NYC Introduces Ranked Choice Voting. How Does It Work?

May 18, 2021 11:16 AM

New York City’s primary election will look a little different this year. The City is introducing ranked choice voting, a system that lets voters rank candidates in order of preference. Instead of voting for only one candidate on the ballot, you will be able to rank up to five preferred candidates.

How does it work?

Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank as many as 5 candidates. If a candidate wins a majority (more than 50%) of first choice votes, then that candidate wins the election!

If no candidate wins a majority of first choice votes, then an instant run-off begins. To start the instant run-off, the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated. If your favorite candidate is eliminated, your vote will be redistributed to your second choice candidate. This system of eliminating and redistributing votes continues until there are two candidates left. The candidate with the most votes of the two wins the election.

How do I vote?

For the 2021 NYC primary elections, voters will get a ballot listing all the candidates in the left column. There will be five more columns, each labeled with a ranking 1 through 5 (with 1 being your first choice and 5 being your fifth choice). To vote, mark your first choice in column 1 and continue to rank your second, third, fourth, and fifth choices in columns 2 through 5.

Important note: Ranked choice voting will only be used in the New York City primaries, not in the general election.

NYC primaries are just weeks away!

This is an incredibly important election year in New York City, with elections for Mayor, Borough Presidents, and the entire City Council. Our Union wants to make sure that all of our members know how to cast their ballots using this new system. If you have questions about how to vote, please contact your HEAT Representative at (212) 245-8100 and select mailbox #2.

Volunteers! We will count on our members to help educate voters as we canvass and phone bank for union-backed candidates in the coming weeks. If you want to get more involved, sign up to volunteer with our Union on our website:

Who has our Union endorsed?

Click here and enter your address to find who our Union has endorsed in your district in the NYC primaries!

Click here to read this article in Spanish.

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