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From the States

Will the New Jersey Legislature save Jersey City from itself?

by Harry Roth

Will Jersey City follow its neighbor, New York City, and implement ranked-choice voting? That’s up to the New Jersey Legislature.

The Jersey City Council recently passed a trigger ordinance to implement RCV. The ordinance will only come into effect if the state changes the law to allow locales to use the convoluted election process. If the legislature wraps up its current session without passing the bill, the ordinance dies, and the process must be restarted. Hoboken passed a similar ordinance that was not tied to any specific bill.

The Jersey City Council doesn't have to experiment with RCV to see its effects; they can look just across the river to NYC. The system was first used in the 2021 NYC mayoral primary elections, which, by many accounts, was an absolute disaster marked by long delays. On top of that, the vote count was botched by the New York City Board of Elections.

Ranked-choice voting has since been expanded in the city and was most recently used in the 2023 city council primary elections, where results were again delayed for over a week.

It's unfortunate that Jersey City Council took the unwise step of passing the RCV ordinance. Now it's up to the New Jersey Legislature to reject RCV and save its citizens from long delays, ballot exhaustion, and all the chaos associated with the broken system.

Ranked-Choice Voting News Roundup - May 2024

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Ranked-choice voting now banned in Oklahoma

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