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Ranked choice voting in NYC gets push from across the political spectrum

“It empowers voters,” said Susan Lerner, head of the good government group Common Cause. “We want more voter choice.” Common Cause has found that among city primary races with three or more candidates, two thirds are decided without a majority vote. “You don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils. You don’t have to be concerned about splitting the vote,” Lerner said. If the system is implemented, the city will no longer hold physical runoff elections, which often cost millions and have low turnout. Other cities, including San Francisco and Minneapolis, already use ranked choice voting. Where it’s been tried, it’s been shown to reduce negative campaigning because candidates don’t want to alienate their rivals’ voters, Lerner said. “It discourages negativity,” she said. “The system rewards candidates who make it their business to talk to the most voters. That is not the system now. The system now rewards the candidates who dive deepest and mobilize their own base.”

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