NYC uses Ranked Choice Voting for local offices

In primary and special elections for city offices, you can now rank up to five candidates in order of preference instead of choosing just one.

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There’s a new way for New Yorkers to have their say in city elections. A way that gives voters more choices and can lead to more diverse winners. 

It’s called Ranked Choice Voting. 74% of New York voters chose to use it in primary and special elections for city offices like Mayor and City Council. You won’t see Ranked Choice Voting in general elections or elections for state or national offices. But in Ranked Choice Voting elections, you can now rank up to 5 of your favorite candidates for each office.

Here’s how Ranked Choice Voting works:

  • On your ballot, you’ll see candidates listed in rows and numbered rankings in columns
  • Pick your 1st choice and completely fill in the oval next to their name under the first column
  • Like always, you can just vote for your one favorite candidate and submit your ballot
  • But, you might like several people
  • If you have a 2nd choice, fill in the oval next to their name under the second column
  • Do the same thing for your third, fourth, and fifth choices if you have them

A few don’ts:

  • Don’t rank the same candidate more than once. It won’t help them and it takes away your chance to rank the others who are running. 
  • Don’t give the same rank to multiple candidates. It could disqualify your ballot.
  • Don’t worry! This is a new process and you can always ask a poll worker for help, or for a new ballot if you make a mistake.

So how do ballots get counted with Ranked Choice Voting?

If one candidate gets more than 50% of everyone’s first-choice votes, they win the election right away. That’s it! If no candidate gets more than 50%, ballots will be counted in rounds. Round by round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. So, if your top-rated candidate is eliminated, your vote goes to your next highest choice. This keeps going until only two candidates remain. The person with the most votes wins!

Ranked Choice Voting is already popular in many cities around the country because voters find that it helps more voices be heard. Now it’s our turn. 

Get answers to your questions and learn more at


Why do we use ranked choice voting?

New Yorkers elected to use ranked choice voting in a 2019 ballot measure. It passed with 73.5% support.

Which elections use ranked choice voting?

NYC will only use ranked choice voting in primary and special elections for city offices including: 

  • Mayor
  • Public Advocate
  • Comptroller
  • Borough President
  • City Council

What are the benefits of ranked choice voting?

There are several ways that ranked choice voting could benefit New York City voters:

  • It gives you more say in who gets elected. Even if your top choice candidate does not win, you can still help choose who does.
  • It gives you more choices. You can rank up to five candidates, allowing you to support your favorite candidate without worrying about whether they’re likely to win. 
  • More diverse 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.

How to fill out your ranked choice ballot

Learn how to fill out your ranked choice ballot correctly. Then practice ranking your choices!

Illustration of a Ranked Choice ballot

Try a practice ballot

How votes are counted with ranked choice voting

Learn how votes are counted in ranked choice elections. Then view mock election results!

Illustration of a Ranked Choice Voting ballot being calculated

Learn how votes are counted

Top FAQs

Can I still vote for just one candidate?

Yes! You can still vote for just your 1st-choice candidate. However, ranking other candidates does not harm your 1st choice. If your 1st and only choice is eliminated, your vote will have no influence on the outcome of the election.

Do I have to rank a total of 5 candidates?

No. You can rank up to five candidates, but you do not need to rank a total of five. 

Can I rank my favorite candidate more than once?

No. If you rank your preferred candidate more than once (for example as your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th choice), then only your first ranking will count. There is no strategic benefit to giving the same candidate multiple rankings.