Ranked Choice Voting
New York City will use Rank Choice Voting for Primary and Special Elections for the following NYC municipal offices in 2021:
- PUBLIC ADVOCATE
- BOROUGH PRESIDENT
- CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS
It’s the first time the city will implement ranked-choice voting for municipal primaries and special elections.
WHAT ELECTION OFFICES ARE NOT USING RANKED-CHOICE VOTING?
The following elections are not subject to ranked-choice voting as this applies just to NYC elections at this time:
- President, Governor
- US Senate
- Supreme Court Judges
- Civil Court Judges
- District Attorney
- State Senate
WHAT IS RANKED CHOICE VOTING?
Voters can rank up to five candidates in order of preference, instead of casting a vote for just one.
DO I HAVE TO RANK ALL THE CANDIDATES?
No, you can rank up to 5 but you can chose to rank less candidates. You can also only choose one candidate.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
If a candidate gets a majority of votes (at least 50%) they are declared the winner.
If no candidate gets a majority of the vote,
- the last place candidate is eliminated, and their votes are parceled out to the voter’s second choice,
- A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes.
- The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority and is declared the winner.
UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES CAN MY FIRST CHOICE BE ELIMINATED?
If no candidate receives more than 50% of first-choice votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated. If your first choice is eliminated, your next choice will be counted, and so on. The process of elimination continues until there is a winner.
HOW DO I FILL OUT MY BALLOT?
You can rank up to 5 candidates in order of preference.
- Pick your ﬁrst-choice candidate and ﬁll in the oval next to their name under the 1st column
- If you have a second-choice candidate, ﬁll in the oval next to their name under the 2nd column
- You can choose to rank up to 5 candidates
- You can still vote for just one candidate and leave the other columns blank
- You can only choose one candidate for each column
- You cannot rank the same candidate more than once
Rank up to 5 candidates in order of preference.
- Pick your first-choice candidate and completely fill in the oval next to their name under the 1st column.
- If you have a second-choice candidate, fill in the oval next to their name under the 2nd column.
- You can rank up to 5 candidates. You can still choose to vote for only one candidate if you prefer. Ranking other candidates does not harm your first choice.
Do not rank a candidate more than once. If you do, only your top ranking for them will count.
Do not give multiple candidates the same ranking. If you choose more than one candidate as your first choice, your ballot will not be valid.
How your ballot will be counted
If a candidate receives more than 50% of first-choice votes, they win the election.
If no candidate earns more than 50% of first-choice votes, then counting will continue in rounds.
Each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. If your top-choice candidate is eliminated, your vote goes to the next highest ranked candidate on your ballot.
This process continues until there are only 2 candidates left. The candidate with the most votes wins!
What are the benefits of Ranked Choice Voting?
Ranked Choice Voting gives you more say in who gets elected. Even if your top choice candidate does not win, you can still help choose who does.
More civility and less negative campaigning. Candidates who are not your top choice still need your support as your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th choice. This makes them more likely to appeal to a wider audience.
More diverse and representative candidates win elections. Cities that have implemented Ranked Choice Voting have elected more women and more women of color, making their elected officials more representative of their communities.
For more information, you can check out NYC Campaign Finance Boards' FAQs