The Santa Fe City Council on Wednesday will consider two new proposals related to the March 6 municipal election, which a district court judge last month ordered to be conducted using the ranked-choice voting method. One would create a new section in the city’s election ordinance that calls for a runoff election between the top two voter-getters if no one receives a majority of all votes cast, a possibility despite ranked-choice voting’s description as an “instant runoff.” The other amends the city’s public campaign financing ordinance to allow surplus funds to be used on a public education campaign about ranked-choice voting (RCV).
Both proposals are being introduced by Mayor Javier Gonzales and can only win quick approval during the run-up to the election if the City Council agrees to waive a rule that requires new legislation to go through a committee review process, which is also on the agenda Wednesday night.
City voters in 2008 approved an amendment to the city charter that calls for municipal elections to be conducted using RCV, which asks voters to rank candidates in order of preference. If no one gets a majority of first-place votes in an initial tally, the second-place rankings of voters for the last-place candidate are distributed to other candidates. The process continues in however many rounds are necessary to get a majority winner.