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2 Candidates Partner In Ranked-Choice Voting For UWS Council Race

Patch logo Patch 1/25/2021 Gus Saltonstall
a person with collar shirt: Two candidates for the Upper West Side's City Council District 6 race announced a partnership on Monday that looks to use ranked-choice voting to their advantage. © Renee Schiavone/Patch Two candidates for the Upper West Side's City Council District 6 race announced a partnership on Monday that looks to use ranked-choice voting to their advantage.

UPPER WEST SIDE, NY — Two candidates for the Upper West Side's City Council District 6 race announced a partnership on Monday that looks to use ranked-choice voting to their advantage.

Sarah Lind and Jeffrey Omura are both running as Democrats for the open seat vacated by the term-limited Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

The two candidates are holding an event on Friday to discuss their "Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) partnership as part of their commitment to Common Cause to educate voters," according to a news release.

Common Cause is a democratic organization that describes itself as "leaders in the movement for election administration reform, campaign finance reform and upholding ethics laws to impact systems that undermine people’s faith in democracy."

For the first time in 2021, City Council races will deploy the recently passed ranking choice voting method.

The method of voting first used in New York City in 2020 is still not always the easiest to understand.

Here's how City & State explains it:

"Ranked-choice, or instant-runoff voting, allows voters to choose multiple candidates and rank them by order of preference. In New York City, primary and special-election voters will have the choice to rank up to five. So let’s say you like Candidate C the best, but you also like Candidate A and to a lesser extent Candidate B. You can rank Candidate C as your first choice, Candidate A as your second and Candidate B as your third. You don’t have to rank all five – in fact, you can just choose one candidate. But the option is there for you to voice your support for multiple candidates.

Once the polls close, if a candidate wins a majority of first-choice votes, that person wins outright. If no one has a majority of first-choice votes, after the first round, the person with the lowest number of first-choice votes is eliminated. That candidate’s votes are redistributed to the second-choice candidate on the ballots. The process is repeated for each round – the person with the lowest number of votes gets eliminated and their votes get redistributed to other candidates that have been ranked on the ballot – until only two candidates are left. The person with the most votes then is the winner."

A majority, in this case, is over 50 percent.

So why partner with another candidate?

By creating a partnership, Lind and Omura are telling their voters to rank them as either No. 1 or No.2 on the ballot. This way, if one of them gets eliminated, all of the eliminated candidate's votes would then go to the candidate remaining between the two.

"I worked with Common Cause to help pass RCV because we are a majority democracy. New Yorkers deserve elected officials who earn over 50% of the vote," Lind said in a news release. "It's also proven that Ranked Choice Voting opens opportunities to a more diverse field of candidates to compete against longtime incumbents. 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, an attorney and member of the Upper West Side Community Board 7, references "longtime incumbents" in her statement. While there isn't precisely that in the UWS City Council race — there is Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Brewer is considered the favorite in the race after serving eight years as the Manhattan Borough President and 12 years in the exact same City Council seat she is running for again in 2021.

Zach Weiner, an actor and film producer, and David Gold, the executive director of a non-profit, are also candidates in the race.

“Ranked Choice Voting gives the residents of District 6 more options, more power, and more choice,” said Omura in a news release, who was recently elected to his second term as an Office of Actors' Equity Association. “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.”

Event

Lind and Omura will discuss the partnership in an event on Friday at 6:30 p.m. over Zoom. It will be hosted by drag comedian and live vocalist Gina Tonic.

Attendees will learn about ranked-choice voting by ranking favorite restaurants, bars, and parks on the Upper West Side.

You can sign up for the Zoom here.

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