Colin Reed: NYC mayoral primary – ranked-choice voting means things could get even worse for hard-hit city

New York mayor grilled on spike in shootings, critics cite anti-police sentiment

FOX News correspondent Aishah Hasnie joins ‘Special Report’ with the details

For anyone concerned about the future of elections, keep a close eye on a new trend called “ranked choice voting.” Alaska and Maine have implemented the system statewide, and New York City is using it for June’s mayoral primary. The implications are scary for the future of voting everywhere.  

This is not the year for New York City to serve as an election test lab. The city needs real leadership to pick up the pieces after eight years of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

It has been a long year for all Americans, but especially residents of Gotham. Rocked as the epicenter of the pandemic. Iconic restaurants and businesses shuttered. A governor caught in a series of headline-grabbing scandals.  

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At long last, there are glimmers of hope. Restored 24-hour subway service is weeks away, and a full reopening of restaurants and shopping is not far behind.  

It is easy to assume that New York’s next mayor will mark an automatic improvement over the status quo at Gracie Mansion. After all, under de Blasio’s watch, crime and housing costs have soared, while relationships with the New York Police Department and the business community have soured. Long before the pandemic, New York City’s population was declining as residents fled in droves.  

But ranked choice voting could make that wishful thinking. 

Instead of the traditional winner-take-all system, New York City voters will list up to five candidates in order of preference. If no candidate crosses the 50% threshold, the last place finisher is eliminated, and that person’s votes go to their voters’ second choices. This process repeats until one candidate reaches 50. 

The push from the progressives for ranked choice are ominous signs for the rest of us. The left knows ranked-choice increases the chance of one of their own catching a few breaks all the way to City Hall. As one prominent left-leaning columnist declared in the Washington Post, “already, this new system is changing the race for the better” because it makes it easier for those “committed to electing a progressive even if one candidate falters.” 

Ranked-choice voting means New York’s next mayor could make Bill de Blasio resemble Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s.  

Ranked-choice voting means New York’s next mayor could make Bill de Blasio resemble Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s.  

While more moderate candidates such as failed 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams consistently poll atop the Democratic field, their support is anything but assured. For one, neither is anywhere near the required 50% threshold. For another, about a quarter of voters are still undecided, according to a recent poll from Spectrum News NY1/Ipsos.  

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Meanwhile, as Comptroller Scott Stringer craters amid sexual assault allegations, there is an opening in the far-left lane. Maya Wiley is one progressive name poised to surge. She is a veteran of the de Blasio administration, and hardly a fresh face or break from the past for a city that desperately needs both.  

As his chief legal adviser, Wiley was a member of de Blasio’s “inner circle.” She referred to herself as “an ideological soulmate” of the current mayor. Wiley has supported policies out of the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren playbook, including doubling New York’s state income tax from 7.01% to 13.81%.  

None of this means Wiley will be the next mayor of New York. But the odds of her – or another extreme candidate – winning are far greater this year. 

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Before everyone gets excited about a new day dawning on New York City, remember that elections have consequences. The next regime could be even worse than the current one. As a recent Washington Post headline declared, “NYC’s Recovery Depends on a Mayor Who Can Revive Jobs, Tourism.”  

And if the left uses this scheme to get their way in New York, there’s no telling where they will stop. Success begets success.  Ranked-choice voting could quickly morph from the exception to the norm – and head to a ballot box near you. 

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