Why RCV Works

Why ranked choice voting works

On Tuesday November 5th, New Yorkers will decide whether or not to adopt a top five candidate Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system for Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, Borough Presidents and City Council in primary and special elections to be implemented by 2021.

Instead of voting for just 1 candidate, voters can rank their top 5 candidates in our local primary and special elections. If voters still want to vote for just one candidate, they can.

How will a candidate win future elections? It’s simple: A candidate who collects a majority of the vote wins. Ballots will be counted in rounds. where last-place candidates are eliminated and their voters’ next choices are counted. The candidate with the most votes in the final round wins.


Voters choose their top candidate, or rank their top 5 choices
If no candidate has a majority of the vote in the first round, the last-place finisher is eliminated, and their voters’ next choices are counted.
This continues until the candidate with the most votes wins.

Watch why and how Ranked Choice Voting works

It’s time to reform our outdated election system in New York City to empower voters and ensure candidates pay attention to every part of the city. See how it works here:


YES ON 1 will produce majority support winners.

Most of our primary and special elections produce winners with less than 50% of the vote. This means that many of our elected officials win their primaries — which virtually guarantees election in November — without majority support in their districts from voters. That’s not really democratic representation. 

And this isn’t an abstract concern. In 2021, over 70% of our local offices will be up for grabs in wide open primaries due to term limits. Over 500 candidates are projected to compete for 42 open seats, which is an average of 12 candidates per race. We need Ranked Choice Voting so New Yorkers can make sense of crowded primaries and so our elected officials reflect the will of the people. 


YES ON 1 will mean candidates have to earn their votes and pay attention to every community.

Right now, too many communities get ignored by our politicians. Candidates don’t even try in many parts of the city — and then when they’re in office, they ignore those same communities. Ranked choice voting and Question 1 will mean candidates have to pay attention to every community if they want to win. 

We need to elect politicians who are accountable to people – not the special interests and political bosses. Ranked Choice Voting through Question 1 will weaken the power of special interests and the political machine.


YES ON 1 will save people time and save taxpayers money. 

Ranked Choice Voting saves people time and saves taxpayers money. New Yorkers will only have to vote once in primary elections, instead of having to come back for additional runoff elections if no candidate gets a majority of the vote. People’s second choices will be counted instantly instead of weeks later, saving time and taxpayer money.