NYC to implement ranked choice voting with goal to narrow down a winning candidate

Starting Feb. 2, New York City will implement a new method of electing officials to office.

News 12 Staff

Jan 22, 2021, 1:52 PM

Updated 1,180 days ago


Starting Feb. 2, New York City will implement a new method of electing officials to office.
The ranked choice voting method works similarly to reality TV competition shows. In those competitions, viewers call in to vote for their favorite candidate, and then the players with the least number of votes are eliminated while the others go on. The process continues until the person with the majority vote in the end wins the competition.
And now the Board of Elections will ask New Yorkers to rank candidates in a similar manner. Ranked choice voting will apply to how citizens vote for city mayor, borough presidents, public advocates, comptroller and city council elections. All of these are known to have a handful of candidates on the ballot at a time.
Here is how it will work. If 10 candidates are running, voters now have the chance to rank their five favorites, in order of preference, instead of voting for just one person.
Once the votes are tallied, if the number one choice gets over 50% of the vote, that's if the majority of voters also choose them as their number one pick, he or she will be the winner. If not, just like reality TV competition shows, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated, and the process starts again. Only, instead of watching a musical number and re-voting, if a voter's first choice is the one eliminated, the vote will automatically re-apply to the second choice. So the vote is not lost just because one's favorite didn't win, but it's re-distributed.
Now, if one politician has 50% of the new tally, that politician is the winner. If not, the process continues until someone hits a majority.
The change comes after 73.5% of New York City voters voted for rank choice voting in 2019.
So while voters can choose just one candidate, they'll be able to also bubble in their other four choices and they can only rank each candidate once. This way, the eventual winner will have a majority, which will be a change from years past when a winner out of 10 candidates could have most votes but only be the favorite of a few.

More from News 12