By Leslie Boghosian Murphy, Candidate for City Council District 3
Have you ever been forced to vote with your head, when you really wanted to vote with your heart?
Perhaps you went to the polls and selected one candidate when you really wanted to choose another, but because you believed your preferred person did not have a strong shot at winning you selected the “popular” contender?
This year for the first time in New York City history we have a new process to help make our election outcomes more representative of what voters truly want. Ranked Choice Voting (or “RCV” for short) received an overwhelming 74% of NYC voter support when proposed in a 2019 ballot measure, and 2021 is the first year that a citywide election will introduce the new method.
Having been implemented in 17 other cities across the United States, including San Francisco, the results of an RCV-style election allow for better representation of the community’s preference in candidates, and less polarization of the final outcome.
The new process is simple—instead of choosing just ONE candidate, you have the opportunity to rank up to five candidates, in order of preference. This way if your first pick does not win, you still have a say in the final outcome. No vote is “wasted.”
Here’s how the results break down:
Candidates who receive more than 50% of the first-choice votes automatically win.
If no candidate receives over 50%, then counting continues in rounds.
In each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. (If your top choice candidate is eliminated, your vote then goes to your next highest ranked candidate on the ballot).
The process continues until there are only two candidates left, and the person with the most votes WINS.
Why is Ranked Choice Voting better?
For starters, by ranking multiple candidates your vote can still impact who gets elected even if your top choice does not win.
Ranked Choice Voting provides a more civilized election. Because candidates will be seeking broad support (even from voters who may not rank them first), their campaigns are more likely to focus on appealing to voters rather than attacking other candidates. (And after the last two national elections, I believe we have experienced more than our fair share of “attack politics”).
RCV has proven to be more equitable in electing women and people of color, which is critically important to a city as diverse as New York.
This is of particular significance to me. There are 53 Council seats in New York City and currently only 13 of those seats are held by women. That number does not reflect balance, equality or our city’s demographics. With all of the open seats in September that count could dwindle to a mere five women in City Council! I do not want to imagine our city’s future with only 10% female representation. As a mother and proponent of diverse leadership, I want to set a strong example for my daughter and all of the young ladies out there who are watching us.
As with any change, there may be some confusion at the ballot box. However, the beauty of this new process is that YOU the voter now have more say in the final outcome for our next Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President and City Council member. Learn more about Ranked Choice Voting here.
I urge you to carefully examine each of the candidates, do your homework on their platforms (mine can be viewed at www.LeslieForNYC.com) and vote with your head AND your heart! New York City’s future hangs in the balance, and we need elected officials who are up for the challenge of revitalizing the greatest city in the world.
Leslie Boghosian Murphy has lived in the District for over 17years. As a third generation New Yorker, her career as an investigative journalist helped shaped her forward-thinking “get it done” mindset which our district needs as we anticipate the Post-Pandemic era. Boghosian Murphy is a mother and Executive Member of Community Board 4 who is running for City Council in District 3, which includes West Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.