Queens Assemblymembers Catalina Cruz and Ron Kim with community group Minkwon rallied to support Ranked Choice Voting which will be Question 1 on the ballot. Ranked Choice Voting is a common sense reform that ensures winners receive a majority of the vote, saves taxpayer money, and gives voters more choice and more voice in elections. New Yorkers can now take advantage of Early Voting which runs October 26th - November 3rd, or vote on Election Day November 5th.
Ranked Choice Voting would apply to primary and special elections starting in 2021 for all local offices including; City Councilmembers, Borough Presidents, the Public Advocate and the Mayor.
Ranked Choice Voting gives voters the option to rank their top five candidates in local New York City primary and special elections. If voters still want to vote for just one candidate, they can. A candidate who collects a majority of the vote, fifty percent plus one, wins. If there's no majority winner, then the last place candidate will be eliminated and the second choice votes for that candidate are redistributed. The process is repeated until there is a majority winner.
To learn more go to rankthevotenyc.org
Assemblymember Catalina Cruz said, "Democracy can only truly be effective when everyone's voice is heard. We need to implement ways, such as Ranked Choice Voting and Early Voting, that make voting and running for office more accessible for everyone. Ranked Choice Voting helps people like me, women of color who are running against incumbents with party support, run for office and get elected. We need to ensure that candidates running for office look like and understand the communities that they are elected to represent, and that voters are given every single opportunity to be active participants in their communities."
Assemblymember Ron Kim said, "Ranked Choice Voting is a fair and progressive system for ensuring that the will and preferences of voters are fully taken into account. It will give candidates with the widest range of support, even when they are not always someone's first choice, an opportunity to prevail in races without a clear majority-winner, and allow more diverse voices a chance to be impactful and heard. I applaud Common Cause NY, Minkwon, and my colleagues for all the support they have given on this initiative, and join them in urging New Yorkers to vote yes on Question 1".
"Years ago, I served on the school board, which had a form of Ranked Choice Voting. It worked then and it can work now. Ranked Choice Voting is a better way for voters to express their preferences--and it saves taxpayers' money," said State Senator James Sanders.
Ranked Choice Voting ensures that every winner of an election receives a majority. This is a major concern in New York City where candidates routinely win with less than 50%. A Common Cause/NY 2019 study found that 64 percent of multi-candidate primaries were won with less than 50 percent of the vote, and not a single race with 4 or more candidates produced a majority winner. The New York City Campaign Finance Board is estimating that nearly 500 candidates will open campaign accounts in 2021, when 70% of the City Council will be term limited, as well as all five borough presidents, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Mayor Bill de Blasio. These will be incredibly crowded races, with at least 12 candidates per city council seat. Voters will have tough decisions to make. In a crowded field, Ranked Choice Voting is even more important to ensure that as many voters as possible choose the eventual winner.
Ranked Choice Voting also saves money by eliminating costly run-off elections, like the 2013 Democratic primary run-off for public advocate cost more than $11 million. And voters like it too. A two year study by the Democracy Fund found that voters in cities with Ranked Choice Voting were happier with campaign conduct and experienced less negative campaigning than voters in places that do not. When candidates have to compete to be voters second and third choices, it reduces negative campaigning.
In a diverse city like New York the "spoiler effect" is a concern among candidates of color. Ranked Choice Voting prevents the "spoiler effect," and encourages coalition building. Surveys conducted in California found major gains for people of color, increasing representation in majority-minority districts by 17 percent, multi-ethnic districts by 24 percent, and white majority districts by 9 percent.
Other cities like San Francisco, Minneapolis and Santa Fe, and countries like Australia and Ireland have implemented ranked choice voting to great success. Maine will use ranked choice voting to select their presidential nominee.
Most candidates win crowded elections in New York City by campaigning to their base, and fail to get a majority. With ranked choice voting, candidates will be forced to campaign to the broader electorate in the hopes of being ranked second or third. Ranked choice voting helps create consensus candidates with majority support.
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.
In early April, Common Cause/NY released a new analysis that builds on a previous report -- The Case for Ranked Choice Voting in New York City -- which quantifies the prevalence of multi-candidate primaries in the last three election cycles in NYC. The study found: