Primary runoffs costly, outdated say NY senators

Bill Perkins

December 22, 2009

Primary runoffs costly, outdated say NY senators

By Amanda Cedrone
Staff Writer, Legislative Gazette

December 14, 2009

Less than 8 percent of New York City's 3 million enrolled Democrats participated in runoff elections this year for comptroller and public advocate, yet they still cost taxpayers $15 million.

Calling them expensive and outdated, Sens. Bill Perkins, D-Manhattan, Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., D-Ozone Park, and Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, have proposed legislation to end the practice of conducting runoff elections in New York City and in villages statewide.

"We should eliminate runoff elections because they undermine democracy with a contrived electoral process," said Perkins. "The threshold number of votes necessary in order to trigger a runoff is arbitrary and unscientific. Further, the expense is unconscionable, especially in these economic times. People should have their opportunity to be heard at the ballot box and whichever candidate gets the most votes is the one who should win. Period."

A review of both the Perkins and Krueger bills are being considered as part of the Senate Election Committee's ongoing efforts to provide oversight of the state's election system and to reform elections laws. The committee has conducted hearings across the state on legislation concerning voter registration, ballot access, voter suppression, poll site management, electronic voting and campaign finance.

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