July 6th - RepresentWomen Lauds RCV Victory for Increased Women's Representation in NYC's Primary.

By Kaycie Goral on July 06, 2021


July 6th 2021 

Contact: Kaycie Goral

Women likely to hold majority of NYC Council seats after impressive wins in NYC primary elections which confirm that jurisdictions with ranked choice voting elect more women to office.

Takoma Park, MD. (July 6, 2021) - RepresentWomen, a nonpartisan organization that researches the impacts of ranked choice voting (RCV) on women's representation, is celebrating the success of women candidates in the New York City primaries. 

RepresentWomen's research on electoral reforms shows that RCV helps to elect more women to office and is an innovative & effective tool to build a 21st century democracy that better reflects all voters. Between 2010 and 2019, 19 jurisdictions used ranked choice voting to elect municipal officials. Overall, women won 48% of the seats up for election in these cities, about 20 points above the norm. The NYC primaries reinforce RepresentWomen’s findings that women fare better in ranked choice elections. 

Primary Election Highlights:

  • Women currently hold 14 of 51 city council seats and are poised to surpass parity on the council this election cycle. 
  • Women lead in 31 (2 R; 29 D) city council primaries. Of the nominees, 29 are likely to win the general election this November; 26 are women of color. 
  • Of the 14 women who previously sat on the city council, 5 are likely to hold their seats as incumbents, 2 have been defeated by women challengers, and the remaining 7 were term-limited out. Of the 7 open-seats previously held by women, women have been nominated to fill 5. 
    • In one of the Democratic primaries for the council, one woman scored a “comeback win” through ranked choice voting. Kristin Jordan (D-09) came out ahead of the incumbent, Bill Perkins, with 50.3 percent of the vote after 13 rounds. She is the only woman who defeated a male incumbent in the council primaries. 
  • Vanessa Gibson received the Democratic nomination for the Bronx Borough President with 53.5 percent of the vote after 3 rounds. 
  • Kathryn Garcia ran an incredibly strong campaign for mayor and finished with 49.5 percent of the vote after 8 rounds, despite being outspent by all of the other leading candidates according to Open Secrets.

For many first-time and BIPOC women candidates, RCV proved a key factor for their success, as it eliminates the trap of "conventional wisdom" for diverse candidates. In most of these races, women competed without the yoke of "splitting the vote" or "wait your turn" narratives to keep them from running. Additionally, women candidates were adept at coalition building, gaining second and third choice votes, and building grassroots support. 

Regarding the election, Founder and CEO of RepresentWomen, Cynthia Richie Terrell, said:

"There are many reasons why RCV benefits women, but it is not about helping one group over another. It is about creating a more level playing field, freeing voters and candidates from the "spoiler vote" trap, and rewarding a politics of increased engagement. The first woman elected to the NYC Council was in 1938 a year after the city adopted ranked choice voting for the first time and now, 83 years later, women are projected to make up the majority of council seats, I call that a resounding success for ranked choice voting and for women candidates.”

See RepresentWomen’s Press Kit for links to research on ranked choice voting, graphics, and other resources including our spreadsheet on the history of women’s representation on the NYC council and a second spreadsheet with up-to-date primary results for the council races.


RepresentWomen is a research-based advocacy group that promotes data-driven strategies to advance women's representation and leadership in the United States and abroad. With our research, we work in concert with our allies to address political barriers women face when running for office to ensure that more women can RUN, WIN, SERVE & LEAD.