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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

Union-backed City Council candidate wins cliffhanger Special Election


In a close race that is going into a second count because of new ranked choice voting for citywide elections, DC 37-backed candidate Selvena Brooks-Powers has taken a lead over Pesach Osina in a contested Special Election for City Council District 31.

The Feb. 23 election for the district, which covers parts of Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, and Springfield Gardens, was held when incumbent Donovan Richards was elected Queens Borough President last year.

The union’s Political Action Department swung into high gear with two days of virtual phone-banking to residents, urging them to vote for Brooks-Powers who currently leads with 38% to Osina’s 35%, with seven other candidates further behind.

Under ranked choice voting, if a candidate does not get more than 50% of the votes, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated, and a second count begins on voters’ second choice. After those are totaled, the process repeats, with each losing candidate being removed until one reaches 50%.

Confident she is the eventual winner, Brooks-Power said, “Our community deserves to have a fighter in City Hall to ensure we can recover from this pandemic and finally get our fair share. Today, we have completed the campaign for the special election, and now we must move forward, complete the counting, and make sure every voice is heard,” she said.

After absentee and military ballots were counted it took three weeks, and nine rounds of counting until on March 18, Brooks-Powers was declared the winner with 51.6% of the vote.