Quick Guide to Ranked Choice Voting

Quick Guide to Ranked Choice Voting


What is Ranked Choice Voting?

In primary and special elections for city offices, you can now rank up to 5 candidates in order of preference instead of choosing just 1. If someone chooses, they can still only vote for 1 candidate. However, unless their candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, their ballot will no longer be considered if their candidate is eliminated.

Why are we using Ranked Choice Voting?

New Yorkers elected to use Ranked Choice Voting in a 2019 ballot measure. But what are the benefits of Ranked Choice Voting?

Ranked choice allows for more individual say in who gets elected. Even if someone’s top choice candidate doesn’t win their race, voters still get a say who does win by ranking their second, third, fourth, and fifth choices.

There are more choices in candidates with Ranked Choices. Voters can be confident in voting for their favorite candidate without worrying about their chances of winning.

With Ranked Choice Voting, there is a chance for more diversity in elected officials. Other 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.

When will there be Ranked Choice Voting?

NYC will only use Ranked Choice Voting in primary and special elections for city offices. For the NYC 2021 primaries, the following will be ranked choice:

  • Mayor
  • Public Advocate
  • Comptroller
  • Borough President
  • City Council

How will Ranked Choice Voting work on the election days?

Instead of picking one candidate for each office, voters can rank the candidates from the above offices. A total of 5 candidates can be ranked, but voters can rank less if they like.

With Ranked Choice Voting, 5 candidates can be ranked in order of preference instead of choosing just one. Here’s how to fill out your ballot:

  1. Pick your 1st choice candidate and completely fill in the oval next to their name under the 1st column.
  2. If you have a 2nd choice candidate, fill in the oval next to their name under the 2nd column.
  3. You can rank up to five candidates. You can still vote for only one candidate if you prefer. However, ranking other candidates does not harm your 1st choice.

To write-in candidates, there will be spaces to fill in candidate’s names and select their ranking.

To try out a practice ballot ahead of voting, check out this interactive sample ballot.

How will votes be counted?

All first choice votes are counted. If a candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, they win the election.

However, 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 highest-ranked 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. Between the last 2 candidates, the one with the most votes wins.

Because of the new process for tallying votes, results will take longer to be reported.

Dates to Remember

Early voting starts June 12 and goes until June 20.

Absentee ballots can be requested until June 15.

Primary Election Day is June 22. The deadline to return absentee ballots is also June 22.

For more information on voting in New York City, head over to NYC Votes.


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