The City Council has identified instant runoff voting—and the end of citywide runoff elections—as one of several dozen budget and legislative priorities in Albany, according to a report to be released by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Tuesday. The report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, outlines 35 priorities that the council will be championing in the state capital this year, including Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to increase city income taxes on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for universal prekindergarten and an expansion of after-school programs for middle-school students. Ms. Mark-Viverito is slated to join Mr. de Blasio on Tuesday for a day of lobbying in Albany, where the mayor’s proposal to raise income taxes on New Yorkers making $500,000 or more will take center stage. Ms. Mark-Viverito said in an interview Monday that the council plans to advocate for dozens of other issues, including the push for instant runoff voting.
Last year, no Democratic candidate for public advocate attained 40% of the vote in the September primary, resulting in an Oct. 1 runoff election that cost the taxpayers $13 million, which is more than the entire budget of the office of public advocate for four years.
The possibility of a runoff election also forced the Board of Elections to use the old lever voting machines because officials said there wasn’t enough turnaround time to use the new electronic scanners.
Ms. Mark-Viverito, who became speaker in January, said the council is supporting legislation in Albany that would abolish runoff elections and create what is called “instant runoff voting” in which voters rank candidates by preference instead of casting a ballot for a single person. Instant runoff voting would eliminate the need for a separate runoff election because voters’ preferences are recorded in one trip to the ballot box.