New York City Approves Ranked-Choice Voting

New York City became the biggest city in the United States to adopt ranked-choice voting, Vox reports.

Voters overwhelmingly backed the ballot measure on Tuesday, with more than 70 percent of voters voting Yes on Ballot Question 1.

The measure only applies to local primary and special elections starting in 2021.

New York is now one of about 20 cities in the United States that has implemented ranked-choice voting in some elections.

Maine became the first state to enact ranked-choice voting in a federal election last year.

How does ranked-choice voting work?

“Ranked-choice voting lets voters mark their first-choice candidate first, their second-choice candidate second, their third-choice candidate third, and so on. Each voter has only one vote but can indicate their backup choices: If one candidate has an outright majority of first-place rankings, that candidate wins, just like a traditional election,” Vox explained. “But if no candidate has a majority in the first round, the candidate in last place is eliminated. Voters who had ranked that candidate first have their votes transferred to the candidate they ranked second. This process continues until a single candidate gathers a majority.”

Democrats praise passage:

The ranked-choice question had the support of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, presidential candidate Andrew Yang, state Attorney General Letitia James, and numerous other top names in New York politics.

Ranked-choice voting would let us express our true preferences and make our politics more dynamic and responsive,” Yang tweeted. “We should make it the norm throughout the country.”

Voting rights groups hailed the measure’s passage.

Common Cause NY executive director Susan Lerner said ranked-choice voting "is the simple solution that puts power back in the hands of the people where it belongs. We look forward to working with our diverse partners and elected officials to educate New Yorkers on how this important reform will work in the local 2021 elections and beyond."


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