How to Rank Your Vote

For the first time this year, you can rank up to FIVE candidates for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President, and City Council.

Even if your #1 choice candidate does not win, you can still help choose who does.

  • Who do you love? That’s your #1.
  • Who do you like? That’s your #2. 
  • Who are the candidates you’re OK with? Rank them #3, 4, and 5. 
  • Make sure to fill in the correct bubbles on your ballot.

Ranking your vote allows you to care less about “electability” — you can rank your favorite candidate #1 even if you think they don’t have a chance to win, without the feeling that you are wasting your vote. Because, if you’re right and your #1 candidate drops off the rankings, your vote for #2 will get counted, and so on down the line. (Of course if more people feel the way you do, maybe we can stop caring about “electability” and just elect the people we want by voting for them!)

On your ballot, you’ll see candidates listed in rows, and ranked choices 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 listed as columns with bubbles to fill in for each.

Fill in the #1 bubble on the row with your first choice candidate. Fill in the #2 bubble on the row for your next choice, and so on.

You can practice on a sample online ballot here.

Since it’s so new, the idea of ranked choice may seem intimidating, but the way it works is actually very simple.

  • All 1st choice votes are counted. If a candidate receives more than 50% of votes, they win.
  • However, if no candidate earns more than 50% of 1st choice votes, then counting will continue in rounds.
  • Each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. If your highest-ranked candidate is eliminated, your vote goes to the next highest ranked candidate on your ballot.
  • This process continues until there are only 2 candidates left. The candidate with the most votes at that point wins.

Watch how sample ballots are counted until there is a winner.

One more thing: this isn’t like co-op board elections, where there is sometimes an advantage to “bullet voting” for only one candidate even though you are allowed to vote for more. In the co-ops, board election votes are equal and cumulative, so your votes for candidates you only like a little bit may help knock out the candidate you most want to see on the board.

With NYC ranked choice, that’s not the case. Your second choice vote will be counted only if your first choice has been eliminated. So just vote for whom you want, don’t try to game the system.