Ranked choice voting is officially under way in New York City. A special election in Queens District 24 is the first in New York City to implement ranked-choice voting. 

73% of voters supported ranked choice voting on the November 2019 ballot, and beginning in 2021, the system will be used in primary and special elections in the city. These include elections for the following offices:

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

Ranked choice voting has already been a source of confusion for some, according to the Gothamist. This article will be a quick guide to ranked-choice voting in New York City. 

How does ranked choice voting work?

Rather than casting a vote for a single candidate, voters rank candidates in order of preference. This means voters select a first choice candidate, a second choice candidate and so on. You do not have to choose five candidates, but you are able to choose up to that many. You must choose different candidates for each level of preference. Voters can still write in candidates, and then rank the write-in candidate in order of preference. 


How are ranked choice votes counted?

It is important to understand that in ranked-choice voting, a candidate must receive over fifty percent of votes to win. 

The counting process is in rounds. It begins with a count of all first-choice votes. At that point, a candidate will win they receive over fifty percent of votes. 

If no candidate has more than fifty percent of votes, the candidate in last place will be eliminated. Everyone who voted for that candidate as their first choice, will then have their second choice votes counted.

After including those second choice votes, if a candidate receives over fifty percent of the vote, they are the winner of the election. If not, the cycle continues. The last place candidate is eliminated and the second choice votes of everyone who selected that candidate as a first choice, are brought into the total tally. This will go on until a candidate receives over fifty percent of the votes. 

For a video of this process, watch this video that New York City Board of Elections put together. 

When will ranked choice voting come to Greenpoint? 

The first election in Greenpoint that will use Ranked Choice Voting this summer for the municipal primary on June 22, 2021. 

Where can I find more information on ranked choice voting? 

This New York City Board of Elections page goes over the basics of Ranked Choice and has answers to frequently asked questions. The BOE also has a sample Ranked Choice Ballot to review. 

Additionally, the New York City Campaign Finance Board is offering Ranked Choice Voting training sessions virtually. You can sign up for sessions here

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