The first New York election to go into a ranked-choice voting count is under way in a City Council district where better access to healthy food is a key issue.

Selvena Brooks-Powers

In the Feb. 23 special-election vote, Selvena Brooks-Powers led with 38% and Pesach Osina was just behind with 35%. Since no candidate won more than 50%, the city Board of Elections will count voters’ second-, third- and fourth-ranked choices starting March 16. The southeast Queens district includes Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway and parts of Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.

“Our district has been hit pretty hard by COVID. We are learning that a lot of it has to do with underlying health issues,” said Brooks-Powers, who wants farmers’ markets to operate year-round and proposes increasing funding to make it cheaper for shoppers to buy healthy.

Pesach Osina

Osina sees increased cooperation among neighborhood groups as the solution.

“The only way you’re going to ensure that you have equity for everybody is if you have the faith-based community, the senior population and the community-based organizations all working together,” said Osina.