They pushed out some of the most entrenched pols in the city, and now they’re pushing for New Yorkers to reform the way they vote.
Five state senators who last year toppled the Independent Democratic Conference are urging New Yorkers to approve a referendum that would bring “ranked-choice voting” to NYC.
Under the status quo, whoever wins the biggest percentage of votes for city office wins, even if it’s less than 50%.
Under ranked-choice voting, or RCV, voters would rank their top five candidates from first to last for each seat. If no one wins a majority on the first go, then the last-place candidate would be eliminated and the votes reallocated.
The process would get repeated until there’s a winner with greater than 50%.
“I think that in order to reduce costs, in order to reduce confusion, in order to encourage participation, ranked-choice voting is a simple way to get all three of those things,” state Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn) told the Daily News.
Ranked-choice was one of 17 proposals a charter revision commission created by the City Council approved over the summer. The other proposals include the creation of a mandatory “rainy-day fund” for the city budget and changes to the way members of the Civilian Complaint Review Board are appointed.
Myrie said when he and his colleagues went up against members of the Independent Democratic Conference — a group of pols who allied with Republicans to keep the state Senate in GOP control — the insurgents had to appeal to a wide range of voters.
He said RCV would compel all candidates to take the same approach, instead of allowing incumbents to focus primarily on their bases.
“You have a responsibility as a candidate to speak to all groups, folks who generally support insurgents, folks who support the status quo and the host of people in the middle,” the state senator said.
Shockingly few candidates for city office won more than 50% of the vote in the last three election cycles, according to research cited by Common Cause/NY.
“A mere 36% of multi-candidate primaries were won with more than 50% of the vote during the last three election cycles. Worse, still, 29.8% of multi-candidate primaries were won with less than 40%,” according to a Common Cause/NY primer.
The push for RCV from Democratic state Sens. Alessandra Biaggi (Bronx), Robert Jackson (Manhattan), Myrie, Jessica Ramos (Queens) and Julia Salazar (Brooklyn) came as the one-year anniversary of their primary election victories fell on Friday.
“A year ago New Yorkers voted for major change in Albany, and now we have a chance to do the same in New York City with Ranked Choice Voting,” they said in a joint statement.
“Ranked Choice Voting puts power back in the hands of the people, by giving voters more options and elevating new, diverse candidates so that every community has a voice.”