New Yorkers: Don’t Forget to Rank in the Upcoming City Council Elections!

On June 2nd, members of Rank the Vote NYC joined together to remind New Yorkers they can rank up to five candidates in the upcoming June primary city council elections. There are 24 primaries, nineteen Democratic and five Republican races, throughout the city. Early Voting starts June 17, and Election Day is June 27.

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) gives voters the opportunity to either rank as many as five candidates in order of preference or vote for just one like they always have. If no one wins with a majority (more than 50 percent), the candidate that came in last is eliminated and voters’ second choice votes get counted and so on until there’s a majority winner.

RCV applies to primaries and special elections for all local offices including City Council, Borough President, Comptroller, Public Advocate and Mayor. Voters overwhelmingly passed RCV in the fall of 2019, with 74 percent of the vote.


“In 2021, New Yorkers successfully voted in the largest ranked choice voting election in U.S. history!” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY. “Now, New Yorkers can take advantage of ranked choice voting again and vote for their preferred City Council candidates. Ranked choice voting affords voters more choice and more voice and puts power back in the hands of the people, delivering consensus majority winners every time. That’s the robust democracy we need right now.”

“New Yorkers are about to head to the polls to vote in the City Council primary, with more opportunities to have their voices heard. Here in New York City, we are excited to see Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) available again for voters, making our local democracy more equitable by giving voters more choices at the ballot box. We applaud the New York City Civic Engagement Commission, Campaign Finance Board, and our member organizations for their dedicated multilingual voter outreach efforts, and we urge all New Yorkers to cast their ballots and participate in our democratic process,” said Wennie Chin, Director of Civic Engagement at the New York Immigration Coalition.

“Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a transformative system that can empower communities of color by fostering accountability among elected officials and candidates and reducing barriers for historically marginalized candidates in political candidacy,” says Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College. “Unlike the single-winner system, RCV allows for multiple women candidates or candidates of color without concerns of vote splitting. This inclusive approach helps avoid pigeonholing candidates based on gender or race and encourages elected officials to address the needs and concerns of Black and Brown communities for re-election. RCV was a win for New York City in 2021, and we’re confident that the system will continue strengthening fair representation, community engagement, and inclusive democracy during the upcoming election cycle.”

“APA VOICE looks forward to empowering our community members with the information they need to rank their vote in city council districts with active primary elections this June. Our coalition members will incorporate multilingual ranked choice voting training in all of our outreach including our candidate forums for City Council Districts 1 (Lower East Side/Chinatown), 19 (Whitestone/Bayside), 29 (Richmond Hill/Forest Hills) and 43 (Bensonhurst) and in-person door canvassing outreach. We encourage our community members to rank their vote and expand their voting power in June!” said Sandra Choi, Civic Participation Director at Minkwon.

“Ranked-choice voting is a powerful tool for achieving authentic gender representation. The New Majority NYC is proud to use RCV in our endorsement process to help a diverse group of women win elections. RCV eliminates vote-splitting so that voters can truly vote for their preferred candidates, in order, without fear of harming another candidate’s chances. RCV has been proven to increase diversity, both in political participation and representation. The most diverse City Council in history is not an accident, it’s the result of RCV and other democratic reforms embraced by New York City,” said Jessica Haller Executive Director The New Majority NYC.

Voters can expect to know the final winner in a few weeks — thanks to pro-voter election laws. On Election night, we will know the first choice results of early votes, election day votes, and received valid absentee ballots. Thanks to a new, excellent law, a voter can correct or “cure” their absentee ballot over a small mistake, like forgetting his or her signature. The BOE contacts voters about the opportunity to fix their mistake, and corrected ballots are due back by mid July.

Due to a change in election law, New Yorkers can no longer cast a ballot on a voting machine if they have been sent an absentee ballot and then decide to vote in-person. Voters will be directed to vote via affidavit ballot instead. Your affidavit ballot will be kept separate until the election is completed, and if your absentee ballot has been received by the Board of Elections, the affidavit ballot will not be counted. This will speed up the process for counting absentee votes.

In 2021, Common Cause/NY and Rank the Vote NYC released the preliminary results of exit polling from the city’s first ranked choice voting election. The poll was conducted by Edison Research throughout early voting and on Election Day, with a sample size of 1,662, both in-person and on the phone, with voters from a broad spectrum of ages, races, and education levels that reflect the demographics of the city. The poll shows that voters embraced the benefits of ranked choice voting, found it simple to understand, and want to use it in future elections.

Highlights include:

New Yorkers embraced Ranked Choice Voting at the ballot box.

  • 83% of voters ranked at least two candidates on their ballots in the mayoral primary. The majority of those who opted not to rank did so because they only had one preferred candidate.
  • 42% of voters maximized their newfound power and ranked five candidates.

New Yorkers understand the promise and the power of Ranked Choice Voting.

  • 51% ranked because it allowed it them to vote their values
  • 49% ranked because it allowed them to support multiple candidates
  • 41% ranked because it gave them more of a say in who gets elected

New Yorkers found Ranked Choice Voting easy to use.

  • 95% of voters found their ballot simple to complete.
  • 78% of New Yorkers said they understood Ranked Choice Voting extremely or very well.

New Yorkers want Ranked Choice Voting in future elections.

  • 77% of New Yorkers want Ranked Choice Voting in future local elections.

There was little variability between ethnic groups’ understanding of ranked choice voting:

  • 77% of Black voters said they understood ranked choice voting
  • 80% of Hispanic voters said they understood ranked choice voting
  • 77% of Asian voters said they understood ranked choice voting
  • 81% of white voters said they understood ranked choice voting

New Yorkers across ethnic groups found their ballots simple to complete:

  • 93% of Black voters found their ballot simple to complete.
  • 95% of Hispanic voters found their ballot simple to complete.
  • 97% of Asian voters found their ballot simple to complete.
  • 95% of white voters found their ballot simple to complete.

Contrary to fears that Ranked Choice Voting would harm voters by creating a knowledge tax, most voters ranked three or more candidates in the mayoral primary.

  • Overall, 72% of voters ranked three or more candidates.
  • 66% of Black voters ranked three or more candidates, 64% of Hispanic voters ranked three or more candidates, 80% of white voters ranked three or more candidates and 72% of Asian voters ranked three or more candidates.