Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Douglas + Others Urge Charter Commission to Put Ranked Choice Voting on Nov. Ballot

NYC Charter Commission votes on final ballot items Wednesday, June 12th

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NEW YORK, NY (06/11/2019) (readMedia)-- Actress Jennifer Lawrence, actor Michael Douglas, and other prominent New Yorkers including Emma Bloomberg and Kathryn Murdoch have signed onto a letter to the New York City Charter Revision Commission urging its members to include ranked choice voting (RCV) for all city offices on the November ballot.

On Wednesday, June 12th the NYC Charter Revision Commission will hold a final public meeting to vote on which proposals will proceed to the ballot. The Commission listed Ranked Choice Voting on its preliminary staff report. Ranked Choice Voting is a consensus driven system that would allow voters to rank five candidates in order of preference, instead of the existing winner take all model.

From the letter, which is attached:

"As you've seen at the borough hearings on this issue, grassroots support demonstrates the popularity of Ranked Choice Voting amongst voters frustrated with having to choose the "lesser of two evils," rather than who they truly support. Now more than ever, electoral reform is integral to ensure that every New Yorker's voice is heard, and Ranked Choice Voting is the best way to improve our antiquated electoral system. As a Commissioner, you have the opportunity to make New York City the model for a more fair and functional democracy. We ask that you take it."

Quote from Actor Michael Douglas:

"Ranked Choice Voting gives New Yorkers more options, so that our elected officials truly represent us. Voters deserve candidates who work harder to win more votes from more diverse communities. That's how we'll build a democracy that reflects the true diversity of ideas and backgrounds that make New York."

In the last three election cycles in New York City, sixty-three percent of multi-candidate primaries were won with less than 50% of the vote, 30% were won with less than 40%, and nearly 10% were won with less than 30%. In 2021, close to 70% of the New York City Council members, and all five borough presidents, the Comptroller and Mayor, will be term limited. The New York City Campaign Finance Board is already anticipating the opening of at least 500 campaign committees, which averages to 12 candidates per race.

Ranked choice voting allows voters to express their preferences for a variety of candidates by ranking their first five choices. If on election day when all the first-choices are counted there is one candidate who collects a majority of the vote, that candidate wins. If there's no majority, then the last-place candidate is eliminated and their votes re-allocated according to voter preferences. The process is repeated until there's a majority winner.

Other cities like San Francisco, Minneapolis and Santa Fe and countries like Australia and Ireland have implemented ranked choice voting to revolutionize the way candidates campaign.