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Read below for frequently asked questions about NYC's new system of ranked choice voting from DemocracyNYC and the Campaign Finance Board.

Starting in 2021, NYC will use Ranked Choice Voting in primary and special elections for local offices

You can rank up to 5 candidates in order of preference, instead of choosing just one.

You can still vote for just one candidate if you prefer.

The next Ranked Choice Voting election is the citywide Primary election on June 22nd. Find upcoming election dates and deadlines at voting.nyc.

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

Why are we using Ranked Choice Voting?

New Yorkers elected to use Ranked Choice Voting in a 2019 ballot measure. It passed with 73.5% support.

Which elections will use Ranked Choice Voting?

NYC will use Ranked Choice Voting in primary and special elections for local offices: Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President, and City Council.

How to fill out your ballot

Rank up to 5 candidates in order of preference.

ballot sample showing ranked candidates A through E with correctly filled in  ovals
  1. Pick your first-choice candidate and completely fill in the oval next to their name under the 1st column.
  2. If you have a second-choice candidate, fill in the oval next to their name under the 2nd column.
  3. You can rank up to 5 candidates. You can still choose to vote for only one candidate if you prefer. Ranking other candidates does not harm your first choice.

ballot sample showing ranked candidates A through E with incorrectly filled in ovals

Do not rank a candidate more than once. If you do, only your top ranking for them will count.


ballot sample showing ranked candidates A through  E with incorrectly filled in ovals for candidates B & C

Do not give multiple candidates the same ranking. If you choose more than one candidate as your first choice, your ballot will not be valid.

How your ballot will be counted

graph showing percentage of votes for candidates.  Candidate A has 16%, Candidate B has 54%, Candidate C has 22% & Candidate D  has 8% of votes

If a candidate receives more than 50% of first-choice votes, they win the election.

If no candidate earns more than 50% of first-choice votes, then counting will continue in rounds.

Ranked choice ballot sample correctly filled in  & a graph with voting percentages for candidates. Candidate A has 27%,  candidate B has 39%, candidate C has 22% & candidate D has 12%

Each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. If your top-choice candidate is eliminated, your vote goes to the next highest ranked candidate on your ballot.

Ranked choice ballot sample correctly filled in & a  graph with voting percentages for candidates. Candidate A has 31%, candidate B  has 45%, candidate C has 24% & candidate D has been eliminated

This process continues until there are only 2 candidates left. The candidate with the most votes wins!

Ranked choice ballot sample correctly filled in  & a graph with voting percentages for candidates. Candidate A has 42%,  candidate B has 58%, candidate C & candidate D have been eliminated

What are the benefits of Ranked Choice Voting?

Ranked Choice Voting gives you more say in who gets elected. Even if your top choice candidate does not win, you can still help choose who does.

More civility and less negative campaigning. Candidates who are not your top choice still need your support as your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th choice. This makes them more likely to appeal to a wider audience.

More diverse and representative candidates win elections. Cities that have implemented Ranked Choice Voting have elected more women and more women of color, making their elected officials more representative of their communities.

What's at Stake?

On June 22 and November 2, New Yorkers will vote in an important citywide Primary and General Election. The June Primary will impact the outcome of a number of critical races for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough Presidents, and a majority of the 51 City Council seats. These key governmental positions will affect our daily lives and determine how we address issues that matter most to New Yorkers, including housing, education, jobs, how the City spends its money, and public safety.

By voting in local elections New Yorkers can preserve democracy, ensure our voices are heard, and help shape our communities. By knowing our rights, registering voters, making voting plans, and educating our communities on new voting systems, we can safeguard our democracy and move toward greater civic engagement across all five boroughs.

Key Upcoming Dates

Primary Elections

For NYC Mayor; Public Advocate; Comptroller; City Council; Borough Presidents; and Manhattan District Attorney*.

  • May 28 - Deadline to register to vote in person or to postmark a voter registration form
  • June 15 - Absentee Ballot Request Deadline for Primary Election
  • June 12-20 - Early Voting for Primary Election
  • June 22 - Primary Election Day

*The Manhattan District Attorney race will not use Ranked Choice Voting.

General Election

Elections for: NYC Mayor; Public Advocate; Comptroller; City Council; Borough President; and Manhattan District Attorney.

  • October 8 - Deadline to Register to Vote for the General Election
  • November 2 - General Election Day

Voter Registration

Register to Vote by May 28

  • Visit the DMV to register to vote online at on.nyc.gov/DMVVoterReg (if you have a NY State ID).
  • Visit Turbovote.org/democracy and have a pre-filled registration form mailed directly to you.
  • Call the Board of Elections at 866-VOTE-NYC and request a voter registration form; The Board of Elections will send you a form with a pre-stamped envelope.

Already registered?

Make Your Plan to Vote

There are three ways to ensure your voice is heard at the ballot box: choose the option that works best for you!

Vote by Mail

If you would like to vote by mail you can request an absentee ballot online at nycabsentee.com or call 866-868-3692.

Vote Early

Every election will now have 9 consecutive days of early voting, starting 10 days before Election Day! This includes two weekends, early mornings, and late nights.

Vote on Election Day

You can also vote in person on Election Day. Polls are open from 6 AM - 9 PM.

What is the difference between primary and general elections?

A primary election determines which candidates from each party will be on the general election ballot. You must be registered with a political party to vote in a primary election. The general election determines which candidates get elected into office. You do not need to be registered with a party to vote in a general election.

Do I need an ID to vote?

NY does not require an ID to vote. If you are a first time voter or if you did not fill in the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number or state DMV number on your voter registration form, we recommend bringing an official photo ID with you to the polls.

Language Assistance

The Board of Elections provides language assistance at select poll sites in Bengali, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, and Spanish. The NYC Civic Engagement Commission offers language assistance at some poll sites in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Urdu, and Yiddish. For more information visit on.nyc.gov/PollLangAssist.

If you need help with reading your ballot you may be assisted by a person of your choice (other than your employer or union representative) when you go to vote.

Accessibility at the Polls

To request an accessible absentee ballot visit nycabsentee.com/accessibility.

For more information about voter accessibility and using the ballot marking device, please go to on.nyc.gov/VoteAccess.

About DemocracyNYC

We are a nonpartisan city initiative focused on increasing voter participation and civic engagement. DemocracyNYC also works to address and eliminate historic barriers to voting through public education, outreach, and policy reform efforts. Learn more at democracynyc.nyc.gov.

Resources

Practice makes perfect, NYC! Get your ranked choice voting practice in NOW before the June Primary: nyc.gov/RCVballot

Videos