Watchdog Statement on NYC BOE Blunder


To No One’s Surprise, “Chronically Dysfunctional” NYC Board of Elections Makes Embarrassing Blunder in First Big Test of RCV

Ranked Choice Voting Works Around the Globe
And Is Working in New York City in 2021

Yesterday, the long troubled NYC Board of Elections (BOE) forgot to clear test votes from its unofficial, computerized tabulation of votes cast in person for citywide races. Though maddening, the ranked choice vote published by the NYC BOE did not include over a hundred thousand mailed-in absentee ballots, and the BOE never said it was a final or official count. Outside observers immediately caught the error, and the NYC BOE is correcting its mistake.

We strongly agree with the many watchdog groups and editorials calling for the NYC BOE to be replaced by a non-partisan, professional city agency – which will require changing the state constitution and state laws. For the moment, the NYC BOE is under intense scrutiny and will have to be far more methodical and transparent.

Regardless, New Yorkers should remain confident that Ranked Choice Voting works for them. Voting rights champions like Rep. Jamaal Bowman and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams wrote: “(RCV) has revolutionized our City Council races as well. Candidates who once knew they could win with 35 percent of the vote suddenly have to campaign everywhere and talk to everyone.” They also point to a FairVote study of 400 municipal RCV elections held nationwide since 2004, which they note found that:

 “…winning Black and Latino candidates grew their support between the first and final ballot rounds at a higher rate than winning white candidates. It’s a sign that candidates of color benefit from ranked choice voting’s round by round counting process. It also finds that voters of color actually rank more candidates than white voters.”