New York City voters might soon get to rank candidates running for office in order of preference.
That's if a ballot measure is approved by voters in November.
QUICK FACTS: RANKED-CHOICE VOTING
- Ranked-choice voting allows a voter to rank candidates running for office in order of preference
- If no one gets a majority, the worst performing candidate is eliminated and their votes are redistributed. That process would continue until someone gets more than 50 percent of the vote.
- The changes would only affect city elections, primaries, and special elections.
- New York City voters can vote on the ballot measure November 5. It will be on the back of the ballot.
- If it passes, ranked-choice voting would start in 2021.
Supporters launched a campaign Thursday urging voters to support the changes which could dramatically alter the way New Yorkers cast their votes at the polls and change how every vote is counted in the next city election in 2021.
The ranked-choice voting proposal is one of five initiatives set forth by a City Charter Review Commission. It will be the first question on the ballot when voters head to the polls in less than two months.
The changes would only affect city elections, primaries, and special elections. Instead of filling out the bubble next to a candidate as customary, voters would rank their candidates in order of preference.
If no one gets a majority, the worst performing candidate is eliminated and their votes are redistributed. That process would continue until someone gets more than 50 percent of the vote.
Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause NY, a good government group, said the change would attract more voters to the polls and increase the number of candidates seeking office.
"We all naturally rank, so when you have a large number of people running, instead of having to figure out, 'Oh, I like only this one,' but there is another one who also really appeals to you, you're able to rank your top choices," Lerner said.
The proposal has support from good-government groups, the city's business sector, and some lawmakers who believe the changes will give way to cleaner — even nicer — political campaigns and save money by eliminating run-off primaries.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who supports the proposal, said the city could save millions of dollars if the change is enacted.
"This has the opportunity to strengthen the people's vote, getting more people to come out, saving money, ending negative campaigns, it seems like a win-win to me," Williams said.
The Board of Elections said it is prepared to implement the reforms if the measure is approved.
Voters will be able to vote on this ballot measure as early as October 26, which is when early voting begins, or on Election Day, Tuesday, November 5.
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