Ranked Choice Voting in New York City

November 1, 2021

In 2019 voters approved an amendment that allows New York City to use ranked choice voting though they use a different version than what you can find on ElectionBuddy.


New York City

The version of ranked choice voting that New York City utilizes is as simple as:

  • If a candidate receives more than 50% of the first-choice votes they will win.
  • If no candidate reaches 50%, then the counting will continue into rounds.
  • The last-place candidate is eliminated at the end of each round. If that candidate is eliminated the voter’s choice is now counted towards their next choice.
  • The vote is only ever allocated to another candidate if the first choice is eliminated, this will continue onwards if their next choice is also eliminated.
  • If 50% isn’t reached this continue until there are two candidates left, and the candidate with the most votes wins.

ElectionBuddy & Meek’s Method

ElectionBuddy uses a version of ranked choice voting, but we use Meek’s Method to determine a quota to eliminate the candidates at:

  • If the candidate does not meet the quota as determined by Meek’s then voting moves into rounds. To generate the quota, the total number of submitted votes in an election is divided by the number of vacancies plus one, then 1/109 is added to that quotient.
    An example:
    Let’s say we have 120 votes cast and the election has one vacancy.
    120/(1 vacancy + 1) + 0.000000001 = 60.000000001 is the required quota.
  • In the first round, the first preference on each ballot counts as a vote for them. Any candidate that reaches the quota is considered a “winner”. If one candidate surpassed the quota their surplus votes are transferred.  If no candidate surpassed the quota, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes are transferred to the next choice.
  • This continues until there is a winner left outstanding. If there is a tie, then a candidate is randomly selected for elimination.

At some point, the quota may change if a vote is “exhausted". This happens if the voter has not indicated a different candidate to transfer their vote to or if their candidate indicated has already been eliminated. Once their first ranked candidate is eliminated, their vote is eliminated. This changes the quota as the total number of votes cast decreases.

For more information, please check out our help article and this article on Meek’s Method.

Conclusion

There are many different voting systems that you can use to run your voting, and within that, there might be different methods. We recommend reading your bylaws to determine what voting system should be used for your elections. Please reach out to us at support@electionbuddy.com if you have any questions regarding our voting systems.

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