The Board of Elections is exploring “instant runoff voting” in this year’s citywide races, allowing voters to select their first and second choices for citywide offices at the ballot box in September. Such a system would obviate the need to hold a second election between the top two vote-getters in a primary.
The board’s commissioners discussed the instant runoff option at a little-noticed Jan. 3 meeting in Manhattan. For months, the board has been seeking to move this year’s primary to June from September to allow for more time for a runoff—which is triggered when no candidate gets at least 40% of the vote—and to consolidate federal, state and local elections. The state Legislature has so far not acted on the board’s request.
Instant runoff voting, which allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, is one option among eight that was mulled over by the board. The board voted to explore two of them: “instant runoff” and a method allowing voters to pick two candidates without ranking them.