By Nathan Lockwood 

The movement to bring ranked choice voting to all American elections received a major boost last week. Last Tuesday, New York City held its first ranked choice election to decide party primaries for Mayor, Comptroller, and 51 City Council seats, putting RCV in the national spotlight.

In the weeks leading up to the election, both reformers and critics understood that the primaries would test the viability of RCV. New York’s mayoral primary is the largest election decided by RCV. By early indications, it was an overwhelming success.

Rank the Vote’s head of Policy and Research, Nick Stabile, who served as Counsel to the Charter Revision Committee which brought RCV to New York, is sharing some key takeaways from the NYC election:

  • The Democratic primary for Mayor has over 800,000 votes and counting, over 100,000 more votes than the last competitive primary in 2013.
  • Early reports are that most New Yorkers found ranked-choice voting straightforward.  (For example, New York Times coverage, Rank the Vote NYC Press Release)
  • In the Democratic primary for Mayor, no candidate received more than 50% of the vote.
  • Ranked choice tabulation will, therefore, kick in.  The Board of Elections will undertake round-by-round tabulation until only two candidates remain, with the candidate with the most votes declared winner (and presumptive Mayor, in this heavily Democratic city).
  • The first round-by-round tabulation will be released on July 29.  (Schedule for results release.)

News of the positive experience in New York is generating momentum for the grassroots organizers building support for RCV across the country.

We cannot miss this opportunity and you can make a difference. Sign up and volunteer for the state group working for ranked choice voting where you live. If you are too busy to volunteer, your donation can help us quickly expand Rank the Vote’s national organizing team to maximize the effectiveness of our state partners.

We know when we organize, we can win and replace our weak plurality system with one which is more dynamic, inclusive and fair. We know you’re as committed as we are. Join us—your involvement is what is needed to grow the movement to transform politics with better elections.

Nathan Lockwood is the Executive Director of Rank the Vote.