senate Bill S7033

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Enacts the "NYC instant run-off voting act"; 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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Apr 21, 2014 referred to elections

S7033 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §6-162, El L; rpld §3-705 sub 5, §3-709 sub 6, NYC Ad Cd
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Session:
A582

S7033 - Bill Texts

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Enacts the "NYC instant run-off voting act"; requires an instant run-off in any municipal election in New York City; provides that if one candidate for any municipal office receives a majority of first preferences, such candidate is elected; provides, however, if no candidate is the first choice of at least half the voters, the instant run-off re-tabulation shall be performed and then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated; makes related changes.

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BILL NUMBER:S7033

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to
enacting the "NYC instant run-off voting act"; and to repeal
subdivision 5 of section 3-705 and subdivision 6 of section 3-709 of
the administrative code of the city of New York relating to certain
run-off elections in the city of New York

PURPOSE:

This bill improves the current run-off system of elections for New
York City offices by eliminating the current costly and low-turnout
run-off election system in favor of an "instant runoff," whereby
voters rank candidates by order of preference and the top two vote
getters (if none receives an outright majority of votes), instantly
move to a second and final round of counting based on the votes cast
for them on the ballots of eliminated candidates.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

§ 1. Provides that the title of the act shall be the "instant run-off
voting act."

§ 2. Section two provides for legislative findings.

§ 3. Amends section 6-162 of the election law to specify that all
elections for municipal office in New York City use an "instant
run-off voting" system. On every ballot using instant run-off voting,
voters shall be given the chance to rank candidates in order of their
preference. Ballots will be counted initially according to first
choice, and if one candidate receives a majority of votes cast then
the board of elections will certify that candidate as the winner. If
no candidate receives a majority of the first choice voices, the Board
of Elections will recount the ballots that rank the eliminated
candidates as the first choice and that indicate one of the
uneliminated candidates as an alternative choice. Each ballot is
counted as one vote for the highest ranked candidate on that ballot
who has not been eliminated. The candidate with the greater number of
votes after the second round shall be certified as the winner.

§ 4. Repeals subdivision 5 of section 6-162 of the election law that
relates to the administrative code of the city of New York.

§ 5. repeals subdivision 6 of section 6-162 of the election law that
relates to the administrative code of the city of New York.

§ 6. Provides that the act shall take effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION:

In 2013, New York City was required to hold a runoff election for the
office of NYC Public Advocate. The runoff was necessary because none
of the five candidates in the Democratic primary received 40 percent
of the vote. Less than 190,000 Democrats voted in the runoff election.
As of April 1, 2013 there were approximately 3.2 million registered
Democrats in New York City. The runoff election cost New York City
approximately $13 million for a meager election day turn-out.


The current run-off system of voting in primary elections for offices
of mayor, comptroller and public advocate in New York City is unduly
expensive and generates an unacceptably low turnout of voters. An
instant run-off voting system would eliminate the need for a costly
second election and avoid the meager election day turn-outs of runoff
elections. Variations of instant-runoff voting are utilized by several
cities in the United States including San Francisco, CA, San Leandro,
CA, Oakland CA, Portland, ME, Minneapolis, MN, Saint Paul, MN, Takoma
Park, MD and Telluride, CO.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

No cost to the State. Will save New York City the cost of running
run-off elections which cost $13 million in 2013.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                  7033

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 21, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. SANDERS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections

AN ACT to amend the election law,  in  relation  to  enacting  the  "NYC
  instant  run-off  voting  act"; and to repeal subdivision 5 of section
  3-705 and subdivision 6 of section 3-709 of the administrative code of
  the city of New York relating to certain run-off elections in the city
  of New York

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

  Section  1.  Short title.  This act shall be known and may be cited as
the "NYC instant run-off voting act".
  S 2. Legislative findings. The legislature hereby finds  and  declares
that  the  run-off system of voting in primary elections for the offices
of mayor, comptroller and public advocate in New  York  city  is  unduly
expensive  and  generates  an unacceptably low turnout of voters.  Addi-
tionally, the absence of any run-off system at all for  the  offices  of
borough  president  and  council member has resulted in candidates being
elected with much less than a majority of the votes  cast,  and  signif-
icantly  dilutes minority voting power when multiple minority candidates
compete for the same office. In an "instant run-off" system, voters rank
candidates by order of preference, and if no candidate receives a major-
ity of first-place votes, the top two candidates have the votes of elim-
inated candidates redistributed to them in order of each voter's prefer-
ence. The candidate with the most votes after this "second round" is the
winner. An instant run-off voting system eliminates the need for a cost-
ly and sparsely attended second election, rewards candidates who broaden
their appeal as widely as possible, and promotes minority representation
by limiting the dilution of minority voting power when multiple minority
candidates are on the ballot for the same office.
  S 3. Section 6-162 of the election law, as amended by chapter  424  of
the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:
  S 6-162. [Primary; New York City, run-off. 1. In the city of New York,
when  no  candidate  for  the  office of mayor, public advocate or comp-
troller receives forty percent or more of the votes cast by the  members

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13534-01-4

S. 7033                             2

of  a  political  party for such office in a city-wide primary election,
the board of elections of such city  shall  conduct  a  run-off  primary
election  between  the  two  candidates receiving the greatest number of
votes for the same office.
  2.  In  any  jurisdiction  that  authorizes a run-off election after a
primary election, if one of the two candidates  receiving  the  greatest
number  of  votes  for  the  same  office  files with the local board of
elections a certificate of withdrawal within three days  following  such
primary  election, the board shall accept and certify the withdrawal and
declare the remaining candidate the winner and no such  run-off  primary
election shall be held. Such certificate of withdrawal shall be in affi-
davit   or  affirmation  form  as  determined  by  the  state  board  of
elections.] INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING IN NEW YORK CITY.  1.  ELECTIONS  FOR
MUNICIPAL  OFFICE  IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK SHALL USE AN "INSTANT RUN-OFF
VOTING" SYSTEM.
  2. ON EVERY BALLOT USING INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING, THE VOTERS  SHALL  BE
GIVEN  THE  OPPORTUNITY TO RANK CANDIDATES IN THE ORDER OF THEIR PREFER-
ENCE.
  3. THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES SHALL BE  USED  TO  DETERMINE  WINNERS  IN
INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING:
  (A)  THE  BALLOTS  SHALL  BE  COUNTED INITIALLY ACCORDING TO THE FIRST
CHOICE MARKED ON EACH BALLOT. IF ONE CANDIDATE RECEIVES FORTY PERCENT OF
THE VOTES CAST, THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL CERTIFY THAT  CANDIDATE  AS
THE WINNER.
  (B)  IF  AT  THE  END  OF  THE INITIAL ROUND OF COUNTING, NO CANDIDATE
RECEIVED FORTY PERCENT OF FIRST CHOICES, ALL CANDIDATES SHALL BE  ELIMI-
NATED EXCEPT THE TWO CANDIDATES WITH THE GREATEST NUMBER OF FIRST CHOIC-
ES.  THE  BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHALL THEN CONDUCT A SECOND, FINAL ROUND OF
COUNTING IN WHICH BALLOTS THAT RANK ELIMINATED  CANDIDATES  AS  A  FIRST
CHOICE AND THAT INDICATE ONE OF THE UNELIMINATED CANDIDATES AS AN ALTER-
NATIVE  CHOICE  SHALL  BE COUNTED AS VOTES FOR WHICHEVER OF THE UNELIMI-
NATED CANDIDATES IS RANKED HIGHER ON EACH BALLOT. IN THE  SECOND  ROUND,
EACH  BALLOT  IS COUNTED AS ONE VOTE FOR THE HIGHEST RANKED CANDIDATE ON
THAT BALLOT WHO HAS NOT BEEN ELIMINATED. THE CANDIDATE WITH THE  GREATER
NUMBER OF VOTES IN THE SECOND ROUND SHALL BE CERTIFIED AS THE WINNER.
  (C)  IN  CASE OF A TIE BETWEEN CANDIDATES SUCH THAT TWO OR MORE CANDI-
DATES HAVE AN EQUAL NUMBER OF FIRST CHOICES AND MORE THAN TWO CANDIDATES
QUALIFY FOR THE SECOND ROUND, INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING SHALL  BE  USED  TO
DETERMINE WHICH TWO CANDIDATES SHALL ADVANCE TO THE SECOND ROUND.
  S  4. Subdivision 5 of section 3-705 of the administrative code of the
city of New York is REPEALED.
  S 5. Subdivision 6 of section 3-709 of the administrative code of  the
city of New York is REPEALED.
  S 6. This act shall take effect immediately.

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