DEFEATED BY RANKED-CHOICE VOTING, HE’S NOW LEADING THE CHARGE TO STOP IT FROM SPREADING
By Steven Tavares
Tony Santos is finally victorious. No, a bundle of ballots were not found at the Marina. But the former San Leandro mayor who was upset by Stephen Cassidy last November during the city’s first-ever use of ranked-choice voting and now waging a campaign to discredit the system gained his first scalp Tuesday night as voters in Fort Collins, Colo. overwhelmingly voted against approval of the multiple-choice system.
Santos claimed victory after results of the April election in Colorado returned 61 percent of over 27,000 votes against enacting ranked-choice voting. The former mayor fought critics in San Leandro who called his reversal of opinion on the system after losing to Cassidy to be sour grapes. Santos said back in December that outside groups who pushed San Leandro, Oakland and Berkeley to approve RCV misrepresented its attributes. He now calls RCV “undemocratic.”
Over the past few months, Santos has made numerous phone calls to opponents of RCV in Minnesota, Hawaii and Fort Collins, including newspaper interviews and letters to various city councils. In a letter to The Coloradoan, Santos said RCV allows some voters more than one shot at determining a winner. “It gives some voters another bite of the apple,” he wrote.
It’s not known whether Santos’ personal experience with RCV in San Leandro swayed voters in Colorado to reject the voting system, but he knows one thing for sure: “The voters of Fort Collins know Cassidy didn’t receive 50 percent of the vote.”
So, it’s on to Honolulu for Santos, who returns to his native state to defend the island later this year against ranked-choice voting and an invasion of foreign ballot machines.