Action Targets

Open Primaries

Florida: “All Voters Vote” is organizing a ballot initiative, requiring petition signatures, led by a consultant, Steve Vancour. The intent is to get something on the ballot for 2020 for implementation in 2022. However, there is perhaps a greater opportunity that does not require either state constitution amendment or legislation:

The Democratic Party in Miami/Dade County is considering opening its primary to Independents, and proposing a similar action at the State Party meeting in Oct, 2019. This would apply to the 2020 Presidential primaries, and beyond. 23% of Florida voters are Independents.

Missouri: This was a more immediate potential effort, of a defensive nature, to head off an initiative that had been passed by the Missouri House twice in preparation for submission to their State Senate, to revert to Closed Primaries! They needed a few more votes to get the proposal into the Senate. The resolution was tabled by the end of the last session, with probable impact from petitions and network communication publicizing this regressive proposal. Wyoming and Tennessee defeated in 2018 similar efforts to move backwards in election reform.

Ranked Choice Voting

Maine: As follow-on to the RCV success in Maine, there is a movement to move the Presidential Primary process to RCV instead of the current caucus process. There is a parallel effort to implement Open Primaries for both state and federal elections. Both of these initiatives are led by ‘seasoned’ campaigners from the RCV battles of 2018.

New York City

New York City: The opportunity to choose Ranked Choice Voting in New York City’s municipal elections will appear on the NYC ballot this Fall held on Tuesday, November 5th, 2019.  
This is a positive move for election reform and should be promoted and encouraged in order for it to be passed in the coming election.  If it passes, it will substantially expand the total number of voters in the United States that have the opportunity to participate in RCV.  This would move the city towards more candidates who are focused on a broad array of the constituents rather than just a particular narrow-interest sector.  Typical results are: 1) less negative campaigning, 2) no ‘spoiler’ candidates who displace the common favorite, 3) greater voter turnout, 4) ultimate voter satisfaction with the election process, and 5) no run-off elections.
The 2019 City Charter Revision Commission, after a series of public meetings and input from related experts, chose five major areas for change.  Listed first is Elections (Ranked Choice Voting), followed by changes in the Civilian Complaint Review Board (explanation of deviations from disciplinary recommendations), Governance (Public Advocate budget input), Budget (a rainy-day’ fund, and Land Use (more time for application reviews).
In voting on the proposed ballot items, the Commission had the opportunity to apply RCV to all municipal elections but voted to use RCV only in Primary and Special Elections.  An amendment to apply RCV to general elections as well was voted down in the Commission by 8 to 6.  The offices subject to RCV include: Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President, and City Council Members.  Voters will be permitted to rank in order of preference up to five candidates in the primaries or special elections.  
How It Works:  if no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the least number of first-choice votes would be eliminated, and the voters who chose that candidate would have their votes transferred to their second-choice candidate.  If there were no majority, this process would repeat until two candidates remained, and the candidate with the most votes at that point would win the election.
This can be a positive step forward for election reform and we believe a contribution to getting our government working again.  Support it. 

NY City Council Staff recommends that the Commission further consider and solicit feedback concerning establishing RCV in New York City municipal elections. Specifically, the Commission should consider (a) which types of elections should be subject to RCV (i.e., primary elections, special elections, and/or general elections); (b) which offices should be subject to RCV; (c) when implementation should begin, including whether there should be any phase-in period; (d) whether to utilize a hybrid RCV/run-off system under which, for example, if no candidate receives more than 40% of the total ballots cast in the final tabulation round, the race proceeds to a traditional run-off; (e) how many candidates a voter may rank on the ballot; and (f) what type of tabulation method should be used.

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