Posted by Adam Ginsburg on June 13, 2019 at 10:47 AM


Start spreading the news: New York City charter commission adds Ranked Choice Voting to November ballot

Growing momentum for RCV in presidential primaries -- and now the nation’s largest city

Takoma Park, MD. - New York City’s charter commission voted Wednesday evening to recommend ranked choice voting (RCV) for all city offices in primary and special elections, including the open seat mayoral primary in 2021. The question will now go to voters this November for final approval.

“Ranked choice voting will make New York’s elections much more meaningful and ensure that every representative is elected by a majority of his or her constituents,” said Rob Richie, the president and CEO of FairVote. “This has the power to transform politics in New York City, but also nationwide, as millions of new voters learn how RCV makes their voice stronger.”

RCV has tremendous momentum nationwide. As many as six state Democratic parties plan to use RCV for all or part of their 2020 caucuses or primaries being run by their party. This includes all early voters in Iowa and Nevada, and for all voters in Alaska, Hawaii and Kansas.

Last year, Maine became the first state to use RCV for primary elections, and for federal offices in the general election. The charter commission’s vote fell on the one-year anniversary of the first use of RCV in Maine’s primary elections, as well as the statewide initiative that adopted RCV for federal general elections.

If NYC adopts RCV this fall, it will join San Francisco, Minneapolis, Santa Fe, Oakland, and a dozen other cities. “RCV produces real consensus candidates, saves money on low-turnout runoffs, and guarantees New Yorkers get the responsive elections they deserve,” Richie said.

In New York, the commission recommended a “top-five” candidate RCV system. Voters will be able to rank their top five candidates, from first to last. If any candidate wins a majority, they win, as in any election. If there is no majority winner, the last-place candidate will be eliminated, with his/her votes reallocated. The process continues until a candidate receives 50 percent-plus-one.

“This is a tremendous victory,” says Richie. “We congratulate Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York for her around-the-clock efforts and devotion to democracy, in tandem with a remarkable grassroots movement. We also thank Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Douglas and everyone at Represent Us for bringing such excitement and energy to this important issue.”

FairVote has worked on ranked choice voting for the last 27 years, including in-depth work on New York City. It is a nonpartisan electoral reform organization.

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