On a Friday Zoom, City Council Candidates Lind and Omura Will Explain ‘Ranked-Choice Voting’ — And How It Could Help Them

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.


Sara Lind and Jeffrey Omura.

“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.

NEWS | 20 comments | permalink
    1. nemo paradise says:

      “Omura said. ‘Ranked-choice voting requires candidates to win a majority of support….’ ”

      It’s actually just the opposite, isn’t it? A candidate who had the fewest “first choice” votes could win. And it puts the choice into the hands of dealmakers instead of voters.

      • josh says:

        Nemo, it does require a majority. If no candidate has a majority, the lowest candidate is eliminated and votes for them will be moved to the second choice. This process continues until one candidate has an actual majority of votes.

        • tnic says:

          Just to clarify Josh’s point: if your first choice happens to be the candidate eliminated, then your vote moves to YOUR second choice candidate — not to the overall second place finisher.

          So a backroom “deal” between two candidates to throw second place votes to each other is an attempt to thwart an otherwise good process.

          That’s old world politics not a fresh start.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            reply to tnic:

            there is no “back room deal” here. what they did was transparent and totally in keeping with RCV. they are approaching it strategically.

            I am a Gale Brewer person but your criticism of these two candidates is off base.

    2. Paul says:

      The “fresh view?”
      Nice try at reframing the insult “Ok, boomer.”

    3. Leon says:

      Lind is way too “woke” for my taste. I was hoping Omura would provide a more moderate alternative but I guess that is not the case.

      I find it ironic that they are using ageism to badmouth Brewer (I am closer in age to them than to Brewer) and call her “more of the same” yet it sounds like they will just be continuing Helen Rosenthal’s tone deaf agenda.

      Thanks to WSR for the update and I am looking forward to more on where they stand on key issues.

      • Frank Grimes says:

        I agree that this could easily backfire. Despite knowing very little about Omura, His affiliation w/ the Uber-Woke Lind makes him an instant non-starter for me.

        • Juan says:

          I agree as well. Is there anyone running on a more moderate platform? Nationally I am a very passionate Democrat but for local elections, particularly in this neighborhood, I almost feel like a moderate Republican as most “Democrats” don’t speak for me. And I think there are many others who feel this way. I hope this isn’t an indication of what will happen in the mayoral election.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        could some of you “moderates” please define what you mean by “woke” and “Uber-woke”? What is it you are objecting to?

        • Truth Bearer says:

          Bruce, you know damn well what they are objecting to. All the quality of life issues for the last 2 years that are causing my customers to move across town because they can’t take the shelters, drug addicted and street peddlers, panhandlers & homeless any longer on our side of the park. Try to run a small business on Broadway & that will tell you all you need to know, but you know all this already. And YES, I’m compassionate, I just have common sense that it’s not working & we are tired of it.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            reply to Truth:

            afaik, all NYC laws and regulations apply on both sides of Central Park. the UWS simply is more diverse and has more low income people than the UES.

            the epithets of “woke” and “Uber-woke” were aimed above at Sara Lind and Jeffrey Omura. it is not clear what is meant. There are too many street homeless on the UWS? How does that relate to these two? what policies do they allegedly have that promote this? How are two private citizens at fault for this?

            Those who accuse candidates of being “woke” and “Uber-woke” should at the very least have to define what is meant.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            reply to Truth:

            PS: since your main concerns are the survival of small business on the UWS and the issue of the street homeless, you might actually want to look at what the various candidates have to say on these issues.

            “woke” usually means concern with racial and social justice. I fail to see how that could be a negative for either of these candidates. But i give the commenters the benefit of the doubt. maybe they meant something different. thus my question, which apparently rubbed you the wrong way.

    4. LivableCity says:

      Ranked choice voting is now sometimes called “1-2-3 voting” which conveys the simple notion of picking first, second, and third choices. It’s nice when a name can explain at least the process simply! Thanks for also noting some of the benefits. Gonna be hard for anyone to follow Gale as number one in this race, however.

    5. Bob Lamm says:

      It would be helpful if your article posted the time of the Zoom meeting. Thanks.

    6. Kiely Smith says:

      I recently discovered Sara Lind and she seems like exactly the candidate our neighborhood needs!
      I can’t wait to see her improvements to Broadway make us all safer on our streets. She also wants to support our senior citizens by getting them vaccines and social services which is more important than ever in these times. Bless our elderly neighbors!

    7. Dale says:

      Really excited about Sara Lind – she could bring new energy and a lot more engagement in our political process. I’ve rarely seen a candidate with such a thoughtful, far-reaching platform for immediate and long-term issues. I think Gale Brewer has done a great job as borough prez but I will vote based on the people on the ballot in front of me.

    8. Paul says:

      50 years after I first got involved in politics it’s sad to see that the formatted letters and comments by people who allege they’ve “discovered” a great new candidate haven’t changed one iota.

      Now, of course, they’re called ‘bots.’

      Bless our seniors, indeed.

      • Kiely Smith says:

        Lol @Paul I’m not a bot? A google search of my name would have clarified that. I was contacted by a volunteer for this campaign and liked their platform. And yes, bless our seniors—my 95-year-old grandpa was just diagnosed a few days ago with COVID. Our seniors need more help than anyone these days. Given how long you’ve been involved in politics, I might say bless you too! 😉