Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NYS Might Delay NYC Run-Off Elections

A Bill that has begun to move through the New York State Legislature would extend the period between Primary and Run-Off Elections in New York City from two to three weeks.

Run-off Contests are held when no Candidate in a New York Citywide Primary: Mayor, Comptroller, and Public Advocate, receives at least 40% of the vote. The top Two Candidates then face each other in a Run-Off. They’ve caused some difficulty since the State switched to Optical Scan Ballots in 2010, as it takes some time to print a new batch od Ballots and Reprogram the Voting machines. Earlier this year, the City Board of Elections said it might need to rely on the State’s antiquated Lever Machines in order to deal with the quick turnaround.

“It causes great confusion when, if you’re going to vote, every once in a while a different voting system is used and people are not familiar with it, people are not familiar with how to use it, and that can cause a whole host of errors,” Assemblyman Robert Carroll of Brooklyn said of the Lever Machines. “They’re so infrequent, they’re really not used at all — I think the last time they were used was 2013 — you then wonder whether they are actually functional.”

The Bill, which Carroll sponsors, would give the Board more time to prepare for an Optical Scan vote and thus decrease the possibility that it would need to vacuum the mothballs out of the Lever Machines.

While most Bills that change the rules Governing Elections face extremely long odds in Albany, this one seems like it has a realistic shot of passing before the Legislature adjourns next month. While it doesn’t yet have a Sponsor in the Senate, the Republicans who control the Chamber are open to it.

“We’re definitely talking about it,” said Senate Elections Committee Chair Fred Akshar, a Republican from the Binghamton area. “On that particular bill, I think there’s room for compromise on something that works for both houses.”

When the Assembly’s Rules Committee met to vote on the Bill Monday, it proved to be so Uncontroversial that it took less than five seconds for the Meeting to start, Members to Approve the Measure, and the Meeting to adjourn.

“This is really important so there’s consistency for voters in New York City, and so that we have a voting process that, well before the September primary this year, we know how we’ll administer and when we would administer the run-off if it was necessary for any of the offices,” Carroll said.

A better option would be to make the Primary with this Run-Off Election possibility, a Ranked-Choice Voting Election, and remove the need for the Run-Off and Printing new Ballots.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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