Should Andrew Yang Wait to Concede?

Yesterday New York City held their mayoral primary elections. This was an exciting event for election system nerds (political scientists and public choice economists) because NYC is now using a form of ranked choice voting to determine the winner.

While this is not the first place in the US to use RCV (Maine, Alaska, and a handful of cities use it), it is still notable for a few reasons. First, this is America’s largest city. Second, there are a lot of viable candidates, which makes RCV especially interesting and useful.

Specifically, NYC is using a form of voting called instant runoff. There are currently 13 candidates, and voters indicate their top 5 in order. If no one has a majority (>50%) of the votes, then the rankings entered by voters come into play. And indeed that is what happened yesterday.

On the first round, only counting first place votes, Andrew Yang came in 4th with just under 12% of the votes. So last night he conceded.

But should Yang have conceded? Maybe not! Let’s explore how instant runoff works.

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