12 SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Change NYC voting in an instant
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It’s tough to lose a contest, be it a
game of chance or a game of skill.
In politics, we like to think that
the concept of winning and losing
elections is merely confi ned to those
directly involved in the campaign.
However, the residents of Queens
and other parts of the city lost more
than any candidate in Tuesday’s primary
for various citywide offi ces.
The biggest reason has to do with
the primary system in New York itself.
Except for the Reform Party contest,
primary participation was restricted
by voter registration. Only Democrats
could vote for Democrats; only Republicans
could vote for Republicans.
No one will dispute that this is a
heavily Democratic city; registered
Democrats outnumber registered
Republicans by about 5 to 1. Going
simply by math, with exception of a
few Republican strongholds left in this
city (including some areas of southern
and northeastern Queens), chances
are good that the Democratic primary
winner is going to be a shoe-in for the
November general election. In some
districts, the primary winner may not
have any opposition at all.
There are many independent,
third-party or unaffi liated voters who
ought to have a say in the primary race,
but they’re left completely out of the
picture. It’s also not fair to registered
Democrats or Republicans who wish to
cross party lines for given contests. Restrictions
on primary voting — along
with the absence of same-day registration
or early voting — also tamps down
the turnout, which is always anemic
unless the presidency is on the line.
We’ve said before in this space that
New York City, which aspires to be a
leader in just about everything, ought
to forge a new way for voters to elect
their representatives in, at the very
least, the city government. Voting
should be made easier through new
technology while also encouraging
greater participation and, yes, even
a dash of excitement and hope that
everyone’s voice will be heard at
We can start by abandoning the
traditional party primaries in favor
of instant runoff voting, in which
candidates run for office in one
election and all voters select them
in order of preference. Holding one
big citywide election in November
for all the marbles, so to speak, will
have the dual eff ect of motivating
people to vote while also saving the
city money on staffi ng one election
instead of two.
Our city’s current voting system is
a disservice to our democracy. Let’s
try something new that will make
everyone feel like their vote matters.