Legislation

Currently there are Senate and Assembly Bills for pilot programs for RCV to be used in a limited manner for local elections. While we at RankedChoiceNY support these bills, we prefer to see more comprehensive bills introduced that follow Maine’s successful legislation.

Assembly Bill A8073
2019-2020 Legislative Session  Establishes a ranked choice voting method for certain local elections; provides for repeal of such provisions. Introduced by Lifton.
CURRENT BILL STATUS –
In Assembly Committee Elections Committee

Senate Bill S491
2019-2020 Legislative Session Establishes a ranked choice voting method for certain local elections; provides for repeal of such provisions. Introduced by Liz Kruger (D) 28th, Co-Sponsors: Brad Hoylman (D) 27th, Rachel May (D) 53rd, José M. Serrano (D) 29th. CURRENT BILL STATUS –
In Senate Committee Elections Committee

An act to amend the election law, in relation to establishing a ranked choice voting method for certain local elections; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof

PURPOSE: To permit the use of the ranked choice voting method on a trial basis in elections in the years 2022 and 2023. This pilot program would permit the State Legislature to evaluate the broader application of the ranked choice voting method.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: A new Article 18 of the election law is established.

JUSTIFICATION: The current system of elections often results in the election of a candidate that does not have the majority of the electorate when there are three or more candidates running for an elected office. When there are three or more candidates in an election, voters often will not vote for their preferred candidate to avoid “wasting” their vote on a “spoiler” candidate. Rather, they will vote against a candidate they dislike, by voting for a leading candidate that they perceive as the lesser of two evils. The result of the current system in multi-candidate elections can be the selection of candidates that lack majority party support.

There are several, potential benefits to the RCV method. First, voters are free to mark up their ballot for the candidate they truly prefer without fear that their choice will help elect their least, favorable candidate. Second, it ensures that the elected candidate has a true majority support. In addition, the RCV method will (1) promote higher voter turnout, and (2) encourage positive campaigning, since candidates will seek second-choice and third-choice votes from voters and will therefore be less likely to attack other candidates and alienate voters that support other candidates as their first choice. In situations where runoffs are already required, it will eliminate the need for a second runoff election, with its increased costs and lower voter turn- out. The RCV method frees voters to mark their ballots for the candidate they truly prefer without fear that their choice will help elect their least preferred candidate.