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Guv cand Hawkins (G-NY) calls for IRV, Proportional Representation in NYC

The only way that the Green Party can regain ballot status in NY is to get 50,000 votes for their Governor candidate in 2010. This opportunity comes only once every four years, and it only applies to the Governor’s race. Gaining ballot status will enable the Green Party to run more peace candidates, more single-payer candidates, more anti-fracking candidates, and more sustainable energy candidates. The last time that the Green Party of New York State had ballot status it set the record for running the most Green candidates of any state.

Howie Hawkins for GPNYS Guv by Shawna ColeUrges Legislature to Ensure that Inmates Counted as Residents of their Home Communities
The Green Party  Governor candidate Howie Hawkins and his  Lt. Governor candidate urged the NYC Charter Commission to include preferential voting – also known as Instant Runoff Voting – for all single member elections.

The Green Party candidates also urged the Charter Commission to adopt proportional representation for City Council elections. Proposal representation, the election system used by almost all of the world’s democracies, allocates seats in legislative bodies based on the percentage of votes that each party represents.

The Green Party candidates said proportional representation would be far more democratic than Bloomberg’s push for non-partisan elections. While the Green Party candidates would benefit from non-partisan elections, since the Greens win about a third of the non-partisan elections they enter nationwide, they also said that in NYC it would greatly benefit rich, self-financed candidates like Bloomberg. The three current Green Party Mayors in New York were elected in nonpartisan village elections. “Despite what we are taught in school, our present system of winner-take- all (plurality) elections actually makes the US once of the least democratic democracies in the world. Combined with our lack of strong public campaign finance laws and lack of equal access to the media, our electoral system produces two right-of-center political parties dominated by special interest funding. Voters too often are forced into defensive voting, casting their votes for the lesser-of-two- evil candidates rather than voting for the candidate they most want. In single member elections such as for Mayor, preferential voting eliminates the lesser-of-two- evil problem,” said Gloria Mattera, a Park Slope resident who is the Green Party nominee for Lt. Governor.

Mattera also pointed out that IRV voting would also save the City tens of millions of dollars by avoiding special runoff elections when city or borough wide candidates fail to get 40% of the vote in primaries. The city was forced to spend $15 million, during a serious financial crisis, to pay for the 2009 double run-off elections (Public Advocate & Comptroller) .
The Green Party worked a number of years ago with Sen. Liz Krueger, after she was elected to the State Senate on the Green and Democrat lines, to introduce state legislation to establish instant run off voting.

The current system of plurality voting often results in the election of a candidate that does not have the majority support of the electorate when there are three or more candidates involved. Further, where there are three or more candidates for an elective office, voters often make the choice to not vote for their preferred candidate to avoid “wasting” their vote or worry they are supporting a “spoiler”. Rather, they will vote against a candidate they dislike, by voting for a leading candidate that they perceive as the lesser of two evils. The result of the current system in multi-candidate races can be the election of candidates that lack majority support.

Robert’s Rules of Order (RRO), the well-known guide to fair procedures, makes the point that an election by a mere plurality may produce an unrepresentative result. It recommends voting methods that can determine a majority winner when electing single-seat offices.
The instant runoff voting method provides for the majority election for
elective offices. Instant runoff voting gives voters the option to rank
candidates according to the order of their choice. If no candidate obtains a majority of first-choice votes, then the candidate receiving the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated. Each vote cast for the eliminated candidate shall be transferred to the candidate who was the voter’s next choice on the ballot. The process is continued until a candidate receives a majority of votes.

IRV increases voter turnout, encourages more candidates to run for office, promotes positive issue-based campaigns, and discourages mudslinging among candidates who are competing for second- and third-place votes from each others’ supporters.

If IRV had existed in the NYC Mayoral race in 2001, Mark Green would have
avoided the contentious runoff after the delayed September 21st primary.
The battle between Green and Fernando Ferrer cost tax payers millions of
dollars while increasing racial tensions. Avoiding the runoff would possibly
have changed the outcome of the general election with Bloomberg.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee for Governor, added, “We support
proportional representation. With proportional representation every party
gets representation in proportion to the votes they receive. This will end the
single-member- district, plurality-wins- all system that encourages
defensive voting for the lesser of two evils and thus preserves the
two-corporate- party duopoly.”

The Greens noted that an additional benefit of proportional representation
is that in increases diversity, including from communities of color.

6 Responses

  1. […] On The Wilder Side: Guv cand Hawkins (G-NY) calls for IRV, Proportional Representation in NYC […]

  2. […] Guv cand Hawkins (G-NY) calls for IRV, Proportional Representation in NYC (www.onthewilderside.com) […]

  3. […] Guv cand Hawkins (G-NY) calls for IRV, Proportional Representation in NYC (www.onthewilderside.com) […]

  4. […] Guv cand Hawkins (G-NY) calls for IRV, Proportional Representation in NYC (www.onthewilderside.com) […]

  5. […] Guv cand Hawkins (G-NY) calls for IRV, Proportional Representation in NYC (www.onthewilderside.com) […]

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