated (they came in last place), and their voters’ second choices get distributed among A and B depending on who Candidate C’s voters chose for their second choice.  Maybe Candidate C’s voters tended to prefer Candidate B, maybe they were fairly evenly split, it depends on the voters’ choices.

Once Candidate C’s second-choices are distributed, either Candidate A or B should come out ahead with more than 50% support from the voters.

The same process applies with more than three candidates, but the computer programs designed for RCV repeat the process with the bottom ranked candidates until one of the top-ranked candidates achieves over 50% of support.

To rank, or not to rank, that is the question.

The way RCV is designed, it works best if everyone ranks their choices by preference.  However, there may be cases where it’s a conscious personal decision not to rank your vote.

Many people are talking about only voting for their first choice candidate.  That is a conscious decision to make when you know the qualities of the candidates and you know for sure that you equally dislike all the other candidates.

But if you have a preference for who you would want to win if your candidate didn’t win, then ranking the candidates is very important.

If you don’t rank your candidates past the first choice, some consider that akin to not “showing up” for an in-person runoff election.

  • When not to rank:  If you dislike the other candidates enough that you would not turn out to vote in the runoff election if your candidate were eliminated, that leads to a personal decision not to rank.
  • Best to rank:  If your candidate didn’t win, and you would choose a preference between the other candidates in an actual runoff, then it is best to rank your choices.

This is still confusing…

If you are still grappling with the concept of RCV, it is a lot like other decisions we make in life where we have a second or third preference – or not.  For example:

  • You’re applying for jobs, and there’s one you really want, but you know which other one you would like if you don’t land your first choice job.  You still need a job no matter what, so you likely would still accept your second or third choice if you didn’t get your first choice. (This is a situation like ranking your vote.)
  • Your favorite restaurant is closed on Mondays, so you might go to your second favorite restaurant (which is like ranking your vote).  But if you don’t have a second favorite restaurant, you may decide not to go out for lunch at all (this is similar to choosing not to rank your vote – if you can’t have your first choice you don’t want anything else).