Why does New York City need Ranked Choice Voting?
Advocates have worked for years to fix our election laws, making it easier for all people, not just entrenched politicians, to run for office. Term limits paired with small dollar public matching funds have cracked the calcified power structures in local politics. As a result, the majority of our primary elections attract a large number of diverse candidates, 4–5 on average, every cycle.

Our crowded primaries continually produce undemocratic results:

  • Voters are forced to choose the ‘lesser of two evils’ instead of their real choice.

  • Candidates win with less than a majority — sometimes as little as 20% of the vote.

  • Entire communities are ignored. Candidates work to capture just enough votes, so they win without working towards consensus.

This means the majority of our elected officials win their primaries — which virtually guarantees election in November — without majority support in their districts from the primaries. That’s not really democratic representation.

Instead of a fractured electoral landscape, Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) would:

  • Bring communities together. New Yorkers are well served when their elected representatives have the support of the majority of their constituents.

  • Produce consensus candidates. Candidates would move to the general election with majority support from their district. Elected officials benefit from a broader base of support.

  • Save money. The city would save money by avoiding the occasional, but costly run-off election.

With Ranked Choice Voting, voters rank their top 5 candidates from first to last choice on the ballot. A candidate who collects a majority of the vote, fifty percent plus one, wins. If there’s no majority, then the last place candidate will be eliminated and votes reallocated. The process is repeated until there’s a majority winner. Watch this 60 second explainer here.

New York City has a unique opportunity to bring transformative change to how New Yorkers vote. The 2019 Charter Revision Commission is considering Ranked Choice Voting as a possible recommendation to be approved on the ballot by voters in November. RCV:NYC strongly urges the Commission to recommend a top five candidate Ranked Choice Voting system for all city offices in primary and special elections.

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Voting Systems and Elections Administration