NYC Officials Call For Instant Runoff Voting In Local Elections

May 01, 2018 - 7:27 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Tuesday called on the Mayoral Charter Revision Commission to approve instant runoff voting.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, voters rank candidates in order of preference in instant runoff voting. If one comes up with majority, that is it – he or she wins.

If not, all but the top two vote-getters are eliminated, and votes from the eliminated candidates go to the runoff finalists ranked next on the ballot.

“An instant runoff is a progressive leap to try to get the most bang for the buck in the primary and settle everything on that day or into the night,” Stringer said.

James said the present runoff system does not work.

“Runoff elections are historically ultra-low-turnout with a wealthier, less diverse electorate,” she said. “My runoff election, there was only 300,000 individuals who came out to vote, for an election which cost between $10 (million) and $13 million.”

James, Stringer, and Adams – all of whom have been mentioned as possible mayoral candidates next time around – were joined by City Councilman Brad Lander (D-39th) in calling for instant runoffs.

In order to go into effect, instant runoffs would have to be approved in referendum. Those advocating for it would like to see it happen this fall.