It’s double overtime for the ranked-choice voting case that might turn the city of Santa Fe’s 2018 election on its head. After a daylong hearing Tuesday, state District Court Judge David Thomson said he would rule Wednesday morning on a petition brought by a group of advocates who want to force the city to use the long-delayed ranking mechanism in March, when voters will choose a full-time mayor. The state’s top election officials say the ranked-choice software module is ready. City attorneys, however, say it’s too late to change the rules — and dropped in the curveball argument Tuesday that a ranked-choice election might violate the state constitution.
Thomson said he needed to review testimony from Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, state Elections Director Kari Fresquez and Steven Bennett, a representative of New Mexico’s election software provider, before issuing his decision, which could transform the five-way race for mayor and two City Council contests, which have three candidates apiece.
Toulouse Oliver, Fresquez and Bennett all said Tuesday that the ranked-choice module has been certified by the state and will be included in the voting software system to be used in all elections statewide next year.