Skip to Content

Palm Desert to use ranked choice voting for upcoming city council election

Palm Desert

The city of Palm Desert is introducing ranked choice voting for its elections, starting in November.

Ranked Choice Voting is a method that allows voters to rank candidates in order of choice. It's used in statewide in Maine and Alaska. It's also used Nationwide ranked choice voting is used in more than 50 cities, like Oakland and San Francisco.

This year, Palm Desert voters in District 2 will elect two members of the City Council using Ranked Choice Voting.

District 2 voters will rank City Council candidates by preference on their ballots.

In 2024, Palm Desert voters within District 1 will elect one member of the City Council and voters in District 2 will elect two members of the City Council with Ranked Choice Voting.  

“Palm Desert residents have seen big changes in the voting process with California’s statewide vote-by-mail shift to our new district-based electoral system. Now, we are implementing Ranked Choice Voting, so we want to ensure our residents have access to information so they can effectively participate in this process,” said Anthony Mejia, City Clerk for the City of Palm Desert. 

The city launched VotePalmDesert.org to answer questions about how this process will work.

Why did our elections change to use Ranked Choice Voting?

"In 2019, the Palm Desert City Council settled a California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) challenge related to the method of electing members to the City Council. As part of the settlement, the City Council agreed to transition to a two district electoral system using Ranked Choice Voting, contingent upon the County of Riverside Register of Voters confirming their ability to tabulate ranked choice voting ballots. Due to other changes in election law, the Registrar of Voters upgraded their voting equipment and now stands capable to tabulate Ranked Choice Voting ballots."

How does Ranked Choice Voting work for District 1?

"In District 1, voters will elect one (1) member to the City Council by ranking their preferred candidates. To win, a candidate must earn more than 50% of the votes cast. If no candidate has more than 50% in the first round, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated and voters who picked that candidate as their 1st choice would have their votes go to their next choice. The process will continue until one candidate has more than 50% of the votes."

How does Ranked Choice Voting work for District 2?

"In District 2, voters will elect two (2) members of the City Council by ranking their preferred candidates. To win, a candidate must earn more than 33% of the votes cast. If no candidate has enough votes to win in the first round, then the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated and voters who picked that candidate as a 1st choice would have their votes go to their next choice. The process will continue until two candidates earn more than 33%.

If a candidate earns more votes than they need to be elected, but not all seats have been filled, any extra votes count proportionally toward voters’ next choices. For example, if a candidate receives 10% more 1st choice votes than what was needed to win, then each voter who ranked that candidate as a 1st choice would have 10% of their vote count toward their next choice."

How do I fill out my ballot using Ranked Choice Voting?

"When filling out your ballot, you will rank candidates in order of preference. Your 1st choice is your favorite candidate, your 2nd, 3rd, etc. choices are back ups in case your favorite candidate doesn’t have enough support to win.:

Palm Desert voters will be the first in Riverside County to use Ranked Choice Voting to elect members to the City Council. 

The city has planned to rollout a vigorous community education plan to ensure that Palm Desert voters understand Ranked Choice Voting.

VotePalmDesert.org serves as the first step in those plans, with additional print and digital communications to follow.

City Clerk Meija urges community organizations interested in Ranked Choice Voting to reach out to him for a presentation at one of their upcoming meetings. 

Be the first to know when news breaks in Coachella Valley. Download the News Channel 3 app here.

Article Topic Follows: Your Vote

Jesus Reyes

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION

News Channel 3 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content