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New York City Mayoral Primary Tests Ranked-Choice Voting

todayJune 3, 2021

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New York City could wait weeks for the mayoral primary results because of the implementation of ranked-choice voting. Early voting begins June 12 and primary election day is June 22.

What We Know:

  • New Yorkers voted in favor of ranked-choice in a 2019 ballot measure. The 2021 mayoral primary is the testing ground for this new process. It is unclear whether this might deter voters from showing up to the polls.
  • New York’s voter turnout for city elections has eroded, according to ABC News. Hank Scheinkopf, political consultant, stated, “We don’t know the impacts of ranked-choice voting. We do know that when you fool with the voting system, you tend to disrupt behaviors that are learned, you tend to reduce turnout, and create confusion.”
  • Voters will be able to select up to five choices on their ballot and rank them in terms of preference. Once the votes have been collected, if none of the candidates have more than 50% of the votes, the candidate with the least amount will be eliminated. Tallying then continues in rounds, eliminating the candidate with the least votes until one has more than half in favor.
  • Officials are estimating that they will not have results until a week after the election takes place. In May, software was approved to help speed up this process, but New York City Board of Elections President Frederic Umane warned not to expect results on election night regardless.
  • Supporters of ranked-choice voting argue that the delay is not a result of the process itself but more because of the ballot collection procedure. Ranked-choice voting allows voters to fully express their preferences, they say, and encourages civil discourse. Most candidates have embraced it.

There are 13 Democrats and 2 Republicans listed on their respective ballots for the mayoral position. The election will also ask voters to rank candidates for borough president, comptroller, public advocate, and City Council.

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