Ranked Choice Voting, Explained

Starting in 2021, New York City is implementing ranked choice voting in municipal elections.


It will ONLY be in primary elections and special elections, NOT general elections.


It will ONLY be for: Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President, and City Council races.


Ranked Choice Voting lets you vote for multiple candidates and rank them in order of your favorites.


If you only vote for one candidate, your vote will still be counted.

How to Vote

This is what the ballot will look like:


You will be able to rank up to 5 candidates. If there are more than 5 candidates, you can only rank 5. If there are less than 5 candidates, you can rank as many candidates as there are.


This is the correct way to fill out your ballot:


If you want to rank less than 5 candidates, you can.


If you only want to vote for one candidate, you can.


If you rank more than one candidate as the same rank, your vote will NOT be counted:


If you rank the same candidate multiple times, your vote for them will only count once.


How Votes Are Counted

If a candidate gets at least 50% of first choice votes, that candidate wins.


If no candidate gets at least 50% of first choice votes, the first choice votes of the candidate who came in LAST are reassigned to those voters’ second choice.


Voters whose choices have all been eliminated get moved into “exhausted.”


Candidates continue to be eliminated until a candidate reaches 50%.


The candidate who gets over 50% of the vote is the winner.


Voting Strategy

Choosing Your Favorite:


Like a candidate who you think might not win? Ranked choice voting eliminates the risk of “wasting” your vote.


Making Your Vote Count the Most:


Voters who vote for just one candidate are more likely to have their votes moved to “exhausted”. Ranking increases the impact of your vote.


How to Rank:


The candidate you like the most = Your first choice


Candidates you are content with = Your lower rank choices


Candidates you definitely don’t want to win = Don’t rank them at all