NEW YORK, NY (06/04/2021) (readMedia)-- New York State law prioritizes voter enfranchisement to provide for efficient, accurate, and fair elections. As a result, final results, as always, will not be available on election night. Absentee, affidavit, and military ballots cannot be counted until June 29 per New York State law. At that point, election workers will begin notifying voters of the chance to correct "curable defects'' with absentee ballots. Corrected absentee ballots are due no later than July 9.
Therefore, it's likely that New Yorkers will learn the final election results the week of July 12.
This timeline is standard for elections in New York, and is not prolonged by ranked choice voting (RCV).
"Democracy takes time, and every vote counts. Accurate and fair election results are worth waiting for," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY. "One of the many benefits to ranked choice voting is that it negates the need for multi-million dollar run-off elections, which usually take place 2-3 weeks later. Even if no one clears 50% on Election Day, we'll get the results in a comparable amount of time with none of the additional cost or diminished turn out."
What will we know and when?
Results on Election night will only reflect in-person votes cast during the early voting period and on Election Day itself. It will not include absentee or affidavit ballots. Therefore, it is incomplete.
Common Cause/NY's Response to Timeline
Prior to the Board's announcement, Common Cause/NY advised that the Board should release the complete data of all votes, including the rankings, of all in-person votes one week after primary election day, allowing the press, candidates and voters to analyze the data however they chose. Common Cause/NY also recommended that the Board wait until all ballots are received before running and announcing the results of RCV rounds. Waiting until the results are complete and final allows for more transparency and less confusion. Common Cause/NY will continue to work with the Board to best inform the public of election results.
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.
While a voter may choose to vote for only one candidate, they have the opportunity to rank up to five. The more candidates a voter ranks, the more say the voter has in picking who will represent them. RCV may pose new challenges for campaigns, but what's more important is that voters want to rank, and they're ready to do it. In the four special elections earlier this year, voters in CD 15 - a majority Black and Latino district -- ranked the most candidates.
In exit polling from the special elections earlier this year: