NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Despite the snowstorm that socked the city to begin the week, the Queens special election continued as planned Tuesday.
Eight candidates are vying to fill the City Council seat formerly held by Rory Lancman.READ MORE: 'It Takes Away The Pain': New Jersey Woman Helps People Experiencing Homelessness Through Community Kindness Closet
And in this election, ranked-choice voting is being used for the first time, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.
Even under normal circumstances, special elections don’t usually yield high turnout — and mounds of snow doesn’t help.
“I don’t think a lot of people will show up to vote. Number one, it’s the timing. Number two, the weather,” voter Chandrowti Persaud said.
Around 2,000 people voted early in the Queens 24th District, which includes Kew Gardens Hills, Fresh Meadows and Jamaica.
On Monday, when the snowstorm hit, sanitation crews did extra passes to clear the path at polling locations.
After all, this election is different.
“People are voting less for who they don’t want and more, just a spread out of the people they want,” campaign volunteer Brock Goode said.
Goode attributes that to ranked-choice voting, first implemented in this special election. It’s a system that allows people to vote in order of preference, ranking candidates from their first to fifth choice.READ MORE: Amid Scandal Engulfing Gov. Cuomo, Experts Re-Examine What Constitutes Workplace Sexual Harassment
“Number 1 is your first choice, and your first choice counts. If your first choice is eliminated, then you have back-up choices that your vote transfers to,” said Susan Lerner of government watchdog Common Cause New York.
Common Cause advocated for the change, saying in other states it has given more diverse candidates a chance.
“The community support cumulates around a consensus winner and the vote doesn’t split,” Lerner said.
Faithful voter Tom Marsh said the ballot was easy to understand and feels it gives him a stronger voice.
“Your votes aren’t wasted. It makes every vote count more,” Marsh said.
It will take 13 days to finalize these election results, not because of ranked-choice voting, but because state law allows for more time to receive military and overseas ballots during a special election.
The polls closed at 9 p.m.
With 95% of precincts reporting, James Gennaro held a 60% lead.
For more on how ranked-choice voting works, please click here.MORE NEWS: NYC Parks Department Asks New Yorkers To Suggest Black Leaders For Park Renaming Project
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