SANTA FE – The New Mexico Supreme Court Friday gave Santa Fe city government until Sept. 15 to respond to a petition that seeks an order requiring that Santa Fe being using ranked-choice voting starting with its municipal elections in March.
City voters approved a change to ranked-choice voting in 2008, but the city charter amendment gave the city leeway until appropriate vote-counting software was available at “a reasonable price.” A company is offers software for only $40,000, but a council majority decided it came too late for implementation and education of city voters in time the 2018 elections.
The leader of FairVote New Mexico and three others filed the petition before the Supreme Court earlier this week.
Ranked-choice voting, also called “instant runoff,” would be utilized when a race includes more than two candidates. Voters rank their choices among candidates by order of preference. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the first-ranked votes in an initial tabulation, the last-place candidate is dropped and the second choices of those who voted for the last-place candidate are counted as votes for the remaining candidates. That process continues until one of the contenders receives a majority.