| Las Cruces Sun-News Editorial Staff | The Deming Headlight |

In 2018, the Las Cruces City Council instituted ranked choice voting , beginning with the municipal races in November 2019, and that decision rankled many in our community leading to a host of questions post-election.

Bottom line: RCV works, and as you become more comfortable with its nuance, you might come to prefer this power at the polls.

We’ve heard from many residents that there should have been a community referendum on whether to proceed with RCV rather than that choice being made by seven representatives. We agree.

Elections are the bedrock of our democracy and we should all have had a voice in whether to disturb that foundation.

Santa Fe had a referendum and citizens approved RCV. But it Albuquerque and Las Cruces, it never went to citizens to decide. Albuquerque’s city council voted it down while Las Cruces’ council decided to adopt the election voting method.

Call for a referendum in Las Cruces if you want. And then, Las Cruces residents, we implore you to vote yes because RCV works. Now, let’s debunk some myths and figure out where we go from here.

First, RCV is not without flaws. It may not even be better than the system it replaced. But it’s cheaper. Let’s start there.

RCV can also be called instant run-off. Maybe its biggest benefit to society is that it eliminates the need for a run-off election, which in Las Cruces is about $100,000 a pop. Want less government spending? RCV should be your first choice as an election system.

Two of the largest criticisms we’ve heard post-election pertain to the 10-candidate mayor’s race . Some claim 1,598 voters were disenfranchised and there’s also a claim that incumbent Mayor Ken Miyagishima didn’t get 50 percent of the overall vote. Valid questions, but upon scrutiny, each of those claims falls apart.

In Las Cruces, 1,598 voters didn’t mark a bubble for either Miyagishima or Bill Mattiace, who were the top two vote-getters. These voters didn’t have a say in the final round of RCV. And that’s OK. They had an opportunity to vote for either candidate but chose not to. Maybe the issue was one of RCV education.

Moving forward, residents should know: You can rank as many candidates as you like, but the only way to guarantee you will have a vote in every possible run-off is to vote for all candidates, minus one.

Too complicated? Maybe. Vote for the girl (or guy) that you like and move on. That’s an option, too.

The case for Miyagishima getting fewer than 50 percent of the vote goes like this: In the final round, he got 6,808 votes. There were 13,975 votes cast in the mayor’s race. That’s 48.7 percent. So, how did he get elected? There were 1,598 voters we know didn’t vote for him or Mattiace, so those ballots didn’t factor into the final round. Take out those ballots, and Miyagishima got 55 percent of the vote.

Two things: 1) That’s how RCV works. 2) Any voter who grayed in a circle for Miyagishima in essence voted for him. We bet that happened a lot on the 5,553 ballots that ended up going to Mattiace in the final round. So, if Miyagishima got a vote anywhere on at least 3.2 percent of those 5,553 ballots, then he did get a vote on more than 50 percent of ballots cast.

Too complicated? Maybe. That’s why you should have had a choice in whether to institute RCV.

But complicated does not mean corrupt.

Bottom line: RCV works, and as you become more comfortable with its nuance, you might come to prefer this power at the polls.

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