Paths Forward for RCV in New York

There are a few different paths being pursued to get Ranked Choice Voting passed in NYC. The absolute least we can do is voice our support (sign this petition), but I think we can do more.

Path 1: Amendment to the NYS Constitution

Link to the Bill: s4586

This is an ongoing story of the Senate trying repeatedly, but getting blocked by the NY Assembly. For more information on how the process works, check this article I wrote.

  1. March 30, 2015 a cross-partisan bill sponsored by State Senators, Liz Krueger (Democrat) and Andrew Lanza (Republican), was submitted to the Senate. In less than three months it was passed by the Senate and delivered to the Assembly.
  2. Bill sits in the Assembly for 6 months before being killed and sent back to Senate
  3. Bill is amended by the Senators in 13 days
  4. After 5 months in June 2016, it makes it through the Senate a 2nd time and is resubmitted to Assembly
  5. From June 2016, until now, it is sitting in the Assembly without movement.

For this path to succeed, we need to know why the assembly is against it. In terms of $$$, we know that it will pay itself off the very first run-off election, and will save $10,000,000+ every subsequent election (source). Assuming this bill gets through the Assembly, it will be up to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has previously voted in favor of several voting reforms, including the national popular count.

Path 2: Amendment to the NYC Administrative Code

Link to the Proposal: Int 0150-2014, PDF: RCV Bill Legislation Details.

An alternative to passing RCV from the State level is to change the NYC Administrative code. Currently we have NYC Councilman Brad Lander attempting to pass RCV by going through the NYC Council. The Bill was proposed in March of 2014 and was immediately pushed to the Committee on Elections. From there it stalled and I haven’t seen any movement on it. I’ve contacted Brad Lander (lander@council.nyc.gov) in December to learn more and am awaiting a reply.

The Path Less Traveled

The previous two paths represent business as usual. It’s working within the system as our government and elected officials are most comfortable. There are other options, but they are considerably less common and are likely to make some people uncomfortable.

The first is a Ballot Measure.  Assuming our State level bill s4586 gets through both legislative houses, but for some reason the governor doesn’t choose to sign it. In this case, the Bill could be passed anyways by being put on a general election ballot.

The second is a Constitutional Convention. Once, every 20 years, we vote on if the NYS Constitution should be scrapped and rebuild. And guess what. That is THIS YEAR! This can be a scary choice because there are definitely parts of the NYS Constitution that we really like. However this may be a good option for either pressuring the passage of our bill, or getting it done the hard way. For more info visit: http://www.newyorkconcon.info/

What does this mean for us?

In a game of chess, it would mean that we have all the pieces required to checkmate, but that the game has stalled. Both paths to RCV have hit roadblocks, but if we can unblock them, we could be voting with ranked choices by our November 2017 elections.

Help me spread the movement by following me on Twitter: @donato

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