Ranked Choice Voting: Bringing New York City Together
 

Ranked Choice Voting:
On the NYC Ballot in November!


 
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Ranked Choice Voting will be Question 1!*

Over the last year, RCV:NYC has united a nonpartisan, citywide network of voting rights and election reform advocates, good government groups, and everyday New Yorkers. We demanded the Charter Revision Commission seriously consider Ranked Choice Voting as a substantive reform to our local elections. Thanks to our collective action, they heard us and now it heads to voters for final approval.

We fought hard because our crowded primary and special elections continually produce undemocratic results - winners without majority support from voters. RCV would:

  • Make sure candidates win with a majority of the vote. Candidates will have to reach out to all constituents, not just their base, and therefore create a consensus winner.

  • Save money. The city would save millions by avoiding the occasional, but costly run-off election.

  • Give voters more of a voice. Instead of voting for just one candidate in a primary or special election, New Yorkers can rank their top 5 candidates.

* Question 1 will pair three election-related reforms including RCV + a change to the timing of special elections and a change to the timing of the redistricting of City Council districts.

 
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How does this change voting for New Yorkers if Question 1 (RCV) passes?

Starting in 2021, instead of voting for just one candidate, New Yorkers would be able to rank their top 5 candidates from first to last choice on the ballot in all primary and special elections for Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, Borough President and City Council. If voters still want to vote for just one candidate, they can.

A candidate who collects a majority of the vote, fifty percent plus one, wins. If there’s no majority winner, then the last place candidate will be eliminated and the second choice votes for that candidate are redistributed. The process is repeated until there’s a majority winner.

 
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Why does New York City need Ranked Choice Voting?

Far too often, our primary and special elections produce winners with less than 50% of the vote. In the last three election cycles in New York City, sixty-three percent of multi-candidate primaries were won with less than 50% of the vote, 30% were won with less than 40%, and nearly 10% were won with less than 30%.

This means the majority of our elected officials win their primaries — which virtually guarantees election in November — without majority support in their districts from the primaries. That’s not really democratic representation. This isn’t an abstract concern. In 2021:

  • Over 70% of our local offices will be up for grabs in wide open primaries, as nearly 70% of city council members, every Borough President, the Comptroller, and the Mayor will be term limited out of office.

  • Preliminary projections indicate that over 500 candidates will be competing for 42 open seats in our local elections. That’s an average of 12 candidates per race.

 
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Who supports Ranked Choice Voting in New York City?

Ranked Choice Voting enjoys broad support among New Yorkers including:

Community Supporters:

  • Brooklyn Voters Alliance (BVA)

  • Chhaya CDC

  • Chinese American Planning Council

  • Citizen Action

  • Citizens Union

  • Common Cause/NY

  • Minkwon Center for Community Action

  • NYPIRG

  • The New York Immigration Coalition

  • Reinvent Albany

Elected Officials:

  • Attorney General Letitia James

  • Comptroller Scott Stringer

  • Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

  • Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

  • Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

  • Speaker Corey Johnson

  • Councilmember Rafael Espinal

  • Councilmember Ben Kallos

  • Councilmember Brad Lander

  • Councilmember Stephen Levin

  • Councilmember Mark Levine

  • Councilmember Keith Powers

  • Councilmember Antonio Reynoso

 
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Why Ranked Choice Voting?

Read our original research on how our elections produce undemocratic outcomes and what we can do to fix them.

Ranked Choice Voting Works!

What do Maine, Santa Fe, and San Francisco have in common? Ranked Choice Voting! Cities and states across the country use ranked choice voting. And has earned the support of:

  • The New York Times notes, “ranked-choice voting can’t single-handedly fix America’s broken elections, but it’s a worthwhile experiment, and it’s already proved to make for a better process, particularly in candidate-heavy primaries.” (June 2018)

  • The Washington Post supports ranked choice voting as an excellent alternative to electing officials who are opposed by a majority of voters. (June 2018)

  • The Economist backs Ranked Choice Voting because it gives “office-seekers a reason to build bridges with opponents rather than torch them.” (July 2018)