Friday, March 17, 2017

Ranked-Choice Voting in NYC

New York State Senate Bill S3309, Sponsored by: Andrew J. Lanza (R-24th District) would see New York City use Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) in Primary Elections for Citywide offices instead of Runoff Elections.

The State Assembly Version of this Bill is A5752, Sponsored by: Brian Kavanagh (D-74th District) with six Co-Sponsors.

CLICK HERE to read the two page (PDF) Bill.

In 2013, the Primary Runoff for Public Advocate cost the New York City millions of dollars and saw a steep drop in Voter Turnout and hundreds of thousands of dollars in spending from Campaigns and Special Interests.

Bill S3309/ is a common-sense fix to the issues caused by these Runoffs. In 2016, a prior Version passed with a resounding Bipartisan 60-2 vote.

It has already passed out of Committee this year, but making sure it is approved by the full Senate again means Lawmakers need to hear from you.

CLICK HERE to find your Senator.

Then, use this TEMPLATE:

Dear Senator, XXX,

I am a constituent, writing to request that you support S3309. S3309 would have New York City adopt ranked choice voting, also known as instant runoff voting, in citywide primary elections. In a time when municipal election turnout is declining, ranked choice voting promises to strengthen the voice of voters by allowing majority outcomes in a single round of voting. This eliminates the need for costly, low-turnout runoff elections.

In a ranked choice voting election, voters rank candidates in order of choice, from first to last. All first choice votes are counted, and if a candidate has a majority of those votes, they will win like in any election. If not, then the candidate in last place is eliminated. Voters who ranked the eliminated candidate as their first choice have their vote go instantly to their next choice, and the process repeats until one candidate wins with a majority.

Ranked choice voting allows voters to honestly vote for their favorite candidate without fear that it will help elect their least favorite. Campaigns must reach out positively to the entire electorate, beyond their base, discouraging personal attacks. Finally, elections are won with a majority in the final round without a lower turnout primary or runoff.

The many benefits of ranked choice voting have made it increasingly popular throughout the United States. Eleven U.S. cities are already using it and last year, Maine voted to become the first state to use ranked choice voting to elect its Governor, state legislature, and representatives in the US House and Senate. This year, legislation advancing ranked choice voting has been introduced in at least 18 states.

The Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center ( provides helpful information on options for ballot-counting that are proven to work. In 2013 and 2014, the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll conducted a comprehensive study of seven cities with ranked choice voting and found that voters both like and understand it, seeing it as having a positive impact on elections.

S3309 takes a narrow scope, applying only to primary elections for Mayor, Comptroller, and Public Advocate. This eliminates the risk of having to spend millions of dollars on a second election just weeks after the local primary, as was necessary in 2009 and 2013. Because of this common sense benefit, a prior version of the bill passed the Senate with a resounding bipartisan 60-2 vote in 2016.

More and more communities are recognizing that ranked choice voting is simply a better way of electing people. I hope you and your Senate colleagues will help us join them by passing this legislation again this year, and will work with your counterparts in the Assembly to make sure it passes there too.

Thank you,

Send them an Email or Call their office asking them to vote YES on S3309.

We’re counting on you to make New York a Leader in Reforming our Democracy.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is actually a pretty bad idea. IRV is a flawed, obsolete voting system that harms independents, perpetuates two-party rule, and behaves bizarrely in competitive elections.

Under IRV, increasing your support for a candidate can cause them to lose, and decreasing support for a candidate can cause them to win. IRV is unfairly biased against moderates, eliminating them and electing partisans instead, even when the moderate has the highest approval rating.

FairVote's letter claims that IRV "allows voters to honestly vote for their favorite candidate without fear that it will help elect their least favorite", but this is absolutely false. Under IRV, voting honestly can cause your second-favorite to be eliminated and your least-favorite candidate to win, while voting dishonestly would have caused your second-favorite to win ("favorite betrayal"). It doesn't eliminate the spoiler effect.

Burlington, VT adopted IRV, and it failed soon after, selecting a winner who was neither the most-approved nor the most-preferred. How much money was wasted on that foolish experiment?

There are many other voting systems, all of which are better than IRV. The best choices are probably Score voting or Score-Runoff voting (a modification of Score that discourages strategic voting). These eliminate the spoiler effect, the vote splitting effect, are precinct-summable, and perform much better than IRV. Please do due diligence researching voting systems and don't just believe everything FairVote says.