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Ranked-choice Voting

Ranked-choice Voting

Learn about Ranked-Choice Voting for NYC Local Elections

Ranked-choice voting will be used for the February 23, 2021 Special Election for New York City Council District 31 in Queens and a Special Election for Council Districts 11 and 15 in the Bronx on March 23, 2021.

New York City will use ranked-choice voting for Primary and Special Elections for the following NYC municipal offices:

  • MAYOR
  • PUBLIC ADVOCATE
  • COMPTROLLER
  • BOROUGH PRESIDENT
  • CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS
Click below for a transcript of this video

Click here for another video on Ranked-Choice Voting

Ranked-choice voting on the AutoMark Ballot Marking Device

You can rank up to 5 candidates in order of preference: your 1st choice candidate, your 2nd choice candidate, and so on up to your 5th choice candidate.

The AutoMark displays each “choice” as a separate screen

  1. On the first screen, you will select your first-choice candidate

  2. If you have a second-choice candidate, you will select that candidate on the next screen labeled “Choice 2”

You can choose to rank up to 5 candidates

  1. If you prefer, you can still vote for just one candidate. To do so, select your 1st choice candidate on the “Choice 1” screen and do not select anyone for any other “Choice” screens

  2. You can only choose one candidate per “Choice” screen

  3. Do not select the same candidate for multiple “Choice” screens



What is ranked-choice voting?

Voters can rank up to five candidates in order of preference, instead of casting a vote for just one.

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How does it work?

If a candidate gets a majority of votes (over 50%) they are declared the winner.

If no candidate gets a majority of the vote:

  • The last place candidate is eliminated, and their votes are parceled out to the voter’s second choice.
  • A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes.
  • The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority and is declared the winner.
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How do I fill out my ballot?

Pick your first-choice candidate and fill in the oval next to their name under the 1st column. If you have a second-choice candidate, fill in the oval next to their name under the 2nd column. You can continue until you rank up to 5 candidates.

  • You do not have to rank all five.
  • You can still vote for just one candidate and leave the other columns blank.
  • You can only choose one candidate for each column.
  • You cannot rank the same candidate more than once.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t want to rank all the candidates?

You do not have to rank all five. You can rank as many or as few candidates (up to 5) as you like. If you choose to vote for only one candidate, just leave the other columns blank.

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If I rank other candidates, does it affect my first choice?

No. Ranking other candidates does not affect your first choice. Only your first choice is counted in Round 1. Your second, third, fourth, and other choices will be considered only if your first-choice candidate does not win.

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Under what circumstances can my first choice be eliminated?

If no candidate receives more than 50% of first-choice votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated. If your first choice is eliminated, your next choice will be counted, and so on. The process of elimination continues until there is a winner.

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If I really want my first-choice candidate to win, should I rank the candidate as my first, second, and third choice, and so on?

No. Your vote can count only once for your first choice. If you rank the same candidate first, second, and third, it is the same as leaving the second and third choices blank.

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Can I give multiple candidates the same ranking?

No. If you give multiple candidates the same ranking, this is called an “over-vote”. Your vote in that rank and later ranks cannot be counted.

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What election offices are not using Ranked-Choice Voting?

The following elections are not subject to ranked-choice voting as this applies just to NYC elections at this time:

  • President
  • Governor
  • US Senate
  • Surrogate
  • Supreme Court Judges
  • Civil Court Judges
  • District Attorney
  • Congress
  • State Senate
  • Assembly
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Is the ranked-choice ballot accessible?

Yes, the rank choice ballot is compatible with the ballot marking devices as well as the accessible version of the absentee ballot.

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How do I vote for a write-in candidate?

To vote for a candidate whose name is not on the ballot, write the name on the “Write-in” line, and fill in an oval to rank your choice.

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Why Now?

In a 2019 ballot measure, 73.5% of New York City Voters voted yes for Ranked-Choice Voting.

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