Pols back new runoff vote plan
CITY POLS — including three potential 2021 mayoral contenders — called Tuesday for New York to switch to instant runoff voting in time for the next election.
Public Advocate Letitia James, Controller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams were among the officials pushing for the new voting system at a City Hall press conference.
They say a charter revision commission formed by Mayor de Blasio should propose instant runoff voting, which would then go up for a referendum this fall.
Under the system, which could be used in city primaries and special elections, voters rank candidates in order of preference instead of casting a vote for just one person. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, everyone but the top two votegetters is eliminated. The votes for the eliminated candidates are redistributed to the runoff finalist ranked highest on each ballot.
Currently, physical runoff elections are held in primaries if no candidate gets 40% of the vote. Runoffs typically generate very low turnout.
“It’s hard enough to get people to the polls once, let alone a second time,” said James, who was elected after a runoff in 2013 in which only about 300,000 people voted — but taxpayers paid $10 million to $13 million.
Charter commission spokesman Matt Gewolb did not answer whether the panel would consider instant runoff voting, but he said it “welcomes ideas from all New Yorkers on how to improve city government and the electoral process.” AN APPEALS COURT has shot down Mayor de Blasio’s attempt to keep secret emails between City Hall and outside advisers dubbed “agents of the city.”
The court ruled de Blasio must hand over the emails after a lawsuit by NY1 and other news organizations seeking their disclosure under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.
A lower court had ruled the same way, but Hizzoner appealed.
De Blasio was seeking to shield communications with consultants such as Jonathan Rosen and his firm BerlinRosen, who were hired by the mayor’s now-defunct and scandal-scarred political nonprofit the Campaign for One New York.
The court ordered City Hall to release any communications it continues to withhold, and to pay attorneys’ fees for the plaintiffs.