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Ranked-Choice Count Likely With No Clear Winner in Queens Council Race

Gloria Pazmino :: ny1.com

NEW YORK — A special City Council election in Queens could soon trigger the city's first ranked-choice voting count, after none of the nine candidates vying for the seat secured more than 50% of the vote on Tuesday night.

According to unofficial Board of Election results , Selvena Brooks-Powers was leading the field with 2,613 votes and 38% of the vote as of 11:26 p.m.

Coming in second place was Pesach Osina, who got 2,406 votes and 35% of the vote. Manny Silva came in third place, with 694 votes and 10% of the vote.

Brooks-Powers’ lead won’t be enough to get her campaign across the finish line.

In the new system of ranked-choice voting, candidates must secure at least 50% of the vote in order to be declared the winner in a race. If no one gets a majority of those first-choice ballots, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. That process continues until someone gets more than 50% of the vote.

If no candidate gets a majority, the lowest performer is eliminated and their votes redistributed. The process continues until someone gets more than 50% of the vote.

Despite that requirement, Brooks-Powers issued a statement Tuesday night thanking her supporters, saying she is confident she will eventually be declared the winner.

"We’re confident that once every vote has been counted, I will be the next Councilwoman," Brooks-Powers said. "While there was substantial confusion about Ranked Choice Voting, these early results are promising and I look forward to all of the votes being counted."

Brooks-Powers, who has served in various roles, including city and state government positions and as a labor organizer, is the candidate of choice for the Queens Democratic County organization. She secured several endorsements from numerous elected officials ahead of the election, including Donovan Richards, who held the seat until he vacated the office after being elected Queens borough president. Brooks-Powers also secured the backing of Queens Rep. Greg Meeks and several of the city's powerful unions.

Board of Election officials said on Tuesday that the counting of ranked-choice voting rounds will not begin until March 10. The delay will allow absentee and military ballots to be returned in time for what is expected to be a hand count of the ballots.

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