How to make sure your ballot doesn’t get ‘exhausted’

New York Elections

NEW YORK — The city’s new ranked choice voting system will not lead to votes being “thrown away” as some have suggested, but said there is concern about “exhausted ballots.”

“An exhausted ballot is when everyone you’ve ranked is no longer in the race,” said long-time ranked choice voting advocate Sean Dugar with Rank The Vote NYC.

The goal in any ranked choice voting election is for one candidate to get to 50% of the vote using the rankings.

If you don’t have a second, third, fourth or fifth choice and your candidate is eliminated, your vote is set aside for counting purposes.  For example, during a special election to elect Bronx City Councilman Oswald Feliz, more than one out of every five ballots was not used by the end of counting.

“The more candidates you rank, the more your voice is heard in the process and the longer your ballot works for you,” Dugar said.

Rank The Vote NYC suggests following this formula when ranking:

1st Choice: The candidate you love.

2nd choice: The candidate you like.

3rd or 4th choice: The candidate you like slightly less.

5th choice: The candidate you can stand.

Speaking with voters on the campaign trail, candidates, especially in the crowded mayor’s race where the rankings will play an outsized role the conversations, are pragmatic.

“I have been telling voters they should fill out all five if they can and certainly no less than three if they don’t feel they can do more,” candidate Maya Wiley said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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