New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer (@scottmstringer) has released a report, Barriers to the Ballot, that outlines a 16-point plan for improving voter turnout in New York City. The Comptroller highlights the November 2013 general election where only 1 in 4 registered voters participated. Low numbers of registered voters also voted in the state’s gubernatorial and house contests in 2014 - the lowest turnout on record.
Among the Controller’s recommendations are reforms backed by FairVote, including ranked choice voting (RCV, also known as “instant runoff voting”). According to the report, primary runoff elections in New York City cost taxpayers nearly $13 million. Runoff elections also have much lower turnout and can disfranchise absentee and military overseas voters. RCV would give every eligible voter the ability to fully express their voice in a single, high turnout election.
Whether a city or state is looking to address high cost, low turnout runoffs or eliminate unnecessary primaries, ranked choice voting is a proven reform across the United States. The state legislature is debating four bills on RCV, including ones to enact instant runoff voting in citywide primaries in New York City and to create the opportunity for pilot programs across the state. Stay tuned!