NYC: Election Results Take Time and That's Ok!

NEW YORK, NY (06/27/2023) (readMedia)-- Now that polls are closed, voters can expect to know the results of NYC's ranked choice voting City Council elections in a few weeks -- thanks to pro-voter election laws. New York State law prioritizes voter enfranchisement to provide for efficient, accurate, and fair elections. As a result, tonight, we will know the first choice results of early votes, election day votes, and received valid absentee ballots. Thanks to a new, excellent law, a voter can correct or "cure" their absentee ballot over a small mistake, like forgetting his or her signature. The BOE contacts voters about the opportunity to fix their mistake, and corrected ballots are due back by mid July. Once all valid votes are received, the BOE will begin running official rounds.

We likely will not know official winners in RCV elections until July 11.

"Democracy takes time, and every vote counts. Accurate and fair election results are worth waiting for. Even if no one clears 50% on Election Day, we'll get the results in a comparable amount of time thanks to pro-voter laws that let voters fix their absentee ballot over stray marks or a missing signature. Ranked choice voting affords voters more choice and more voice and puts power back in the hands of the people, delivering consensus majority winners every time. It's a win-win for voters," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY and Board Chair of Rank the Vote NYC.

What will we know and when?

Results on Election night will only reflect in-person votes cast during the early voting period, on Election Day itself and received, valid absentee ballots that do not need to be cured. Affidavit ballots and absentee ballots received after early voting ends are not included. Therefore, election night results are incomplete. The BOE will update ballots counted and results of the rounds from ranked choice voting every week on Tuesday.

June 27: the NYC Board of Elections will tabulate the first RCV round to provide unofficial, and incomplete results. These will not include affidavit and all absentee ballots.

Week of July 3rd the BOE will release an updated RCV count with the absentee ballots they've received so far, and will continue to update these results weekly until all ballots are in and the count is certified.

July 11: likely date of final results which will include final round-by-round tabulation as needed.

This year, voters can expect to know a bit more information as the BOE has made helpful adjustments in terms of public reporting. Now New Yorkers will be able to see how many votes have been counted and what percentage is left in an easy to read fashion. The BOE will also clearly show how votes are transferred from one round to another.

Expectations for Voters

RCV allows voters the opportunity to rank up to five candidates in order of preference. If no one wins with more than 50 percent of first-choice votes, the candidate that came in last is eliminated and their voters' second choice votes are distributed. This process repeats until there's a majority winner.

74% of New Yorkers voted to adopt ranked choice voting.

In 2021, Common Cause/NY and Rank the Vote NYC released the preliminary results of exit polling from the city's first ranked choice voting election. The poll was conducted by Edison Research throughout early voting and on Election Day, with a sample size of 1,662, both in-person and on the phone, with voters from a broad spectrum of ages, races, and education levels that reflect the demographics of the city. The poll shows that voters embraced the benefits of ranked choice voting, found it simple to understand, and want to use it in future elections.

Highlights include:

  • New Yorkers embraced Ranked Choice Voting at the ballot box.
    • 83% of voters ranked at least two candidates on their ballots in the mayoral primary. The majority of those who opted not to rank did so because they only had one preferred candidate.
    • 42% of voters maximized their newfound power and ranked five candidates.
  • New Yorkers understand the promise and the power of Ranked Choice Voting.
    • 51% ranked because it allowed it them to vote their values
    • 49% ranked because it allowed them to support multiple candidates
    • 41% ranked because it gave them more of a say in who gets elected
  • New Yorkers found Ranked Choice Voting easy to use.
    • 95% of voters found their ballot simple to complete.
    • 78% of New Yorkers said they understood Ranked Choice Voting extremely or very well.
  • New Yorkers want Ranked Choice Voting in future elections.
    • 77% of New Yorkers want Ranked Choice Voting in future local elections.
  • There was little variability between ethnic groups' understanding of ranked choice voting:
    • 77% of Black voters said they understood ranked choice voting
    • 80% of Hispanic voters said they understood ranked choice voting
    • 77% of Asian voters said they understood ranked choice voting
    • 81% of white voters said they understood ranked choice voting
  • New Yorkers across ethnic groups found their ballots simple to complete:
    • 93% of Black voters found their ballot simple to complete.
    • 95% of Hispanic voters found their ballot simple to complete.
    • 97% of Asian voters found their ballot simple to complete.
    • 95% of white voters found their ballot simple to complete.
  • Contrary to fears that Ranked Choice Voting would harm voters by creating a knowledge tax, most voters ranked three or more candidates in the mayoral primary.
    • Overall, 72% of voters ranked three or more candidates.
    • 66% of Black voters ranked three or more candidates, 64% of Hispanic voters ranked three or more candidates, 80% of white voters ranked three or more candidates and 72% of Asian voters ranked three or more candidates.