Time to eliminate runoffs
Today the city of New York, badly strapped for cash, spent $15 million+ to hold a runoff election in the Democratic primary for Comptroller and Public Advocate. Less than 250,000 people voted. And what happened? The same guys who won the primary won again. Which almost always happens in New York. In fact they often win (as happened tonight) by larger margins.
Today I went to my polling place and the place was packed. With poll workers. The only person I saw voting, at any of the booths on the way out or leaving, was me.
I think it is abundantly clear that runoffs in citywide primaries do more harm than good. Particularly when Democratic candidates have to spend money on the runoffs and can't focus on the general election.
As Sam Roberts piece in yesterday's New York Times points out (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/28/nyregion/28runoff.html?_r=1) runoffs in citywide races were instituted by the party machine back inh 1973 as protection against a popular non-machine candidate winning a race.
I mean who decided 40 percent was some magic number anyway? I think runoffs should be eliminated once and for all, or at least only used in the rare cases where only one percent or less separates first from second place, or no candidate gets over twenty five percent.
But you know what? The unions would oppose eliminating runoffs because their guys got paid today to haul out the voting machines. The Times p iece even brings up the proposal of having a preferential voting system in the primary where voters would rank their top choices. Anything would be better than this colossal waste of money on runoffs.
Why not use that fifteen million dollars the city spent today on this runoff to feed some homeless people or create some more housing?
Post new comment