Politics is tearing our nation apart, preventing solutions on our most pressing issues.
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a proven simple electoral reform that gives you more choice in the voting booth. It ensures fair and efficient elections. In a traditional election, the candidate with the most votes win, even if they do not receive the majority of the votes.
This means voters often feel disengaged and are left to choose between the “lesser of two evils,” or vote for the candidate they feel has the best chance of winning, rather than supporting their favorite candidates.
RCV puts voters first. It puts more power in the hands of voters, where it belongs. When your favorite candidate doesn’t win, your vote will still count for your second choice or third choice, etc. With RCV, your vote has more impact on the outcome of elections. By giving you the option to rank candidates instead of just picking one, the winner will more accurately reflect the will of voters like you. That’s how democracy is supposed to work.
RCV has been in the United States for decades. There are not barriers to RCV under federal law or the U.S. Constitution and is widely used in strongly Republican, Democratic and swing states and cities.
It promotes positive, inclusive and fair elections that encourage a diversity of candidates and save money by eliminating the need for run-off elections.
You also have the option of ranking just one candidate. You do not need to rank multiple candidates if you do not want to.
On Election Night, first choice votes are counted to determine who voters like the best. If a candidate receives a majority of votes, they win. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first-choice rankings is eliminated. If your favorite candidate is eliminated, your vote is instantly counted for your next choice. This repeats until one candidate reaches a majority and wins.
RCV Eliminates “Vote-Splitting”
In RCV elections, you always get to vote for your favorite candidate, even if they don’t have a good chance of winning. If your favorite candidate gets eliminated, then your vote immediately counts for your next choice. You can truly vote your conscience without worrying about wasting your vote. Ranking your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choices will never hurt your favorite candidate. It simply amplifies your voice in the process. We rank our preferences all the time in daily life. It’s just as easy to in the voting booth.
RCV Increases Voter Turnout
Cities that have RCV elections, now including Santa Fe and Las Cruces, have seen a steady increase in voter turnout. Turn out improves with meaningful votes. Both Santa Fe and Las Cruces had significantly higher voter turnout than several previous elections.
RCV Fosters Civil Elections
In RCV elections, candidates often need 2nd and 3rd choice votes to win a majority of the vote. As such, they will ask for your first-choice vote, but if another candidate is your favorite, they will also ask for your second and third choices. Candidates are not likely to get your second or third choice vote if they have been engaging in negative “mudslinging” personal attacks against your favorite candidate.
RCV Eliminates Separate Run-Off Elections
With RCV, you don’t need to show up to vote twice in the event of a runoff. Instead, you get an immediate majority winner in a single, higher-turnout election. This saves money by preventing the need to run a second election.
RCV Promotes More Unity
Our state is at its best when we unite as one, but these days it feels like politics is tearing us apart. RCV helps make sure we all work together for the common good. It opens the door for candidates who put the interests of everyday voters first.
RCV Promotes Diversity (OR Non-Established Candidates to Run)
More women and candidates of color have run and won in elections with RCV voting ballots. It gives all communities fairer representation and opens voters to support candidates with the best ideas, not just a narrow demographic.
Ranked-choice voting is an electoral system that allows people to vote for multiple candidates, in order of preference. Instead of just choosing who you want to win, you fill out the ballot saying who is your first choice, second choice, or third choice (or more as needed) for each position.
The candidate with the majority (more than 50%) of first-choice votes wins outright. If no candidate gets a majority of first-choice votes, a new counting process begins. The candidate who did the worst is eliminated, and that candidate’s voters’ ballots are redistributed to their second-choice pick. In other words, if you ranked a losing candidate as your first choice, and the candidate is eliminated, then your vote still counts: it just moves to your second-choice candidate. That process continues until there is a candidate who has a true majority of votes.
If adopted, it would fundamentally change how New Mexico elections work because the current plurality system doesn’t always reflect the true will of voters. If candidates have similar positions, vote-splitting occurs, resulting in the election of a candidate with less overall popularity. Greater participation in our democracy is highly desirable so that our government is truly constructed “by the people”.
Yes! Santa Fe’s first use of RCV in 2018 set a record for turnout in mayoral elections and 94 percent of Santa Fe, NM voters were satisfied with their first RCV experience and nearly 71 percent supported RCV for future us.
Las Cruces had their highest turnout in at least a decade for their first RCV election in 2019.
85 percent of exit poll respondents said they understood RCV, and a majority said they would support the future use of RCV. To learn more visit https://www.fairvote.org/newmexico#2018_election
Click here to see Santa Fe exit polling and here to see Las Cruces exit polling.
Ranked Choice Voting is easy! Instead of choosing just one candidate, you can rank them all, from your first choice to your fourth.
Find the name of your first choice and completely fill in the oval next to their name in the “1st Choice” column. Then find the name of your second choice and fill in the oval next to their name in the “2nd Choice” column. Continue until you have ranked all the candidates you choose to rank.
To try it out, link here to test a practice ballot.
Ranked-choice voting is proving to be the most promising reform to democratize and depolarize our politics and is gaining support across the country.
In November 2021, 24 cities will use RCV for the first time. When on the ballot in the past five years, RCV has nearly always won, including in Santa Fe and Las Cruces. It has won in two statewide measures, with winning percentages averaging more than 65 precent of the vote in the 10 cities voting on it 2019-2021. The latest wins in 2021 were in Austin, Texas, the nation’s 11th largest city and in Vermont’s largest city of Burlington. Cities in Washington, Colorado and Florida may vote soon to adopt RCV. Pro-RCV legislation https://www.fairvote.org/2021_state_legislation_advancing_ranked_choice_voting was introduced in Congress and 29 states this year, with four bills signed into law.
It may help prevent, polarized election campaigns, increase the number of women and minority candidates running for office, and reduce negative campaigning.
Because it helps eliminate vote-splitting, a ranked-choice voting system can have the effect of encouraging more third-party and centrist candidates.
Since candidates are forced to rely on second and third-place votes in ranked choice elections, negative campaigning is often reduced and, in some cases, eliminated completely.
Winners of RCV races enjoy strong consensus and tend to be ranked highly on many ballots, even beyond the majority needed to be elected.
Leading newspapers, political leaders, electoral reform
commissions, and organizations support ranked choice voting.
Too often candidates are taking office when a majority of voters did NOT cast a ballot for them. RCV promotes electing a candidate who is supported by a true majority of votes, “50% + 1”. Ranked Choice Voting is a form of voting that promotes good government.
More choice, more power!
Even if your favorite candidate doesn’t win, you still have a say in who’s elected.
You can vote your conscience without worrying that you’re wasting your vote or electing a candidate you don’t like.
Ranking a 2nd, 3rd, etc. choice will never hurt your favorite candidate.
To win, a candidate must receive at least a majority of the total votes counted. A majority is 50% of the total, plus one vote.
After all the votes (including absentee and provisional ballots) are in, only first-choice votes are tallied. If no candidate wins a majority based on first-choice votes, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is defeated, and the second choices from each voter whose candidate was defeated are reallocated as if they were first choices.
We repeat the process until one candidate receives 50% of the total, plus one vote.
To start, all first-choice votes are counted. If a candidate gets 50%+1 of first choice votes, they win. Otherwise, ballots are counted in rounds. In each round the candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated. Ballots for that candidate are counted for the voter’s next choice. Rounds continue until one candidate receives 50% of the total, plus one vote and is declared the winner.
If a candidate is marked more than once for the same rank—in other words you fill in more than one oval in the same column, the scanner “voting machine” will ask the voter to correct their ballot and in some cases complete a new ballot.
No. The computer tabulation of the Ranked Choice Voting rounds is almost instantaneous. Any delay in determining the final winner comes from the delays in counting absentee and provisional ballots required by New Mexico State law.
It is virtually impossible to game a Ranked Choice Voting election. Voters are generally able to figure out when a candidate is misleading them to gain an unearned ranking. Other candidates will be sure to set the record straight regarding the deceptive candidate’s real record.
The official winner will not be declared until all votes are counted including early, election day, provisional, and absentee votes. Ranked Choice Voting does not make counting any ballots faster or slower than they were counted before. Once all the ballots have been counted, the Rank Choice Voting tabulation is almost instantaneous.
Unofficial results, including the total number of in-person ballots that ranked each candidate as their top choice will be released on election night.
If no candidate wins a majority in the first round, totals for each round will be released. Ranked Choice Voting does not speed up or slow down counting the ballots.
Tell lawmakers that we want Ranked Choice Voting for fair, efficient elections!