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Originally Published: June 17, 2015

Instant runoff system will increase participation and save NYC at least $13 million

Calls upon state assembly to pass legislation

Citizens Union applauds the passage of the S.4586/A.5571 (Lanza/Kavanagh) by the State Senate today which eliminates the runoff election in New York City for citywide offices and puts in place an Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) system.

Under the legislation, voters rank their choice of candidates. The city’s current runoff process would essentially occur immediately with the top two first choice candidates advancing to the second round of vote tabulation, if no one candidate wins an outright majority of the vote.  It eliminates the need to hold a costly separate runoff two weeks after the primary.

This method guarantees that the winning candidate for nomination, if not selected outright by a majority of voters as the first choice candidate, is chosen as the preferred candidate by a majority of the electorate. This better reflects voter choice and gives the winner a stronger mandate once in office.  

The legislation will also save New York City at least $13 million, the cost of the last runoff election for public advocate in 2013, and ensure better participation.  In 2013, 16.4 percent of registered Democrats voted in the primary election for public advocate. Only 5.7 percent turned out for the runoff election, a staggering decline of 345,089 voters, or 65 percent.

Citizens Union now calls upon the State Assembly to pass the legislation.

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