Santa Fe’s mayor and city councilors said Monday they voted unanimously during a closed-door meeting to prepare to use ranked-choice voting in the 2018 municipal election while deciding 5-4 to simultaneously appeal a recent court order forcing the system into place. The dramatic council meeting appeared to at once conclude the legal wrangling over whether the city would use the ranking system in March, while also carving out the possibility that the state’s highest court could reopen the issue before Election Day.
Councilors, after emerging from a two-hour private deliberative session, made the unusual move to disclose the consensus they had reached in executive session. Mayor Javier Gonzales announced the 9-0 decision to move forward with ranked-choice for the March election — and was drowned out by applause from a council chambers packed with supporters of the plan.
“We need to hold on,” Gonzales said, quieting the crowd.
Gonzales went on: A narrow majority of councilors had decided to ask the state Supreme Court to review District Judge David Thomson’s order compelling the city to implement the new system, which Santa Fe voters nine years ago approved as a city charter amendment.