ICYMI: As Some NYS Lawmakers Debate Ranked Choice Voting, Women Of Color Leaders Show Strong Support

NEW YORK, NY (07/21/2021) (readMedia)-- This week, two op-eds about the benefits of ranked choice voting, by prominent women of color leaders, were published.

Lurie Daniel Favors, esq., Interim Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, wrote in AM NY: "Some politicians - including several leaders of African descent – used the election cycle to pound a steady drumbeat of doubt and fear in the lead up to the election. Others persisted with erroneous predictions that Black voters would be disenfranchised by RCV and further eroded trust in the democratic process by claiming that ranked choice voting disenfranchises Black voters. That's patently false. At a time when voter suppression is running rampant across the country, it's irresponsible to wage this misplaced war on ranked choice voting, when the truth is that this system more equitably centers the voices of historically marginalized voters."

With Daniel Favors' leadership, the Center for Law and Social Justice engaged in extensive voter education. CLSJ hired a group of Street Team Educators to teach Black New Yorkers about ranked choice voting. They also trained a team of student interns who spread out across the city to provide culturally competent voter education. "Our teams reported that the voters they encountered were excited when they learned that ranking candidates 2-5 didn't hurt their first choice, while others preferred to stick with one. That's one of the benefits of ranked-choice voting - it allows the voters to decide how they want to use their power."

Daniel Favors is an activist and attorney with a longstanding commitment to racial and social justice. Before completing law school, Ms. Daniel Favors co-founded Sankofa Community Empowerment, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to educate and empower communities of African descent. She later co-founded Breaking the Cycle Consulting Services LLC, which specializes in creating comprehensive professional development for educators, youth education programs and family engagement workshops designed to address the crisis in urban education through the use of culturally responsive teaching.She hosts the Lurie Daniel Favors Show on Sirius XM's Urban View Network and co-hosts the Sunday Civics show on the same channel.

Ms. Daniel Favors started her legal career as an attorney in the New York offices of Proskauer Rose LLP and Manatt Phelps and Phillips, LLP. She also served as a federal court law clerk in the chambers of the Honorable Sterling Johnson, Jr., in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She later founded Daniel Favors Law PLLC, a law firm that focused on economic and racial justice.

And City Council candidates Crystal Hudson and Sandy Nurse wrote in the Daily News: "We know what it's like to live on the margins and what it means to be left behind. We know the strong impact government can have on New Yorkers' daily lives. That's why it's so important, and so historic, that the next City Council will actually look like New York. Ranked-choice voting is one reason why. New Yorkers deserve the system of voting that has changed our city for the better, and we will fight to strengthen it for generations to come."

More local (and future) lawmakers expressed their support for ranked choice voting outside of Monday's Assembly hearing:

"The BOE struggling to carry out its basic duties is nothing new. What is new in this city, however, is a class of district-, borough-, and city-wide officials, elected with the mandate of a majority - rather than a plurality - of votes. We simultaneously avoided costly, low-turnout runoffs and guaranteed that our electeds truly represent us and that all voices are heard. We have some real housekeeping to do at the Board of Elections; there's a lot we need to fix or replace. But if there's one thing we know we must keep, it's ranked choice voting," said Chi Ossé, Democratic nominee for City Council District 36.

"In 2019, New Yorkers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the implementation of Ranked Choice Voting because of its potential to avoid costly run off elections, produce a more diverse field, and incentivize campaigns to appeal to broader constituencies. In its inaugural use, RCV has delivered on all of those points: under this new system of voting, we elected a City Council that will be made up of majority women, our second black Mayor, our first black Bronx Borough President, and our first Latino Brooklyn Borough President. I look forward to continuing to educate voters about RCV. I will also continue to advocate for top-to-bottom reform of the BOE, an imperative measure to increase voter rights and access to the ballot box," said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

"I just want to name the fact that criticism of the ranked-choice voting system is a veiled attack on expanding our democracy to the people who most need to be centered, to the people who have been left out and haven't had the political capital and the political power needed to create a government that works for working class folks," said Tiffany Cabán, Democratic nominee for City Council District 22.