NYC Plans $15 Million Campaign for Ranked-Choice Voting Outreach

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New York City plans a $15 million campaign to educate voters about ranked-choice voting, a system the largest U.S. metropolis is using for the first time in a city mayoral election.

Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the plan Wednesday in a briefing, in which he also named Laura Wood as the city’s chief democracy officer to lead the outreach.

It’s “about your voice and knowing your voice matters,” Wood, senior adviser and general counsel to the mayor’s DemocracyNYC initiative, said during the briefing.

The officials spoke as Democratic mayoral candidates prepare to meet Wednesday evening for their first live in-person debate in advance of the June primary.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, and with infections starting to ebb, the mayor said city residents are just beginning to focus on the election.

In the new system, voters will be able to select as many as five candidates. If the top vote-getter secures more than 50% of the vote, he or she is declared the winner. If not, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and the votes redistributed among the second choices. The process continues until a candidate wins a majority.

The outreach campaign over the coming weeks will span television, radio, print and digital platforms and will be in as many as 18 languages, Wood said.

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