Ranked Choice Voting May Come to New York City ... But Not for Everyone
June 13, 2019, New York City — The Green Party of New York (GPNY) said last night's vote on a ballot measure to introduce ranked-choice voting (RCV) for New York City municipal primaries and special elections was disappointing, as commissioners voted 8-6 against applying RCV to general elections. Party officers praised the six commissioners, including Democrat Sal Albanese and Republican Stephen J. Fiala, who made a strong case for RCV in all municipal elections for New York City voters.
Green Party of New York
For Immediate Release
June 13, 2019
Party officers also said they were disappointed in the position taken by Common Cause, which only advocated for RCV in primaries and special elections. The party said this was a puzzling stance for a so-called "good government" group to take, and made it seem like they were working for Democratic Party incumbents instead of the public interest. Party officers said they would encourage voters to support the fall ballot measure that would allow RCV in primaries and special elections because it can serve as a building block for extending RCV to general elections.
"The Green Party thanks the commissioners who supported ranked-choice voting for all municipal elections," commented GPNY co-chair Gloria Mattera, who lives in Brooklyn. "Despite overwhelming testimony supporting RCV for all elections, some Democrats and influential special interests focused only on RCV as a cost-saving measure to eliminate the need for a runoff election if a candidate in a municipal, citywide primary fails to surpass 40% of the vote. Others claimed that 'fusion' would combine poorly with RCV, which allows one of the worst aspects of New York political culture to stymie real innovation. It also ignores that, from 1936-47, New York City used a proportional form of RCV — and it worked."
"If RCV is limited to only municipal primaries and special elections, it will largely benefit the Democratic Party which by far has the largest enrollment citywide. Independent voters, who represent the second largest enrollment bloc in New York City, will largely be denied the potential benefits of RCV. Republicans, who have the third largest enrollment, also stand to gain more from RCV in general elections. Greens, Libertarians and other third parties who don't often hold primaries, will also generally be denied the chance to equally benefit from RCV. We agree with Commissioners Albanese and Fiala, who said if RCV is good for some elections it should be good for all of them," commented GPNY co-chair Peter LaVenia. The commissioners who supported RCV for general elections were appointed by four of the five Borough presidents, one appointed by the former public advocate, and one appointed by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Those who opposed it included the four appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, three appointed by Speaker Johnson, and one appointed by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Six commissioners voted in favor of the amendment to include RCV in general elections:
- Sal Albanese, appointed by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
- James Caras, appointed by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
- Stephen J. Fiala, appointed by Staten Island Borough President James Oddo
- Rev. Clinton Miller, appointed by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
- Sateesh Nori, appointed by former Public Advocate Letitia James
- James Vacca, appointed by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Eight commissioners voted against the amendment to include RCV in general elections:
- Dr. Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, appointed by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
- Commission Chair Gail Benjamin, appointed by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
- Lisette Camilo, appointed by Mayor Bill De Blasio
- Paula Gavin, appointed by Mayor Bill De Blasio
- Lindsay Greene, appointed by Mayor Bill De Blasio
- Alison Hirsh, appointed by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
- Dr. Merryl H. Tisch, appointed by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
- Carl Weisbrod, appointed by Mayor Bill De Blasio