But supporters, including leaders of the city’s Independence Party, said that party politics had outlived its usefulness in city elections, and now blocked an estimated 800,000 unaffiliated voters from participating in primaries. In many races, especially for City Council, the primaries are a de facto general election, because the winner faces no serious opponent and cruises toward victory in November.
In most nonpartisan election systems, all registered voters can cast a ballot for any candidate in the first round (which replaces a traditional party primary), and the top two finishers compete in the second round. Boston, Los Angeles, Detroit and Dallas have adopted some form of it. “It’s not very radical,” said Fred Newman, a leader in the city Independence Party.