Voting Update: NYC partners with community groups to provide training on ranked choice voting

By Joanne Loeb, PhD

NYC recently launched a $15 million campaign to educate New Yorkers about ranked choice voting and to provide underserved populations with needed information on the new electoral process. This effort includes a significant investment in non-profits, community-based groups, faith-based groups, and minority and women owned businesses (MWBE) who will provide in-person outreach regarding the voting process. The campaign also consists of a citywide advertising effort using various multilingual and multicultural media platforms. As part of that effort, the city will: invest $2 million in the translation of key voter education resources, host multilingual voting workshops and collaborate with CUNY students to conduct outreach.

Ranked choice voting will be used in the June 2021 primary for the following municipal offices: mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, and city council. Using this process,voters rank up to five candidates in order of preference. If a candidate receives over 50% of first choice votes, they are declared the winner. If no one receives 50% or more of first choice votes, that’s when the ranked choice counting process begins. Ranked choice voting ensures that the winner achieves a broad base of support by being ranked not only first but also second and third by voters. The process is considered more democratic and less polarizing than one in which only the highest polling candidate wins. In ranked choice voting candidates must win a majority and they must appeal to a wider range of their constituents. Ranked voting can also increase turnout as voters feel they have more investment and more say in the outcome of the election.