In 2019, 73.5% of New York voters elected to change our voting system to ranked choice voting (RCV). What is ranked choice voting and when will it be used? Ranked choice voting allows you to rank up to five candidates, rather than voting for just one. It will be used for the first time in a special election in City Council District 24 on February 2, 2021 and again in a special election in City Council District 31 on February 23, 2021. The first citywide election to use ranked choice voting will be the primary election on June 22, 2021.
In ranked choice voting, you rank up to five candidates in order of preference - pick your first choice candidate and fill in the oval next to their name under the first column, as shown above. You do not have to rank five. You can still vote for just one candidate, if you prefer. However, by ranking multiple candidates you can still impact who gets elected even if your top choice does not win. You can even suggest a write-in candidate by writing the name of your candidate and ranking them on the write-in line.
What elections will use ranked choice voting? Special and primary elections for local offices, including mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, and city council members, will use ranked choice voting starting this year.
What are the benefits of ranked choice voting? You have more say in who wins, there is less negative campaigning, and cities that use ranked choice voting have elected more diverse and representative candidates, such as more women and women of color.
To see a guide to the special election in Council District 24, visit here.
On Tuesday, January 19th, QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott hosted a discussion on ranked-choice voting with Rank the Vote NYC, Chhaya CDC, the Chinese American Planning Council, the McSilver Institute, the Northeast Queens NAACP, and the MinKwon Center. Watch the replay on our Facebook page or our YouTube channel.