Charter Commission Questions 'Top-Two,' Dadey Says Third Party Candidates Won't Win

Tuesday, August 03, 2010 - 12:34 PM

Charter Revision Commission met to debate findings of its preliminary staff report (Richard Yeh/WNYC)

A member of the NYC Charter Revision Commission, Hope Cohen, raised a point during the commission's meeting last night that I hadn’t heard before on the issue of instant run-off voting, or, “top-two,” as it’s being called.

Around the 45:43 mark, Cohen said:

“The problem I was having with ‘top-two’ is the narrowing to two, in the general…Why do we end up with two in the general election? Why not three or four?...We’re talking about expanding choice in the primary…but it seems to me that when we narrow to two, in the general, we’re limiting choice.”

At around the 1:12:00 mark, Citizen Union Executive Director Dick Dadey discussed instant run-off voting and non-partisan elections (both of which the commission is considering). He tried rebuffing criticism that third parties would be especially weakened should these new voting systems be implemented.

Dadey said, basically, that third parties don’t win elections under the current system. So, the proposed changes can only be an improvement for third parties.

Dadey told the commission: “no third party candidate has won election in a city election. There was one. It was a special election. Tish James won in a special election after the death of Councilmember Davis.”

As consultant Joe Mercurio noted on my FaceBook page, Dadey isn’t entirely correct. There was, after all, a guy named John Lindsay elected mayor on the Liberal Party line after losing the GOP primary.


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Comments [1]


Well not to belabor the nitpicking, but James was elected in the general election, not a special. James Davis would have been up for election in November 2003 but was killed that July. The vacancy committee selected his brother Geoffrey, to run as the Democrat. On Election Day, he faced James as well as Republican Anthony Herbert and Conservative Abraham Wasserman.

Not sure what the definition of special election is but I don't think this meets the test -- it was a four-way contest on Election Day for a seat that would have been up for eleciton anyway.

Aug. 04 2010 02:06 PM

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