Community Groups: New Yorkers are Ready to Rank

Common Cause/NY, Rank the Vote NYC, NYIC, Chhaya, CPC, and NALEO Educational Fund outline ranked choice voting voter education outreach including forums, exit polling, etc

NEW YORK, NY (12/22/2020) (readMedia)-- Today, Common Cause/NY, Rank the Vote NYC, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), Chhaya, the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) and NALEO Educational Fund joined together for a press conference zoom to outline past, current and future voter education outreach on ranked choice voting (RCV). The groups highlighted multilingual outreach, upcoming forums for both candidates and voters, future exit polls on RCV, and extensive community based partnerships.

WATCH ZOOM HERE and view a ranked choice voting simulator here.

Rank the Vote NYC has held dozens of training sessions throughout the five boroughs about ranked choice voting, how it works, and its impact on elections. Rank the Vote NYC's candidate/campaign training program launched in February and our community based voter education trainings launched in April 2020. The trainings have ranged from ones specifically for women of color to civil service and labor to good government. Rank the Vote NYC has partnered with local political clubs including Four Freedoms Democratic Club and Lambda Independent Democrats, as well as The Black Institute and NALEO Educational Fund to name a few. So far over 200 candidates, staff, and partners have participated. Trainings for community based organizations and candidates/campaigns remain ongoing.

"New Yorkers overwhelmingly passed Ranked Choice Voting in 2019 because they understand that it gives them more choice and more voice, while putting power back in the hands of the people where it belongs. We have more than six months to educate voters on how to rank, which is a lifetime compared to the changes voters experienced this spring and fall. Voters are smart, and capable as we've found in our dozens of trainings that reach thousands of people -- and that is just the beginning. We have a robust multilingual education plan, which will work in conjunction with community based organizations that have deep connections to the communities they serve that are either borough-specific or citywide. It's also up to the City Council to support those efforts -- not thwart them -- by passing Int 1994 as soon as possible," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.

"After Asian American and Pacific Islander voters turned out in record numbers this year, NYC now has a chance to continue making history with Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). RCV allows more diverse pool of candidates to participate in the electoral process and gives voters more options to choose from. CPC hopes this would continue to increase voter turnouts of AAPI community members and, with a robust community education program, allow them to be more engaged with the political process," said Howard Wong, Civic Engagement Manager at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC).

"With a new voting system comes new challenges in voter education and outreach, particularly for Latinos who still face considerable obstacles to accessing their right to vote," said Beny Poy, Northeast Program Coordinator at NALEO Educational Fund. "City leaders elected in 2021 will play a leading role in pandemic recovery efforts and it is imperative that Latinos are included and engaged during the election process. We look forward to working with New York City and our partners to provide a culturally-competent and linguistically-accessible outreach and education campaign to increase their awareness of this new method of voting and continue engaging Latinos in the political process."

"While the attempts to thwart and overturn what has been decided by voters was expected by the current inhabitant of the White House we did not expect this here in NYC by members of our City Council. Not only is this effort going against the will of the voters (their voters) it is also taking away the attention and capacity of organizations who should and could be using their time to educate the community on Rank Choice Voting. We urge all members to end this lawsuit, based solely on political convenience, and support the groups on the ground promoting full implementation of RCV which is ultimately a better, more inclusive public policy," said Theodore A. Moore, Director of Local Policy & Legislation, New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC).

"We've already conducted a number of ranked choice voting education trainings with our tenant leaders and various associations that we work with as well as community based organizations that are on the ground. We are planning to have a very extensive campaign -- as folks know we have a special election coming up soon in Council District 24 -- where we will be working with our partner organizations and on the ground leaders including hosting a candidate forum for this special elections where we'll be dedicating the first 15 minutes on ranked choice voting," said Jagpreet Singh, Lead Organizer at Chhaya Community Development Corporation (Chhaya).

RCV allows voters the opportunity to either rank 5 candidates in order of preference or vote for just one like they always have. If no one wins with a majority (more than 50%), the candidate that came in last is eliminated and voters' second choice votes get counted and so on until there's a majority winner. RCV will apply to primaries and special elections for all local offices including City Council, Borough President, Comptroller, Public Advocate and Mayor. Voters, who overwhelmingly passed RCV in the fall of 2019, will first use it in a Queens special election in early February.


A 2019 peer reviewed study published in Social Science Quarterly by Todd Donovan, Caroline Tolbert, and Kellen Gracey analyzed survey data from 5 Bay Area cities: Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro and San Francisco - and the comparable non-RCV cities of Alameda, Richmond, Stockton, Anaheim, Santa Ana and San Jose, California to examine whether there are racial disparities in voter understanding.

  • In terms of understanding voting instructions for RCV, there were "no differences... between whites and people of color."
  • There were "no differences in RCV cities in how whites, African Americans, and Latinx respondents reported "understanding" the system.
  • And the exit polling shows that voters in RCV cities are satisfied with the experience.

A 2004 San Francisco State University exit survey found that after RCV was first implemented:

  • 87% of voters said they understood the system "well"
  • 61% said they preferred RCV to the old system
  • And 69% said they knew how to rank candidates even before coming to vote

The campaign to bring Ranked Choice Voting was been endorsed by: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Congressman Jerry Nadler, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, State Senator Brad Hoylman, State Senator Robert Jackson, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Liz Krueger, State Senator Zellnor Myrie, State Senator Jessica Ramos, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, State Senator Julia Salazar, State Senator James Sanders, Jr., State Senator Luis SepĂșlveda, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, Assembly Member Ron Kim, Assembly Member Walter Mosley, Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, Assembly Member David Weprin, Former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Council Member Costa Constantinides, Council Member Robert Cornegy, Jr., Council Member Rafael Espinal, Council Member Ben Kallos, Council Member Brad Lander, Council Member Stephen Levin, Council Member Mark Levine, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Council Member Keith Powers, Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Council Member Paul Vallone, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Zephyr Teachout, Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University, former candidate for NY Attorney General, Cynthia Nixon, Actor and Activist, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, and Reverend Dr. Ray Blanchette.