Ranked Choice Voting

A new way to vote in 2021

Ranked choice voting in NYC: what is it?
You get to rank your top five choices for a particular office. You can also write in a candidate. If no candidate gets at least 50% of the votes, the votes of the least-preferred candidates get redistributed according to a process until there is a winner. The candidate with the most votes after the first round may not end up winning. Check out the process in this minute-long video from Minnesota Public Radio.

Ranked choice voting also applies to special elections, but ST and PCV are not affected at the moment.

Who is eligible to vote?
Primaries are by party, and you must already be registered as a member of a party to vote in its primary. You can vote in only one party’s primary. The deadline to change party registration was February 14, 2021, and the deadline to register to vote in the primary was May 28, 2021. You may still register to vote in the general election.

Why are we voting this way?
Because the city’s voters voted yes on a ballot question in 2019.

Why should I bother to vote in the primary?
Whichever party you are registered with (and you must have done so in order to vote in the primary), the primary is your opportunity to choose the candidates you prefer and rank them. Where one party dominates, the primary may in effect represent the result of the general election.

For which offices will there be primaries with ranked choice voting?
Public Advocate
Borough President
City Council

Note: The Manhattan district attorney’s primary will not have ranked choice voting. Read more about this race on nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news platform The City.

What will the ballot look like?
The city’s Campaign Finance Board has posted an intro and an FAQ. 

I’m not registered to vote at my current address. Will I be able to vote in the general election?
The NYC Board of Elections has information on how to register or re-register. Among other things, you must be a US citizen, an NYC resident for at least 30 days, and at least 16 years old (you must be 18 on Election Day to vote).

The full election calendar, including the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot.

Who’s running?
Too many people to list here—especially for mayor! Do an online search for “NYC mayoral candidates 2021” or any office you’re interested in. You’ll have a lot of hits to choose from.


Posted 4/8/21; revised 5/29/21