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VOTE YES on 1-5 - NYC Voter Guide 2019


Polls are open in NYC Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 5th, from 6:00 AM to 9:00 P.M.
In NYC, you can find your poll site (and a sample ballot) at

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 5th, is Election Day. While we’re all focused on next year’s elections, some important local questions will be decided here tomorrow.

First, I encourage everyone to vote for Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate. Jumaane is as legitimate a progressive leader as you will find in New York. He’s started off strong in the role of Public Advocate, and he will continue to be a desperately needed independent, progressive voice.

For most New Yorkers, the most important thing on your ballot this year are ballot questions.  I encourage you vote  YES ON ALL FIVE questions.  Here’s why:

YES on Question 1: Ranked Choice Voting and other electoral reforms.

Ranked Choice Voting is a system in which voters rank their preferred candidates from 1- 5. If no candidate gets more than 50%, the bottom candidates’ #2 votes are re-allocated until one candidate has support from a majority of voters. This proposal would implement RCV for primaries and special elections

Ranked Choice Voting:

  • Forces candidates to expand beyond their “base” and campaign across their districts.
  • Eliminates the “spoiler effect” and allows voters to vote for the candidate most aligned with their values, without having to worry about “splitting the vote.”
  • For citywide elections, RCV will eliminate the need for expensive, low-turnout runoff elections. 
  • More accurately reflects the values of a district.

The measure also includes two other proposals, regarding the timelines for redistricting and special elections. Both are positive changes that will reduce wasteful and non-representative elections.

See an explanation of How Ranked Choice Voting Works below:


YES on Question 2: Reforms to the Civilian Complaint Review Board on police misconduct.

So, this is pretty weak tea for a serious issue. Police violence, corruption, and perjury destroy lives and terrorize communities. The CCRB is an independent body that reviews complaints against police officers. It adds two members to the board, ensures a steadier funding stream, makes it easier for the CCRB to issue subpoenas, and requires the NYPD to provide the CCRB with an explanation when they do not follow a recommendation to remove or discipline an officer. The last point would be great if it made the explanation public. Unfortunately, it does not. The explanation will only be for the CCRB.

Real reform will have to come from Albany. However, this is a small step in the right direction. I encourage those who care about police misconduct to vote Yes.

YES on Question 3: Ethics Reforms

More weak tea on another serious issue. The revolving door between government and lobbying empowers wealthy interests at the expense of our communities. This will extend the time elected and appointed City officials are banned from lobbying. Disappointingly, it doesn’t take effect until after the current class of Council Members and appointed City officials’ terms are up. But it will improve things a bit down the road. It also slightly changes the structure of the Conflicts of Interests Board. 

Again, a small step in the right direction. I encourage you to vote yes.

YES of Question 4: City Budget Reforms

This allows the city to create a “rainy day fund” (which it is currently barred from doing). Economic times change, and it’s a good idea to set some reserves during the good times. Right now, the Council does some of this with frankly shady accounting tricks. This will bring the process out in the open. It also ensures a stable budget for the Public Advocate and Borough Presidents – insulating them from retaliatory budget cuts.

YES on Question 5: Land Use Reforms

You guessed it! This is more weak tea on a very important issue. Land Use is just about the most important thing City government does. This proposal essentially requires notice to community boards and the borough president 30 days before the City certifies a Land Use application for review. In essence, it allows communities to be involved in shaping the application, rather than just opposing, supporting, or “demanding” modifications. It also adds more time for Community Board review.

Some have opposed this proposal, on the grounds that it will strengthen “NIMBY” opposition to development. Whatever one thinks of that characterization, allowing communities input at the planning stage seems likely to mitigate opposition to rational projects and discourage the submission of clearly destructive ones. Please vote Yes on 5.

I hope you have found this helpful. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and of course, don’t forget to vote!

  • Paul Newell
    published this page in Campaign Blog 2019-11-04 15:32:24 -0500

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