Voter Information: Ranked Choice Voting in NYC
What Is Ranked Choice Voting?
The June 27, 2023 Primary Election will utilize the Ranked Choice Voting system to select candidates for City Council, District Attorney (Bronx, Queens, Staten Island), Civil Court, Delegates to the Judicial Convention, and party positions Want to know more? Check out our FAQs below and visit our Voter Information page.
Here, Frank Collerius and Crystal Chen from NYPL’s podcast, The Librarian Is In, offer a bitesize summary of the key features of Ranked Choice Voting and recap what happened when the Library and Gothamist asked New Yorkers to vote for their favorite NYC book.
How Does It Work?
Ranked choice voting allows people to vote for multiple candidates in order of preference. In New York City primary and special elections for local offices, you can complete the ballot indicating who is your first choice, second choice, and so on up to your fifth-choice candidate for each position. Learn more about Ranked Choice Voting at vote.nyc and nyccfb.info.
How to fill out your ballot:
- Rank your top five candidates in order of preference by coloring in the ovals on your ballot (do not write in any numbers)
- Mark your favorite candidate in the first column
- Mark your other preferences, up to five, in the respective columns
- Do not select more than one candidate in each column and do not skip any columns between preferences (you cannot mark only a first and a fifth preference, for example)
- Mark as many candidates as you feel comfortable ranking (up to five)
- Choosing multiple candidates does not hurt your first choice, but you can select up to five candidates
Now, see it in action:
This informational video from the NYC Votes and NYC Campaign Finance Board about Ranked Choice Voting is also available in:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ranked Choice Voting?
In New York City primary and special elections for local offices, you can rank up to 5 candidates in order of preference instead of choosing just one.
If I rank five candidates, am I voting five times?
No. Your vote is only considered for the highest “active” candidate on your ballot. For example, the vote for your second-choice candidate will only be counted if your first-choice candidate is knocked out.
Do I have to choose more than one candidate?
No—you can vote for just your first-choice candidate. But be aware that ranking other candidates does not harm your first choice—and, if you only select one candidate and they are eliminated, then you will not have any further impact on the outcome of the election.
Do I have to put five preferences?
No. You can choose to rank just one—but by ranking a second, third, fourth, and fifth preference, your vote could still have an impact on the outcome, if no candidate exceeds 50% of the vote. Remember, if no candidate exceeds 50% of the vote, those later preferences could get reallocated, all the way down to your fifth selection.
Can I rank my favorite candidate more than once?
Ranking your top choice more than once is no different from doing so one time. It also takes away the possibility for your other preferences (second through fifth), should no candidate receive 50% of the vote, to be taken into account.
Can I rank multiple candidates as my first choice?
No. Make sure you only choose one candidate for each ranking, or else your ballot will be invalidated.
How do I write in a different candidate?
There will be a “Write-in” line on your ballot. Write the name of your write-in candidate there, then fill in the appropriate oval to rank them.
What if I make a mistake? Will the voting machine let me know?
If you vote in person, the voting machine will alert you if you have given multiple candidates the same ranking. If you have made a mistake, you can ask a poll worker for a new ballot. However, the voting machine will not let you know if you have skipped rankings or have ranked the same candidate more than once. In those cases, your top-choice will still count.
When will I know the results?
Final results in elections using Ranked Choice Voting will not be known until all absentee and military ballots are counted. This could be several weeks after Election Day.
How Ranked Choice Voting Works (World Languages)
Get informed and make sure your voice is heard! Check out the Library’s resources and virtual events to make sure you’re prepared for upcoming elections.