Since ranked choice voting was approved by New York City voters by an overwhelming 3:1 margin, implementation work has been ongoing, including the overwhelming success of the city’s first use case in 2021. Political opposition has remained, however, from some state and city leaders.
Ranked choice voting is a common sense change that gives voters the option to rank candidates for office in the order they prefer them. In New York City, the policy applies to Republican and Democratic primaries for city offices. If no candidate receives a majority of the first-choice votes — as often happened in New York City prior to reform — the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the votes that candidate received count instantly towards the next choice on those voters’ ballots. That process repeats until a candidate receives a majority of the vote and wins.
Ranked choice voting gives voters a stronger voice and more choice when they cast their ballots, eliminates the “spoiler effect,” and helps guarantee that elected leaders are supported by a true majority. The system also eliminates expensive runoff elections, saving the city $20 million per election cycle.
The organization is working to implement the new policy and focused on five priorities:
The effort to implement the policy is led by Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York and Luke Hayes of Rank the Vote NYC. Other partners, including the Center for Tech and Civic Life, More Equitable Democracy, the Center for Civic Design, and the Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center are playing critical roles.