Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Keeping Up the Heat: New York City Nonpartisan Elections Fight, Open Primaries, and Independent Voters

  • Confidence in Obama reaches new low, Washington Post-ABC News poll finds (By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, Washington Post) Overall, more than a third of voters polled -- 36 percent -- say they have no confidence or only some confidence in the president, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans. Among independents, this disillusionment is higher still. About two-thirds of all voters say they are dissatisfied with or angry about the way the federal government is working.
  • Disruptive write-ins (The Tampa Tribune) Once again in Hillsborough County and other communities throughout Florida, write-in candidates have gamed the election process, slamming precinct doors in the faces of hundreds of thousands of registered voters and violating the spirit of the state constitution.
  • Charter Panel's Narrow Scope Stirs Concerns (By Jarrett Murphy, City Limits) The Independence Party brought hundreds of supporters to the commission's hearings to push for nonpartisan elections, which failed in a 2003 charter vote. But Harry Kresky, a party lawyer, says the omission of nonpartisan voting from the list of recommendations is not discouraging. "This is a very engaged issue and people's minds are changing and it's an ongoing process. The report itself says that in the coming weeks the staff will be reviewing it. I think they're still looking at it," he says. "The Independence Party is in this for the long term. These kinds of changes don’t come instantly."
  • Charter Panel Wrestles With Agenda - Some members of the Charter Revision Commission disagreed pointedly with the panel's own staff over what changes to city government are worth contemplating before a November vote. (By Jarrett Murphy, City Limits)
  • Charter Commission Zeroes In On Term Limits (By: Grace Rauh, NY1)
  • Charter Commission Dives Into Priorities (Gotham Gazette/Wonkster) Next up for the commission, Citizens Union, the sister organization to Gotham Gazette’s publisher, will testify next Monday on its own report to the body. First up, Goldstein said, would be the body’s reversal on nonpartisan elections, which it had previously opposed. In its new report Citizens Union urges the commission to consider nonpartisan elections.
  • Portland, Maine to Vote on Instant Runoff; New York May Follow (By: Jon Walker, Firedoglake) If New York City implements instant runoff voting, it would be a large step forward for those hoping to end the zero-sum politics produced by our first-past-the-post election system. A significant portion of New York State residents live in the city, giving instant runoffs real potential to spread to statewide elections. New York’s tradition of fusion ballots and important minor parties makes it potentially more receptive to this kind of reform.
  • Term Limits Will Appear on Ballot, Charter Commission Announces (By Jill Colvin, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer) When it came to non-partisan elections, Commission members had relatively little to say. They plan to discuss the issue at length with advocacy group Citizens Union, which is set to speak at the Commission's next meeting on July 19th.
Term Limits was the issue of priority at the NYC Charter Commission meeting yesterday. There was discussion and input by almost every member of the commission about term limits, which became a big issue in NYC last year when Bloomberg decided to run for a third term and bypass a referendum voted in twice by the people of New York City limiting the mayoral office to 2 terms. Nobody but nobody liked it - except the City Council members who wanted to keep their jobs and who passed the resolution that allowed the Mayor to run for a third term.

Commissioner Carlo Scissura took issue with the preliminary report itself, which relegated nonpartisan elections to a "minor" issue under "other" in the report. Commission Executive Director Lorna B. Goodman said that no commissioners had expressed any interest in nonpartisan elections, but had expressed a lot of interest in IRV.

The Commission will hear from Citizens Union on Monday July 19 about why they changed their position on nonpartisans. Citizens Union now backs the reform.

1 comment:

Dale Sheldon-Hess said...

On NYC Charter Revision:

IRV would not be much of an improvement in electoral outcomes.