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Ranked Choice Voting Leads to Diverse Representation for our LGBTQ+ Community

Apr 16, 2024

Santa Clara LGBTQ+ leaders speak out

Map of California cities using RCV

As we have talked to voters in Santa Clara County, some have asked whether Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) leads to more elected representation for the LGBTQ+ Community. The data shows that RCV does lead to more LGBTQ+ candidates being elected into office.

How does changing our elections help elect more LGBTQ+ candidates? It’s simple: RCV makes it easier for nontraditional candidates to run and win. LGBTQ+ candidates face no penalty when running against others of the same sexual orientation or gender identity – no more “splitting the vote” within the LGBTQ+ community. RCV also lets us get rid of the primary, with its older, more conservative, and less diverse electorate, and elect majority winners in the high-turnout election in November.

RCV has led to more LGBTQ+ people being elected into office across the country, regardless of that region’s political ideology. Salt Lake City, in the heart of conservative Utah, used RCV for the first time for their City Council elections in 2021. RCV enabled Salt Lake City’s voters to elect a history-making Council with a super-majority of minority representation. 4 of 7 Councilmembers are openly LGBTQ+ and another 4 of 7 are people of color. In 2021, progressive New York City elected its first 3 lesbian women of color to its City Council.

Locally, BAYMEC’s Board of Directors has enthusiastically endorsed Ranked Choice Voting for Santa Clara County. As Executive Board Secretary Allie Hughes notes, “BAYMEC endorsed Ranked Choice Voting because it removes barriers to entry for candidates from underrepresented communities. By leveling the playing field, RCV has led to more LGBTQ+ folks being elected, increasing the queer community’s representation.”

We hope that you will stand with BAYMEC and the California RCV Coalition and support Ranked Choice Voting for Santa Clara County!

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