New Yorkers can practice ranked-choice voting — the recently implemented system for primary and special elections that requires ranking up to 5 candidates in order of preference — thanks to a new roving, artist-led project. The NYC Civic Engagement Commission and NYC Public Artist in Residence Yazmany Arboleda have repurposed a retired Department of Correction vehicle to bring voting education, arts activities, and other resources to communities in the five boroughs.
“The People’s Bus” made its debut this weekend and will continue to tour the city through Wednesday, June 16, the first of five days of early voting for the upcoming primary election. At each stop, passersby are invited to vote on the bus’s redesign using mock ballots featuring the ranked-choice system.
The bus departed on Saturday from Rikers Island, the jail complex notorious for human rights violations whose closure is uncertain despite years-long efforts by activists to shut down the prison.
The vehicle’s former life as a corrections vehicle is “an undeniable aspect of its story,” said Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Chair & Executive Director of the Civic Engagement Commission, in a statement. “The participatory process to transform the bus into a space of connection, resilience, and joy, now will become part of its new legacy,” she added.
Today, June 14, the bus will be stationed at Third Avenue between East 149th Street & East 148th Street in the Bronx until 7pm. Forthcoming stops include Staten Island’s St. George Ferry Terminal tomorrow, June 15 (4-7pm) and Union Square in Manhattan on Wednesday, June 16 (5-9pm).