The upcoming 2021 mayoral election is all the buzz right now, for both significant and unusual reasons. This is the first-ever mayoral election in New York City to use ‘ranked-choice voting’ – a progressive approach that aims to enhance fairness within the voting process.

Additionally, the number of candidates is at a staggering and unheard-of 40+ and counting! But don’t worry – we’ve narrowed it down to a few of our favorite candidates (as of March 25th, 2021) to give you a head start on what you can expect as the primary election approaches.

How Does Ranked-Choice Voting Work?

When picking favorites, it’s hard to come up with just one. Movies, best friends, bands – political candidates!? Chances are, more than one of them stands for something you believe in, and with a roster this extensive you might be happy to see any number of them win the race.

Simply put, ranked-choice voting lets you vote for multiple parties, listing them from your favorite to least favorite.

If a candidate gets more than half of the ‘first choice’ votes, they win. If no one does, the next step is to eliminate the ‘lowest choice’ candidate. If the ‘lowest choice’ candidate was your favorite, your vote automatically goes to whomever was your second-favorite – and so on. Essentially, your vote ends up counting in multiple ways. Yay, democracy!

Meet the NYC Mayoral Candidates

While most of the candidates have their own step-by-step strategies for improving education, the environment, housing, healthcare, COVID-19, and police reform, we’ve plucked a few ideas from their campaign websites that particularly stand out. To learn more, click the hyperlink on their names to be directed to their individual campaign websites.

Eric Adams

Eric Adams (politician) - Wikipedia

Adams’ vision:

  • Making it easier to start a small business, particularly minority-owned
  • Investing in green infrastructure
  • Desegregating schools and instituting a year-round school year      
  • Distributing COVID-19 vaccines ASAP to people who are most at-risk
  • Affordable housing options for New Yorkers

Andrew Yang

By Gage Skidmore

Yang’s vision:

  • Extra support for the Basic Income Program
  • Revamping the NYPD to restore trust in police
  • All-electric NYC vehicle fleet & expanding the CoolRoofs program to lower the city’s temperature
  • Offering legal protection and language access to immigrants
  • Enhance public transportation

Kathryn Garcia

Kathryn Garcia

Garcia’s vision:

  • Continue and expand her extensive efforts fighting climate change, pollution and waste recycling
  • Free childcare for ages 0-3 for <$70k per year families
  • Supportive housing for the homeless
  • Increasing training and instituting a zero-tolerance for police officer infractions
  • Building new high schools in every borough

Shaun Donovan

Shaun Donovan (photo: Donovan campaign)

Donovan’s vision:

  • Removing police and images of ‘prison culture’ from schools
  • Open Streets policy enhancement & permanency
  • Scaling programs for NYC’s elderly population: Fresh Food for Seniors, ElderSmile, Center for Workforce Inclusion
  • Establishing an NYC Job Corps
  • Creating 500,000 jobs for New Yorkers

Ray McGuire

Mayoral Candidate and investment banker Ray McGuire. | Ray McGuire for Mayor

McGuire’s vision:

  • Suspending credit scoring for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19
  • Hosting the biggest festival ever – the NYC Comeback Festival (Who’s coming with me?!)
  • Expanding CompStat to accurately measure community safety
  • Focusing on the Tutor NYC program
  • Supporting the legalization of marijuana

Maya Wiley

By New America

Wiley’s vision:

  • Launching a New York City Green Future Force: maintaining parks, improve food system, etc.
  • Expanding CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and DBT (Dialectal Behavioral Therapy) in schools to prevent instances of gun violence
  • Acknowledging and supporting street vendors as NYC small businesses
  • Developing Community Care Centers in all five boroughs
  • Creating a citywide rent & tax relief program for landlords to prevent evictions

Dianne Morales

Morales’ vision:

  • Grant support for entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19
  • Defunding NYPD by at least $3B
  • Restricting NYPD involvement with ICE to protect immigrants
  • Utilizing hotels & abandoned spaces to house the homeless
  • Launching NYC5000 to provide education, vaccines and testing to vulnerable populations

Scott Stringer

Scott Stringer via NYC Comptroller’s Office

Stringer’s vision:

  • Put two teachers in every classroom from grades K-through-5
  • Banning all new fossil fuel infrastructure
  • Renovating primary care facilities in disadvantaged neighborhoods
  • Expediting license and permit applications for small businesses
  • Establishing a Critical Incident Review Board to hold the police force accountable

Art Chang

Art Chang

Art’s Vision

  • Extend the Eviction and foreclosure moratorium until 2022 and invest in affordable housing.
  • Form and listen to advisory committees in each industry, and create a volunteer “Innovation Corps” of entrepreneurs.
  • Redirect police funds, changing our existing emergency response methods to utilize unarmed responders.
  • Bring NYC’s technological infrastructure into the 21st Century

Paperboy Love Prince

Entertainment Meets Activism

Another unconventional aspect of this year’s election is the offbeat candidates whose spotlight in entertainment and social media has given them a unique foot in the door in the mayoral race. Maybe the answer to our political woes is a non-politician?

Boasting an impressive IG following of 39.9K followers, the non-binary rapper is a colorful, unorthodox advocate of universal basic income and universal healthcare. Although they do not have a campaign website, they are still very much an active contender on the ballot.

Ävatar Daví

The 34-year-old musician, author, choreographer, and self-proclaimed “avatar of Earth” envisions giving NYC statehood & renaming the NYPD the NYC P.O.L.I.C.E – Patient Organized Loyal Integrous Community Enrichers.

At the very least, it’s worth checking out his website to learn more about his experience establishing communication with insects and reptiles (no, seriously!).

Barbara Kavovit

Barbara Kavovit ( campaign site)

Formerly a cast member of The Real Housewives of New York, Kavovit hopes to rebuild NYC with policies such as requiring bail for violent and multiple offenders and raising the minimum wage. She admits she hadn’t meshed with the RHONY cast when she was a part of the show – maybe because this housewife-turned-politician was meant for something more?!

Stacey Prussman

A multifaceted activist and NYC native, Prussman is turning her focus from her career as a comedian, actress and radio personality to rectifying the declination of her beloved city. Her unique platform includes advocating for animal rights, reviving the vaping industry, and decriminalizing sex work.

Isaac Wright Jr.

Photo by Michael Tran

Wright was used as inspiration for the ABC drama For Life – a tale about an incarcerated man who was wrongfully convicted and became a lawyer during his time in prison. He was eventually released and is now in the running for the mayor of NYC – how cool is that?! Using the slogan “The Wright Choice”, he vows to tackle the homeownership crisis and equal access to basic transportation.

Why vote? Why not!

Face it – these candidates make meaningful points in their bid to improve NYC, even the less prominent hopefuls vying for the opportunity to help reform it.

We need someone to step in, step up and nurture us back to our pre-COVID brilliance and beyond. Ranked-choice voting has provided us with a modern, more inclusive way to get our voices heard this June and November.

It’s important to you – and your vote matters! On March 30th, join ciaooo! for a private Zoom with Art Chang No topic is off the table, so bring any questions you have. This is your chance to talk one-on-one with a candidate about the most pressing issues facing NYC today, and his plans for moving the city forward.

You can register to vote in minutes and take that first step in playing your part in our collective role of doing the right thing for the greatest city in the world!

Angela Caico

Angela is a full-time Journalism major at Buffalo State College. When she's not working as an Uber driver, she loves hanging out with her teenage daughter, cruising around the city in her Jeep Wrangler, or drinking wine with her friends. She likes to try out a new restaurant each week (open to suggestions!) and has a crazy obsession with The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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