senate Bill S1541

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Does away with run-off elections in NYC and statewide; repealer

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to elections
Jan 09, 2013 referred to elections

Co-Sponsors

S1541 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Elections
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§6-160, 8-100, 15-104, 15-126 & 16-116, rpld §6-162, §8-100 sub 1 ¶(b), El L; amd §11, Munic Home R L; amd §§3-702, 3-703, 3-706 & 3-709.5, rpld §3-705 sub 5, §3-709 sub 6, §3-709.5 sub 1 ¶(b), NYC Ad Cd
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S2414
2009-2010: S6248

S1541 - Bill Texts

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Eliminates run-off elections in NYC and statewide.

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BILL NUMBER:S1541

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the election law, the municipal home rule law and the
administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the
determination of a winner of a primary election; and to repeal certain
provisions of the election law and the administrative code of the city
of New York relating thereto

PURPOSE:
The bill eliminates the requirement for run-off voting in certain
primary elections.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Amends election law section 6-160 by adding a new
subdivision 3, which provides that the individual who receives the
most votes shall be deemed the winner of the primary election.

Section 2: Repeals election law section 6-162, which provides for a
run-off election if no candidate for mayor, comptroller or public
advocate wins forty percent of the vote in the primary.

Sections 3-18: Amend provisions of the election law and the
administrative code of the City of New York to eliminate provisions
for run-off voting in primary elections.

Section 19: Provides for the Act to take effect immediately.

EXISTING LAW:
Pursuant to election law section 6-162, a run-off election between the
top two vote getters is required in New York City whenever no
candidate for mayor, comptroller or public advocate receives over
forty percent of the primary vote. There are some similar provisions
for run-off elections in local elections.

JUSTIFICATION:
Run-off voting has come to be regarded as a waste of time and money,
especially since the turnouts for such run-off elections tend to be
extremely low, as a result of which a small minority of voters may
end up selecting the candidate (and ultimate winner) at a very high
cost. In
some areas, like New York City, which is heavily Democratic, the
winner of that party's primary will also be the winner in the general
election.

In the 2009 primary run-off elections for New York City comptroller
and public advocate, less than eight percent of the City's
approximately three million registered Democrats voted at a cost to
the City of $15 million, and millions more were Spent by the four
candidates. Whether in a fiscal crisis of not, such an expenditure
for a process that attracts little Participatory public support and
does not even bolster the legitimacy of the winner, seems to be money
poorly spent that cannot continue to be justified.


LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009-10: Referred to Elections; Passed Senate

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
Cost savings.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This bill is effective immediately.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1541

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  PERKINS, ADAMS, ADDABBO -- read twice and ordered
  printed, and  when  printed  to  be  committed  to  the  Committee  on
  Elections

AN  ACT  to  amend the election law, the municipal home rule law and the
  administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the deter-
  mination of a winner of a primary  election;  and  to  repeal  certain
  provisions of the election law and the administrative code of the city
  of New York relating thereto

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 6-160 of the election law is amended  by  adding  a
new subdivision 3 to read as follows:
  3.  THE  INDIVIDUAL  WHO  RECEIVES THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF THE TOTAL
VOTES CAST AT THE PRIMARY SHALL BE DEEMED THE WINNER OF THE PRIMARY.
  S 2. Section 6-162 of the election law is REPEALED.
  S 3. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 1 of section 8-100 of  the  election
law  is  REPEALED and paragraph (c), as relettered by chapter 373 of the
laws of 1978, is relettered paragraph (b).
  S 4. Paragraph d of subdivision 1 of section 15-104  of  the  election
law,  as  amended by chapter 684 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read
as follows:
  d. Except as otherwise provided by law, to be  elected  in  a  village
election,  a  candidate must receive more votes than any other candidate
for the office. In the event of a tie at a village election, [a  run-off
election shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of section 15-126
of  this article; provided, however, that if all candidates receiving an
equal number of votes agree to waive a run-off election,]  the  election
shall  be  determined  according to the provisions of paragraph [d] B of
subdivision two of section 15-126 of this article.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD04201-01-3

S. 1541                             2

  S 5. Subdivision 2 of section 15-126 of the election law,  as  amended
by chapter 684 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read as follows:
  2.  a. The person or persons eligible and receiving the highest number
of votes for an office shall be elected thereto.
  b. In the event that more eligible persons than the  number  remaining
to  be elected receive for the same office or offices an equal number of
votes, the [board of trustees shall conduct  a  run-off  election.  Such
run-off  election  shall  be held on the first Tuesday at least ten days
after the final  certification  of  such  tie  result,  subject  to  the
provisions of paragraph b of subdivision three of section 15-104 of this
article,  provided,  however,  that the only persons who shall be deemed
nominated shall be those persons who  shall  have  received  such  equal
number  of  votes. The order of the candidates names on the ballot shall
be determined by a drawing conducted by a village clerk, in the presence
of all those persons who received such  equal  number  of  votes,  or  a
representative of such persons.
  c.  Such  run-off election may be waived and the selection made by lot
as otherwise provided by this section if  each  person  who  shall  have
received  such  equal number of votes shall file with the village clerk,
no later than two days  after  such  final  certification  of  such  tie
result, a written notice of consent that such selection be made by lot.
  d.  If  a  waiver  of  such run-off election shall occur, the] village
clerk, no later than two days after receiving written notice [of consent
that such selection be made by lot], shall certify such facts in writing
to any supreme court justice within the judicial district in which  such
village  is  located  and  shall within three days summon the candidates
before him or her and he or she shall by lot  determine  which  of  them
shall be elected.
  S 6. Section 16-116 of the election law is amended to read as follows:
  S  16-116.  Proceedings;  provisions  in  relation  thereto. A special
proceeding under the foregoing provisions of this article shall be heard
upon a verified petition and such  oral  or  written  proof  as  may  be
offered, and upon such notice to such officers, persons or committees as
the  court  or  justice shall direct, and shall be summarily determined.
The proceeding shall have  preference  over  all  other  causes  in  all
courts.  The  petition in any such proceeding instituted by the state or
other board of elections shall be verified by the persons  specified  in
accordance  with rules promulgated by the state board of elections.  [In
the city of New York, a proceeding relating to a run-off primary brought
pursuant to this article shall have  first  preference  over  all  other
proceedings.]
  S  7. Paragraph f of subdivision 1 of section 11 of the municipal home
rule law, as amended by chapter 21 of the laws of 1992,  is  amended  to
read as follows:
  f.  Applies  to  or  affects  any  provision of paragraph [(c)] (B) of
subdivision one of section 8-100 of the election  law,  the  labor  law,
sections  two, three and four of chapter one thousand eleven of the laws
of nineteen hundred sixty-eight, entitled "An act  in  relation  to  the
maximum  hours  of  labor of certain municipal and fire district firemen
and the holidays of firemen and policemen, repealing certain sections of
the labor law relating thereto, and to amend  the  municipal  home  rule
law,  in  relation thereto," as amended, the volunteer [firemen's] FIRE-
FIGHTERS' benefit law, or the [workmen's] WORKERS' compensation  law  or
changes  any  provision  of  the  multiple residence law or the multiple
dwelling law, except that in a city of one million persons or more,  the
provisions of local law for the enforcement of the housing code which is

S. 1541                             3

not  less  restrictive  than the multiple dwelling law may be applied in
the enforcement of the multiple dwelling law.
  S 8. Subdivision 10 of section 3-702 of the administrative code of the
city  of  New York, as amended by local law number 12 of the city of New
York for the year 2003, is amended to read as follows:
  10. The term "covered  election"  shall  mean  any  primary,  [run-off
primary,]  special[, run-off special] or general election for nomination
for election, or election, to the  office  of  mayor,  public  advocate,
comptroller, borough president or member of the city council.
  S  9.  Paragraph (f) of subdivision 1 of section 3-703 of the adminis-
trative code of the city of New York, as amended by local law number 105
of the city of New York for  the  year  2005,  is  amended  to  read  as
follows:
  (f)  not  accept  and  his  or  her  principal committee or authorized
committees must not accept, either directly or by transfer, any contrib-
ution or contributions from any one individual,  partnership,  political
committee,  labor organization or other entity for all covered elections
held in the same calendar year in which he or  she  is  a  participating
candidate  or  a non-participating candidate which in the aggregate: (i)
for the office of mayor, public advocate  or  comptroller  shall  exceed
four thousand five hundred dollars, or (ii) for borough president, shall
exceed  three  thousand five hundred dollars, or (iii) for member of the
city council, shall exceed two thousand five hundred  dollars;  provided
that  a  participating candidate and his or her principal committee or a
non-participating candidate and his or  her  authorized  committees  may
accept  additional contributions which do not exceed one half the amount
of the applicable limitation for any [run-off primary  election,]  addi-
tional  day  for  voting  held pursuant to section 3-108 of the New York
state election law, special election to fill a vacancy, [run-off special
election to fill a vacancy,] delayed or otherwise postponed election, or
election held pursuant to court order which is a covered election and in
which the candidate seeks  nomination  for  election  or  election;  and
provided  further that for the purposes of this paragraph, contributions
made by different labor organizations shall not be aggregated or treated
as contributions from a single contributor for purposes of the  contrib-
ution limit that is set forth in this paragraph if those labor organiza-
tions  make  contributions  from  different  accounts, maintain separate
accounts with different signatories, do not share a majority of  members
of  their  governing boards, and do not share a majority of the officers
of their governing boards;  and  provided  further  that  if  state  law
prescribes  a contribution limitation of a lesser amount, this paragraph
shall not be deemed to authorize acceptance of a contribution in  excess
of  such  lesser  amount.    The maximum contributions set forth in this
paragraph shall be adjusted in accordance with subdivision seven of this
section;
  S 10. Subdivision 1-a of section 3-703 of the administrative  code  of
the  city  of New York, as amended by local law number 67 of the city of
New York for the year 2007, is amended to read as follows:
  1-a. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision  of  this  section,  a
participating  candidate  or  his  or  her  principal  committee may not
accept, either directly or by transfer,  any  contribution  or  contrib-
utions  for  a  covered  election  in which he or she is a participating
candidate from a natural person who has business dealings with the city,
as that term is defined in subdivision eighteen of section 3-702 of this
chapter, if the aggregate of such contributions to such  candidate  from
such person for all covered elections in the same calendar year exceeds:

S. 1541                             4

(i) for the office of mayor, public advocate or comptroller four hundred
dollars;  (ii)  for  borough president three hundred twenty dollars; and
(iii) for member of the city council two hundred fifty dollars; provided
that  a  participating  candidate  or his or her principal committee may
accept additional contributions which do not exceed one half the  amount
of  the  applicable limitation for any [run-off primary election,] addi-
tional day for voting held pursuant to section 3-108  of  the  New  York
state election law, special election to fill a vacancy, [run-off special
election to fill a vacancy,] delayed or otherwise postponed election, or
election held pursuant to court order which is a covered election and in
which  the  candidate  seeks  nomination  for  election or election. Any
contribution made pursuant to this section  shall  not  be  a  matchable
contribution.  For  purposes of this subdivision, "person" shall include
any chief executive officer, chief financial officer and/or chief  oper-
ating  officer  of  an entity which has business dealings with the city,
any person employed in a senior managerial capacity  regarding  such  an
entity,  or  any person with an interest in such an entity which exceeds
ten percent of the entity. For purposes of this subdivision, the  phrase
"senior managerial capacity" shall mean a high level supervisory capaci-
ty, either by virtue of title or duties, in which substantial discretion
and  oversight  is  exercised over the solicitation, letting or adminis-
tration of business transactions with  the  city,  including  contracts,
franchises,  concessions,  grants,  economic  development agreements and
applications for land use approvals.  Notwithstanding any  provision  of
this  subdivision,  the  limitations  on  contributions contained herein
shall not apply to any contribution made by a  natural  person  who  has
business  dealings  with the city to a participating candidate or his or
her principal  committee  where  such  participating  candidate  is  the
contributor,  or where such participating candidate is the contributor's
parent, spouse, domestic  partner,  sibling,  child,  grandchild,  aunt,
uncle, cousin, niece or nephew by blood or by marriage.
  S 11. Subdivision 5 of section 3-705 of the administrative code of the
city of New York is REPEALED.
  S  12. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 1 of section 3-706 of the adminis-
trative code of the city of New York, as amended by local law number  34
of  the  city  of  New  York  for  the  year 2007, is amended to read as
follows:
  (b) [(i) The expenditure limitation in a run-off primary election held
pursuant to section 6-162 of the New York state election law or  a  run-
off special election held to fill a vacancy shall be one half the amount
of  the  applicable  limitation provided for an election for such office
pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subdivision.
  (ii)] The board shall promulgate  rules  to  provide  for  a  separate
expenditure  limit applicable to campaign expenditures for an additional
day for voting held pursuant to section 3-108  of  the  New  York  state
election  law, an election held pursuant to court order, or a delayed or
otherwise postponed election.
  S 13. Subdivision 3 of section 3-706 of the administrative code of the
city of New York, as amended by local law number 58 of the city  of  New
York for the year 2004, subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (a) and subpara-
graph  (iii)  of  paragraph (b) as amended by local law number 67 of the
city of New York for the year 2007, is amended to read as follows:
  3. (a) If any candidate in any covered election chooses not to file  a
certification  as  a  participating  or  limited participating candidate
pursuant to this chapter, and  where  the  campaign  finance  board  has
determined that such candidate and his or her authorized committees have

S. 1541                             5

spent  or contracted or have obligated to spend, or received in loans or
contributions, or both, an amount which, in the aggregate, exceeds  half
the  applicable  expenditure  limit for such office fixed by subdivision
one of this section, then:
  (i)  such expenditure limit applicable to participating candidates and
limited participating candidates in such election for such office  shall
be increased to one hundred fifty percent of such limit; and
  (ii)  the  principal committees of such participating candidates shall
receive payment for qualified campaign expenditures of five dollars  for
each  one  dollar  of  matchable  contributions,  up to one thousand two
hundred fifty dollars in public funds per  contributor  (or  up  to  six
hundred  twenty five dollars in public funds per contributor in the case
of a special  election);  provided,  however,  that  [(A)  participating
candidates  in  a  run-off  election shall receive public funds for such
election pursuant to subdivision five of section  3-705  and  shall  not
receive  any  additional public funds pursuant to this section, and (B)]
in no case shall a principal committee receive in public funds an amount
exceeding two-thirds of the expenditure  limitation  provided  for  such
office in subdivision one of this section.
  (iii) for elections occurring after January first, two thousand eight,
the  campaign  finance  board shall promulgate rules to provide that the
principal committees of  such  participating  candidates  shall  receive
payment  for qualified campaign expenditures that will provide the high-
est allowable matchable contribution to be matched by an  amount  up  to
one  thousand  two hundred fifty dollars in public funds per contributor
(or up to six hundred twenty five dollars in public funds per  contribu-
tor  in  the  case  of  special  election); provided, however, that [(A)
participating candidates in a  run-off  election  shall  receive  public
funds  for  such  election pursuant to subdivision five of section 3-705
and shall not receive any  additional  public  funds  pursuant  to  this
section,  and  (B)]  in  no  case shall a principal committee receive in
public funds an amount exceeding two-thirds of the  expenditure  limita-
tion provided for such office in subdivision one of this section.
  (b)  If  any  candidate  in any covered election chooses not to file a
certification as a  participating  or  limited  participating  candidate
pursuant  to  this  chapter,  and  where  the campaign finance board has
determined that such candidate and his or her authorized committees have
spent or contracted or have obligated to spend, or received in loans  or
contributions, or both, an amount which, in the aggregate, exceeds three
times the applicable expenditure limit for such office fixed by subdivi-
sion one of this section, then:
  (i)  such  expenditure  limit  shall  no longer apply to participating
candidates and limited participating candidates  in  such  election  for
such office; and
  (ii)  the  principal committees of such participating candidates shall
receive payment for qualified campaign expenditures of six  dollars  for
each  one  dollar  of  matchable  contributions, up to one thousand five
hundred dollars in public funds per contributor (or up to seven  hundred
fifty  dollars  in public funds per contributor in the case of a special
election); provided, however, that [(A) participating  candidates  in  a
run-off  election  shall receive public funds for such election pursuant
to subdivision five of section 3-705 and shall  not  receive  any  addi-
tional  public funds pursuant to this section, and (B)] in no case shall
a principal committee receive in public funds an  amount  exceeding  one
hundred  twenty-five  percent of the expenditure limitation provided for
such office in subdivision one of this section.

S. 1541                             6

  (iii) for elections occurring after January first, two thousand eight,
the campaign finance board shall promulgate rules to  provide  that  the
principal  committees  of  such  participating  candidates shall receive
payment for qualified campaign expenditures that will provide the  high-
est  allowable  matchable  contribution to be matched by an amount up to
one thousand five hundred dollars in public funds per contributor (or up
to seven hundred fifty dollars in public funds per  contributor  in  the
case  of  special  election); provided, however, that [(A) participating
candidates in a run-off election shall receive  public  funds  for  such
election  pursuant  to  subdivision  five of section 3-705 and shall not
receive any additional public funds pursuant to this section,  and  (B)]
in no case shall a principal committee receive in public funds an amount
exceeding  one hundred twenty-five percent of the expenditure limitation
provided for such office in subdivision one of this section.
  S 14. Subdivision 6 of section 3-709 of the administrative code of the
city of New York is REPEALED.
  S 15. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 1 of section 3-709.5 of the  admin-
istrative  code  of  the city of New York is REPEALED and paragraphs (c)
and (d) are relettered paragraphs (b) and (c).
  S 16. Subdivision 4 of section 3-709.5 of the administrative  code  of
the  city  of New York, as amended by local law number 58 of the city of
New York for the year 2004, is amended to read as follows:
  4. Organizations which are not affiliated with any political party  or
with  any  holder  of  or  candidate  for  public office, which have not
endorsed any candidate in the pending primary, special, OR general[,  or
run-off]  election for the city-wide office shall be eligible to sponsor
one or more of the required  debates.  The  rules  for  conducting  such
debates shall be solely the responsibility of the organizations selected
but  shall  not  be  made  final  without consultation with the campaign
finance board. The  organizations  selected  shall  be  responsible  for
choosing the date, time and location of the debates.
  S  17.  Subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (b) of subdivision 5 of section
3-709.5 of the administrative code of the city of New York,  as  amended
by  local  law  number  34 of the city of New York for the year 2007, is
amended to read as follows:
  (ii) If a debate  sponsor  has  determined  that  a  non-participating
candidate has met all the non-partisan, objective, and non-discriminato-
ry  criteria  applicable  to participating candidates or limited partic-
ipating candidates for access to any of the primary, general, or special
election debates, the sponsor may invite that candidate  to  participate
in  such debate. [In the case of a run-off primary election or a run-off
special election, the sponsor may invite a  non-participating  candidate
to participate in such debate. However, if a non-participating candidate
does  not  accept  such  invitation to debate or does not appear at such
debate, the debate shall go forward as scheduled; provided, however,  if
there  is  only  one  participating  candidate  or limited participating
candidate participating  in  any  such  debate,  such  debate  shall  be
canceled.]
  S  18.  Subdivision 9 of section 3-709.5 of the administrative code of
the city of New York, as amended by local law number 58 of the  city  of
New York for the year 2004, is amended to read as follows:
  9.  If  a  candidate fails to participate in any debate required under
this section before an election,  the  candidate  shall  be  liable  for
return  of any public matching funds previously received pursuant to the
certification filed by the candidate in connection with the election for
which such debate is held, shall be ineligible to  receive  any  further

S. 1541                             7

matching  funds for that election, and may be subject to a civil penalty
pursuant to section 3-711. For purposes of this subdivision, each prima-
ry, general, OR special [or run-off]  election  shall  be  considered  a
separate election.
  S 19. This act shall take effect immediately.

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