Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)

NMOE believes Ranked Choice Voting is the ideal voting system for New Mexico and its municipalities. Currently, RCV is used in Sante Fe and Las Cruces where voters approve of it, like it, and find it easy to do. Our current voting technology would be able to manage RCV and there are no legal barriers to RCV except passing it. Here's why we advocate for Ranked Choice Voting:

  • Increases Voter Participation: When voters are able to fully express their preferences, voter turnout also tends to increase. Studies have shown that turnout in elections using RCV increased by ten percent, even after accounting for other factors.
  • Saves Time and Money: RCV saves time and money for jurisdictions by eliminating the need for costly runoff elections. Runoff elections are not only extremely costly but also less representative. Runoff elections tend to have low and unbalanced turnout resulting in the selection of candidates who may not actually reflect voter preferences.
  • Avoids the Spoiler Effect: With RCV, voters do not have to worry about strategically voting for candidates that they do not like in order to avoid “throwing away” or splitting their vote. If candidate B is the voter’s favorite choice, people can vote for B without fear that their vote will be “wasted.”   
  • Reduces Negative Campaign Tactics: RCV forces candidates to abandon negative campaign tactics because candidates not only need the first choice votes of their supporters, but also the second and third choice votes from voters who prefer other candidates. Studies have shown that jurisdictions with RCV have experienced friendlier campaigns and majority support in the cities using it.
  • Equitable Representation: RCV elections allow a larger spectrum of voters to elect their candidates of choice. In RCV elections, minority communities and communities with a diversity of backgrounds can elect candidates of choice. This in turn can lead to a more diverse array of candidates. 

Want to learn more about how Ranked Choice Voting works? Visit our friends at Common Cause New Mexico, who show how it could work for us.


Enjoy our 2023 Strengthening Democracy Town Hall presentation on Ranked Choice Voting: