Albuquerque Beware: Don’t Let Battle Over Local Election Thresholds Plunge Your City into the Nightmare of Ranked Choice Voting

July 11, 2024


Danny Snyder


Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is attempting to seize on a current disagreement between the Albuquerque City Council and the Albuquerque Mayor, Tim Keller, to push New Mexico’s largest city into adopting a favorite election tool of the radical left known as “Ranked Choice Voting.”

Currently, the City of Albuquerque requires its mayor and city council members to be elected by a 50 percent majority or greater. When there are three or more candidates in a race, it is possible that none of the candidates will get 50 percent of the vote on the first round, making a subsequent runoff election between the top two candidates necessary before the race is decided.

On June 17th, Albuquerque City Council voted 6-3 to put a measure on the November ballot that would remove the 50 percent threshold required to win an election and make the majority vote-receiver the automatic winner without a runoff election. Mayor Keller vetoed the measure, saying that it would “remove a level of accountability our constituents deserve.” If a councilor could be elected by a small minority of voters, they might feel they have a small responsibility to act in the interest of their entire constituency.

Secretary of State Oliver, who has no jurisdiction over the City of Albuquerque, sent a letter to Mayor Keller and the nine City Councilors on the matter. Talking out of both sides of her mouth, she appears to support the mayor’s position by stating, “Changing the city’s election system to one where a candidate can be elected with a minority of votes is a big step in the wrong direction.” But then she pivots and pitches “Ranked Choice Voting” as the solution that would be the perfect compromise and solve everyone’s objections. She then states a blatant lie: “Ranked Choice Voting ensures that the winner of the race is elected by a majority of voters.”

The City Council previously shot down a proposed ordinance that would have instituted Ranked Choice Voting in Albuquerque through an ordinance with a decisive 3 to 6 vote.

What is Ranked Choice Voting?

Ranked choice voting (RCV) is the one of many election innovations being pushed by radical leftist organizations that are good for the politically elite, but bad for the voter, and worse for election transparency. A few years ago, ranked choice voting was only used in a handful of cities nationwide, including Las Cruces and Santa Fe. It has since grown to infect 27 states at varying levels – with Alaska and Maine being the only states using RCV for statewide, general elections. Alaska instituted RCV in 2020 and there is already a ballot measure to repeal it that will be decided in this November’s general election.

As usual, the crowd promoting RCV claim that it is good for “democracy” and “access to the ballot box.” They claim RCV gives voters more choices as they get to rank all the candidates on their ballot. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote based on the first choices of all the ballots, then the candidate who had the least number of first-choice votes gets dropped and has their votes redistributed to the other candidates until a candidate emerges with more than 50 percent of the vote.

This “automatic runoff” is where the process gets murky and loses most people. The average voter has no idea how their ballot choices are processed by the RCV software, and they will never know who their vote ended up going to.

RCV disenfranchises the public because it requires strategic voting that people typically do not understand. What might seem like a logical way to rank choices to the voter can lead to their least-preferred candidate being selected contrary to their intuition. This video explains the confusing ranked choice voting process starting at timestamp 1:11:

The video also shows that with RCV, most voters can list a choice among their bottom two choices, but that choice can still win the election. Meaning that Secretary Oliver’s statement claiming the “Ranked Choice Voting ensures that the winner of the race is elected by a majority of voters” is verifiably false.

Here is another explanation of RCV in graphic form that describes how the “automatic runoff” violates the premise of “one person, one vote,” which is a cornerstone of our democratic republic:

Credit: Election Education

The process is complicated further when candidates of different political persuasions are voted on by all voters during “non-partisan” municipal elections. With their superior knowledge of how the automatic runoff process works, the politically astute can game ranked choice elections against the public. In other words, minority parties and unpopular candidates that would lose in a traditional election can game the system to accumulate more votes to themselves and the public will not understand how it happened.

If the system counting votes doesn’t accurately measure intent of the voters in a way they can understand, then it is not an election system. The Estancia News reported previously that RCV software is installed on all election machines statewide despite its being illegal under federal law. Why did Secretary Oliver illegally install this software in every voting machine? And why is she pushing to expand its use?

It would be very difficult to perform a manual audit of a ranked choice election because it requires a computer program to move votes around during the automatic runoff process as lowest-ranked choices are eliminated and votes are given to other candidates. Dominion Voting Systems does not make its source code available for examination despite many calls for them to do so, and there is no reason to believe they will be any more open about their source code for their RCV software.

If citizens doubt the outcome of their RCV election, they have no recourse to check the results for themselves but must permanently rely on software that they are not allowed to scrutinize. Who in their right mind would agree to such a thing?

The public must reject RCV because it is not a true election system if voters do not understand where their vote is going. Ranked choice voting is good only for the political elite who can easily strategize candidate placement to defeat the will of the public.

Written by Danny Snyder