By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The primary election last month in New York City was anything but smooth.

On Monday, a state Assembly hearing was held to unpack what worked and what didn’t when it comes to ranked choice voting.

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As CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported, the long wait for election results and the confusion over ranked choice voting took center stage at the New York City College of Technology.

“This is the ranked choice voting postcard that the city spent its $2 million on. This was the education that happened,” said City Councilmember I. Daneek Miller.

That criticism was repeated over and over again at the state Assembly hearing. Civil rights attorney Esmerelda Simmons said when you look at places where ranked choice voting has worked, they did a lot to get people ready.

“They had a very long educational period. They did things in school … parent teacher night. Six months, nine month education — not two months,” said Simmons.

On WNYC, Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams said he supported ranked choice and still does, but admitted the rollout wasn’t great.

“We should have been better prepared. We should have made sure we ironed out all the kinks before we executed it,” Adams said. “There was no urgency to get this done and I believe that was a big mistake.”

Adams said it also helped fuel a divide in the city.

“Your New York Times readers, your Wall Street Journal readers, and all of those that have that ability to analyze all of this information, it’s fine for them. But that’s not the reality when English is a second language. That’s not the reality for 85-, 90-year-old voters who are trying to navigate the process,” Adams said.

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But community groups at the hearing said New Yorkers knew enough about ranked choice.

“I know there has been criticism by some that there was not enough education, that this happened too quickly. Not true at all,” said Kate Doran of the League of Women Voters.

They pointed to an exit poll that found 95% of voters thought the ballot was simple to complete. Eighty three percent voted for at least two candidates, with another 77% saying they’d want future elections to feature ranked choice.

“The problem with June’s primary election was not ranked choice voting. It was the incompetency of the Board of Elections,” said Assembly member Robert Carole.

Simmons slammed the Board of Elections for how it posted the results, comparing it to a horse race.

“We’re not waiting to see who’s ahead in the second lap, who’s ahead in the third lap. No, we wait ’til the end, and then declare, or dare I say, certify the results,” Simmons said.

Next week, the State Senate elections committee plans to hold a separate hearing focused exclusively on the Board of Elections.

The city will use ranked choice voting for the November elections for mayor, public advocate, and other offices.

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CBS2’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report. 

CBSNewYork Team