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In Depth: Understanding NYC's new ranked choice voting method

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — When New York City voters head to the polls for the Democratic primary in the mayoral election on June 22, they will find a ballot much different than the ones they are used to.

The Democratic primary will be the second election in which voters will use the new ranked choice voting method.

The new method allows voters to rank candidates based on personal preference.

Sean Dugar, of the non-partisan group Rank the Vote NYC, says he thinks ranked choice voting will be beneficial for New York and says there will be no costly runoff elections because of it.

“Ranked choice voting is a new way of voting in New York City,” he said. “It will allow voters to rank up to their top-five favorite candidates, including a write-in, if they so choose.”

“Voters are realizing that a single choice in an election with 5, 6 or, in New York City, as many as a dozen candidates – it is not enough,” Daley said. “You end up with a plurality winner. Somebody who maybe has one as little as 25% or 30% of the vote taking office when more than 70% of the [voters] preferred somebody else.”

He believes that the process also helps to make room for third-party candidates to come out victorious.

“Voters are also frustrated with the amount of extremism and polarization in our politics right now, and when a candidate is able to win at 25% or 30% of the vote, they're incentivized only to appeal to their base,” he explains, noting that candidates who hope to win in ranked choice voting need to appeal to everyone.

Some people have criticized rank choice voting as being confusing, but Daley says it’s quite simple and many other locations across the United States – including Maine, Alaska and more than a dozen cities – use the voting method.

Listen to the full conversation with Sean Dugar and David Daley in this week's In Depth Podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts.

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