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Local Officials Rally For ‘Better, Smarter, Fairer’ Instant Runoff Voting

Voters Would Rank Candidates During Primary Vote To Avoid Runoff Election
Ballots go through voting machine (file/credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Ballots go through voting machine (file/credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City lawmakers and advocacy groups rallied on the City Hall steps Wednesday to again push for an instant runoff system.

The elected officials pointed to the $13 million price tag to hold Tuesday’s public advocate runoff election that saw very low voter turnout.

The Public Advocate’s office has a budget of $2.1 million.

“Our voters would go into the polling place on Election Day, one election, and vote not only for the candidate of their top choice, but rank the candidates second, third and fourth so that there would be no need for us to return two and three weeks later to decide who the victor is,” Citizens Union executive director Dick Dadey said. “The voters, with one election, would be able to make their choices very well known so that whoever is the nominee of each of the parties will be able to go into the general election with the broadest possible support.”

City lawmakers said the time has come to adopt the new instant runoff voting system, which is already in use in a number of cities nationwide.

“It is pretty simple so I do feel like most New Yorkers are savvy enough to understand first choice, second choice, third choice,” said Councilman Brad Lander. “We can achieve better, smarter, fairer, more inclusive, higher participation, less divisive elections for less cost by moving to instant runoff voting.”

Under the current law, if no candidate wins 40 percent of the vote in the primary, the top two vote-getters face off in a runoff.

There are two bills currently in the City Council, sponsored by Lander and Gale Brewer, that would make instant runoff the law in New York City.

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