Santa Fe is set to become the first city in New Mexico to use ranked-choice voting after a state district court judge ruled that the city can’t postpone implementation of the election system any longer now that appropriate vote-counting software is ready to go. Attorneys for the city said after Wednesday’s court hearing that it would be up to policy makers — the City Council — to decide whether to appeal the decision. Santa Fe voters approved a change to ranked choice voting, also known as “instant runoff,” nine years ago, but it has never been used. A group of Santa Feans sued after the City Council decided in July to delay implementing ranked-choice until 2020 due to concerns that software would not be ready for the 2018 campaign and more time was needed to educate voters about the voting method.
Maria Perez of FairVote New Mexico, a nonpartisan group that advocates for ranked-choice voting, was one of the petitioners who went to court.
“I think that Judge (David) Thomson’s decision is a victory for the voters of Santa Fe, who have been waiting for this for almost 10 years. It’s also a victory for democracy in New Mexico,” she said.