Don’t Overthink Ranked-Choice Voting, New York City


What does it mean for 2021’s mayoral race, and how can you fill out your vote?

If you agree with us that Ms. Garcia should get the job, rank her first. If you prefer another candidate, rank that person first. Next, rank all other candidates that you like or with whom you can live.

Be patient regardless of who you vote for. There’s a good chance that New Yorkers won’t know their next mayor on election night. It may take several weeks for a final result to be announced.

Not only is it more time-consuming to tabulate ranked-choice voting ballots, but New York also has several modern voting reforms. This includes absentee and early voting. Absentee ballots are allowed to arrive up to a week after the election, and voters have seven business days to fix any problems that might invalidate their ballots. Because so many people are expected to vote absentee this year, those ballots may be decisive in one or more races.

On election night, the city will release first-choice numbers from early votes as well as Election Day votes. One week later, it will release a ranked-choice tally of those ballots plus any absentee ballots that have arrived and been processed, which could result in a different candidate taking the lead.

All absentee ballots must be received within 24 hours and any errors fixed. The city must immediately release all results. A bill being considered in Albany would give public access and allow for anyone to view the raw digital results of election ballots within a week. The bill passed the Senate and is currently being voted on in the Assembly.

The bottom line is: Don’t overthink. Vote in the order that you like. Complete your entire ballot.

This year’s mayoral election will be one of the most important in recent history. It’s fitting that voters will have the opportunity to make that decision in a more democratic manner. New Yorkers have more power to choose their leaders thanks to ranked-choice voting. It is time to put it to good use.

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