By Carol Tannenhauser
At least two things are notable about the 2021 City Council Democratic primary election for the 6th-District seat that Helen Rosenthal will be term limited from: ranked-choice voting will be in effect, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is on the ballot.
Ranked-choice voting is not as complicated as it seems, according to Common Cause, a nonprofit advocacy group working to educate the public about it.
…ranked-choice voting simply asks you to list your preferences…Voters get to express which candidate they like the most, and also which candidates they would prefer if their favorite does not have enough popular support to win.
Furthermore, candidates with similar platforms need to form coalitions and work together during the campaign…This need for collaboration means that ranked-choice elections tend to have more positive and constructive campaigning.”
One coalition has already been formed by two of the six declared Democratic City Council candidates. On Monday, Sara Lind and Jeffrey Omura announced that they are teaming up, meaning Lind will ask her supporters to list Omura second, and Omura will do the same for Lind.
“Jeffrey and I hold similar values, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to work together to push a progressive agenda on the Upper West Side,” Lind said.
“Sara and I agree it’s time for a fresh start for our neighborhood, and I look forward to teaming up with her to ensure we usher in a renaissance for all,” Omura added.
A “fresh start,” a “renaissance”; references, perhaps, to Brewer, who is 69 and has already served three terms as District 6’s council member, from 2002 to 2013. For the past 8 years, she has been Manhattan’s enormously respected and popular borough president. Lind and Omura are hoping ranked-choice voting can level the playing field and prevent them from splitting the vote.
“In the old electoral system, a candidate could win with far less than 50% of the vote,” Omura said. “Ranked-choice voting requires candidates to win a majority of support, encouraging them to engage with more voters, reach beyond an established base, and give more of a voice to historically disenfranchised folks throughout the city.”
Still not completely clear? How, for example, are the votes tallied? Lind and Omura are holding an event via Zoom on Friday, January 29th, at 6:30 p.m., to announce their partnership and explain ranked-choice voting further. The unlikely host will be Drag Comedienne and Live Vocalist, Gina Tonic. Attendees will learn about ranked-choice voting by ranking favorites on the Upper West Side, including restaurants, bars, and parks. Here is the link to join the Zoom event: bit.ly/GinaTonicUWS.
The 2021 primary elections in NYC will be held on June 22, 2021. The general election will be held on November 2nd.
We will be covering all of the candidates in future stories.