Candidates running in NYC’s first few ranked choice elections already raising concerns

New York Elections

THE BRONX — New York City’s new ranked choice voting system will get two more tests ahead of the all important June primaries.

A pair of special elections in the Bronx to fill vacant seats for City Council Districts 11 & 15 did not produce apparent winners.

Eric Dinowitz is so far the leading vote getter in District 11 with 42% of the vote. Oswald Feliz is leading district 15 with 28%. Since nobody got 50% in both races both contests will move to a series of “instant runoffs” as part of the new ranked choice voting system.

Here is an explanation on how ranked choice voting and counting works from the NYC Board of Elections:

The more complicated counting process was done by hand and by computer in Queens last week. Between waiting for all absentee ballots to come in, and the counting, it was three weeks after Election Day before we knew Selvena Brooks-Powers would be the next councilwoman from Far Rockaway.

Both Dinowitz and Feliz expressed serious concerns about voter familiarity with ranked-choice voting. Each said it was a major focus of their campaigns. They had volunteers going door-to-door in multiple languages explaining the new system to often confused older New Yorkers, especially in low-income or neighborhoods of color.

Recent polling by PIX11 News found many New Yorkers of color, including 46% of Black voters surveyed, are unfamiliar with the new system. There is concern they might feel too intimidated too vote or unwilling to rank more than one candidate.

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