NY Election Night: Ranked choice voting approved; Williams reelected public advocate; Katz named Queens DA

1010 WINS Newsroom
November 05, 2019 - 11:50 pm
Voters cast ballots on election day 2019

(Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)


NEW YORK (AP) -- A relatively quiet but still groundbreaking election season in New York reached its conclusion Tuesday as voters across the state cast their ballots in county and municipal races.

CLICK HERE for NY election results

Polls closed statewide at 9 p.m.


Perhaps the most interesting contest in the state is taking place in New York City, where a referendum was held to decide whether to adopt a new type of voting system in some future elections.

Called ranked choice voting, the system would let people rank up to five candidates in order of preference, rather than picking just one to support. If no candidate gets more than 50% of first-place votes, it would create an instant runoff in which the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated, and the votes of people who favored that candidate are transferred to their second choice. That process continues until one candidate gets over 50%.

Other places, including Maine and San Francisco, already use ranked choice voting systems, but New York City is the most populous place yet to embrace it. It will be used only in primaries and special elections, starting in 2021.

New York City Public Advocate Race:

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams won his re-election on Tuesday evening.

The Democrat was a councilman from Brooklyn and won a special election for the position in February after Letitia James was named New York’s Attorney General in November.

Williams faced off in the general election against Republican Joseph Borelli, a councilman from Staten Island, and Libertarian Devin Balkind.

The public advocate is next in line to succeed the mayor.

Queens District Attorney Race:

Residents in Queens named former Borough President Melinda Katz as the new district attorney.

Katz was the favorite for the job after she squeaked out a Democratic primary win against Democratic Socialist of America candidate Tiffany Caban.

She then faced off against Joseph Murray in the general election – a retired police officer who ran as a Republican despite being registered as a Democrat.

Katz will now replace long-serving prosecutor Richard Brown, who died in May.

Other Ballot Questions In New York:

In addition to the first question that created ranked voting in New York, residents also voted "yes" on four other questions on the back of their ballots.

On Question 2, New Yorkers agreed to make the Civilian Complaint Review Board more powerful and allowing it to investigate and prosecute officers who lie during an investigation.

On Question 3, voters said they would like to place a two-year ban before official could lobby their former agencies.

On Question 4, New Yorkers took sides on a budget issue that would allow the city to establish a formal rainy day fund. Though, the measure still requires state approval.

The final question deals with land use and voters decided to give local community boards more time to respond to developers building plans by forcing them submit a summary earlier.

Few problems were reported during the week the polls were open, and officials are hopeful the system will run equally smooth when turnout soars next year.


Elsewhere in the state, voters are electing county executives and comptrollers, including on Long Island, where Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, a Democrat, was reelected for a third term. He ran against the county's Republican comptroller, John Kennedy.

Republican Joseph Saladino was reelected town supervisor in Oyster Bay.

Get all of the NY election night results here

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