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Campaign 2021: Polls Open For Early Voting In New York City Primaries; First With Ranked Choice Voting

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Early voting is underway in New York City's primaries for key offices including mayor and comptroller. These are first citywide elections with ranked choice voting.

Polls opened at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is being used as an early voting site, CBS2's Christina Fan reported.

"Very easy, very clear, well-managed," Upper East Side resident Lowell Copeland said.

With such a deep pool of mayoral candidates, early voters took advantage of ranked choice voting.

"It was easy. I mean, it wasn't a surprise. I read all the literature on it so I knew how it's gonna go. I made all my decisions ahead of time so I didn't have to think when I got to the polling place," one voter said.

"I loved it. It was like, I did much more research on the candidates," Upper East Side resident Margie Clark said.


The Board of Elections has been putting out videos to prepare people for the ballot, explaining that you can now rank up to five candidates.

If a voter's first choice doesn't get traction, their vote transfers to their second choice, and so forth. If a candidate gets the majority of votes, over 50%, they are declared the winner.

Watch: How Does Ranked Choice Voting Work? --

"This way you're looking much more deeply, see we have a very deep candidate pool in New York and you get, really, to evaluate their skills, their credentials, their experiences. And I feel like I'd take any one of these five people," said another.

"I'm wondering how the outcome will be. Somebody who got a lot of seconds might actually end up first," Upper East Side resident Christine Schutt told CBS2's Lisa Rozner.

Some Democratic candidates for mayor wasted no time hitting the polls on the first day of early voting.

"It's a little surreal to vote for yourself," Kathryn Garcia said.

"Feeling lots of momentum in the last 10 days," Shaun Donovan said.

Saturday is the start of a sprint to the finish line of campaigning.

Watch CBS2's leading contenders debate --

The National Action Network hosted a Show Up Turnout event with several candidates.

"The fundamental right of citizenship is the vote," Maya Wiley said.

"We're going to finish this last mile and the next 10 days and have a new mayor in the city of New York," Eric Adams said.

"The more candidates you rank, the more successful that this process will be," Andrew Yang said.

"What's on the ballot today is integrity. What's on the ballot today is ethics," Ray McGuire said.

Voters can rank up to five candidates for other races as well, including public advocate, borough president and city council.

Two candidates are running in the Republican primary for mayor.

Early voting ends June 20.

CBS2's Christina Fan contributed to this report.

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