Candidates Campaigning Together is Legitimate RCV Strategy

Yang + Garcia collaboration is neither "cynical" nor "insidious"

NEW YORK, NY (06/20/2021) (readMedia)-- Responding to criticism of Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia campaigning together, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY and Sean Dugar, Education Campaign Program Director, for Rank the Vote NYC, released the following joint statement:

"There is nothing insidious or cynical about two candidates transparently using a legitimate strategy in a democratically approved system of election. Campaigning together, as Mr. Yang and Ms. Garcia are doing, is standard practise in places like San Francisco and Minneapolis both of which have ranked choice voting and elected their first Black woman Mayor and several Black transgender candidates to the City Council, respectively. Ranked choice voting incentivizes consensus building and collaboration to the ultimate benefit of the voters, and Mr. Adams himself has taken advantage of it to ask for #2 votes. Candidates should keep their criticism to the issues, rather than mischaracterizing a strategy that is available to all who choose to use it"

In a recent poll, 74% of respondents ranked more than one choice for mayor. Black voters -- more so than any other demographic -- used all five rankings.

Diversity and Representation in the Mayor's Race

Thanks to ranked choice voting, there are three candidates of color and two women in the top four of the mayoral race. Ranked choice voting radically alters who can be a leading contender by reducing pressure on candidates to drop out and avoid vote splitting.

A new FairVote study proves this phenomenon: candidates pay no penalty when they run against opponents of the same race or ethnicity. For example, instead of dividing Black community support, Adams and Wiley can run against each other as serious contenders.

Similarly, thanks to ranked choice voting, the city could elect its first woman mayor.

A Marist poll, released last week, shows Adams in the lead followed by Garcia, Wiley, and Yang.

An Emerson/Pix11 poll, released last week, shows Adams in the lead followed by Wiley, Garcia, and Yang.

Early Voters are Responding Well to RCV

From Southeast Queens to the Upper West Side to the Bronx, New Yorkers are ranking their vote without issue and with enthusiasm.

  • The New York Times interviewed dozens of voters and found "that most voters were taking advantage of being able to rank up to five candidates out of the field of 13."
  • Peter Karp in Brooklyn told the Times "'I'm very excited about the ranked voting,' he said. 'I feel like it's an ability to really vote for who closest aligns with your views without throwing your vote to the absolute opposite of that.'"
  • Jose Morell in the Bronx told Gothamist "It was easy. It was very easy."
  • Andrea Glenn, a Prospect Heights voter, told Politico "It makes you feel a little more at ease... If my person doesn't win, my second or third choice may still have the ability."
  • And Reuben E. from St. Albans told Politico he "ranked Eric Adams first, followed by Yang, Wiley, McGuire and Shaun Donovan and praised the ranked-choice system for avoiding later runoff elections... 'I think it's great. It saves money, less aggravation and grief.'"

This tracks with last week's NY1/Ipsos poll, which found that 80% of voters are comfortable using ranked-choice voting. And in exit polling from the special elections earlier this year:

95% of voters stated they found the RCV ballot simple to fill out

75% of voters stated they were familiar with RCV prior to arriving at the polls

70% of voters took advantage of RCV and ranked more than one candidate

There was no statistically meaningful difference between ethnic groups' understanding of RCV :

94% of Black voters found their ballot simple to complete.

97% of Asian voters found their ballot simple to complete.

97% of Hispanic voters found their ballot simple to complete.

97% of white voters found their ballot simple to complete.

Out of the four special elections, voters in CD 15 - a majority Black and Latino district - ranked the most candidates.