Jersey City Passes Ordinance for Ranked-Choice Voting

Jersey City Passes Ordinance for Ranked-Choice Voting

JERSEY CITY – On Wednesday, April 10th in a 7-0-1 vote, Jersey City became the second city in New Jersey to adopt a Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) “trigger” ordinance. Advocates are calling this move the biggest step forward for the RCV movement in New Jersey to-date.

Introduced by Councilman Frank Gilmore (Ward F), this ordinance will put a question to Jersey City voters to decide whether they wish to adopt RCV for local elections. It is modeled off a similar ordinance previously passed by Hoboken. The ballot question will be triggered upon the passage of state bill S1622 / A4042, The Municipal and School Board Voting Options Act, which would surmount current barriers in state election law which stifles the ability for local leaders and their constituents to make decisions about how to run their local elections.

Ranked-choice voting is a voting process which allows voters to rank multiple candidates on their ballot in order of preference, and requires that a winning candidate receive support from a majority of voters. RCV is used across the globe, has been adopted statewide in Maine and Alaska, and is used in New York City and cities across the country. Supporters tout RCV as a way to ensure voters’ opinions are more accurately reflected by election results, as well as to address issues of political polarization, “strategic voting” and the “spoiler effect” that frustrate voters and candidates alike every election cycle.

“This decision underscores our dedication to empowering voters and promoting a more representative democracy. Ranked-choice voting not only encourages greater participation but also ensures that elected officials truly reflect the will of the people.” said ordinance sponsor Jersey City Councilman Frank Gilmore.

“I’m proud to have supported and worked with Councilman Gilmore, Voter Choice NJ, and efforts across the City to implement Ranked-Choice Voting in New Jersey,” states Ward E Councilman James Solomon. “RCV has been successful in cities and states across the country, including New York City and Maine, and I strongly believe that RCV will be an important next step for fairer, more open elections across New Jersey.”

“Supporting ranked-choice voting is the natural next step to enhance democracy in New Jersey” stated Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop in a written statement posted online prior to the vote. “I have been a vocal advocate of ranked-choice voting from the start as it directly aligns with my beliefs and efforts towards a more inclusive and representative democracy”

“I applaud the Jersey City Council for passing this ordinance in a near unanimous vote. Hoboken and now Jersey City are setting the example for what good government looks like. Now we need Trenton to act and give voters more agency at the ballot box” said Veronica Akaezuwa, Jersey City resident and leader with Voter Choice New Jersey.

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