NYC Voters Also Pass Ballot Measure To Adopt Ranked Choice Voting System

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Polls have closed in New York’s first election with early voting, as people across the state cast ballots in county and municipal races.

With 100% of the precincts reporting, the Associated Press said incumbent New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams won re-election with 73% of the vote. Republican challenger Joe Borelli received 25%.

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Williams initially won the post in a special election in February, which was set after Letitia James won her bid to become state attorney general.

Meanwhile, Queens has a new district attorney. Borough President Melinda Katz defeated Republican Joe Murray.

Katz had won the Democratic primary by a razor-thin margin. She addressed supporters at her headquarters Tuesday night.

“We are facing here an opportunity to make a national model for criminal justice reform, and if we don’t do it right here, it’s going to have massive effects all throughout this country,” she said.

Late Tuesday night, Republican Don Clavin was beating incumbent Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen by about 1,500 votes, however Gillen did not concede and head of the Nassau Democratic Committee said absentee ballots had not yet been counted.

In Mount Vernon, Democrat Shawyn Patterson-Howard will become the first African-American woman to be a mayor in the history of Westchester County. She declared victory and with more than 50% of the vote counted, she was way ahead of acting Mayor Andre Wallace.

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There were five ballot proposals for New York City voters.

New York City residents voted to adopt a ranked voting system for primaries and special elections.

The measure that passed Tuesday will take effect in 2021 and covers the offices of mayor, public advocate, city comptroller, borough president and city council.

Under the new system, voters will rank their choices from 1 to 5. Second- and third-place votes will help determine the result if no candidate wins at least 50% of first-place votes.

Supporters of ranked voting say it forces candidates to broaden their appeal beyond their own base so they’ll be chosen second by voters who like another candidate best.

Opponents say the system is confusing and can hurt the chances of minority candidates.

NEW YORK ELECTION RESULTS

With no federal or statewide contests on the ballot, turnout was expected to be low.

But this year’s contests served as a rehearsal for next year’s blockbuster presidential race.

It marked the first time New York allowed all registered voters to cast ballots before Election Day. Officials said roughly a quarter million ballots were cast in the state between Oct. 26 and Sunday.

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(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)