TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to
instant run-off voting in the city of New York; and to repeal certain
provisions of such law relating thereto
PURPOSE: To establish instant run-off voting in primary elections for
mayor, public advocate, and comptroller in the city of New York.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill repeals Section 6-162 of the election law and
adds a new Section 6162. Subdivision 1 defines which offices are
subject to instant run-off voting. Subdivision 2 defines instant
runoff voting and provides that a second round of voting, using the
instant runoff voting method, shall take place if the candidate with
the most votes receives less than fifty percent plus one vote in the
initial round of voting. Subdivision 3 provides guidelines for the
design of the ballots to be used in instant run-off elections.
Subdivision 4 defines the instructions to be printed on the ballot.
Subdivision 5 provides that the board of elections, with the approval
of the state board of elections, may adopt devices, methods, and
ballot formats for sorting, counting, tabulating, and invalidating
votes for offices subject to instant runoff voting, provided that any
such changes substantially conform to the provisions of this chapter.
Section 2 of the bill amends subdivision 2 of Section 7-114 of the
election law to clarify that the instructions printed on the ballot
for elections subject to instant run-off voting differ from the
instructions typically printed on the ballot and can be found in
Section 3 sets forth the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Currently, if no candidate in a primary election with
more than two candidates for mayor, public advocate, or comptroller in
New York City wins more than forty percent of the vote, a run-off
election is held between the top two vote-getters two weeks later. Due
to the adoption of paper ballots and optical scan ballot machines, the
New York City Board of Elections cannot certify the results of a
primary within the required two weeks, nor can it ensure that military
and overseas voters receive their ballots in a timely manner. An
instant run-off method would allow voters to rank their choices and
cast their vote for a hypothetical runoff election at the same time
that they cast their vote for the primary election. Since an instant
runoff election eliminates the costs associated with a runoff
election, the threshold for avoiding a runoff should be raised from a
forty percent plurality of the votes cast in the primary to a fifty
percent plus one majority.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.
FISCAL IMPACT: None for the state. The city of New York would save 20
million dollars for each runoff election that would no longer need to
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect January 1, 2014.