The recent New York City primary election saw the usual grousing by New York City politicians about the performance of the New York City Board of Elections, the one government agency operated specifically by New York City politicians.
The complaints are disingenuous. Yes the DOE initially miscalculated the ranked voting totals, but this was the first time the city had used ranked choice voting, and any time you do something new there are going to be problems the first time you do it. Nor is ranked voting itself a problem; without it we would not know the outcome of any of the primary elections as of the day I am writing this, and party nominees would be determined by a second runoff election in the heat of late July, when even most of those who showed up the first time wouldn’t bother. Instead, we have already had an “instant runoff” based on the voters’ second, third and fourth choices.
In addition, you don’t have the kind of “voter suppression” in New York that you have in other states, at least not intentionally. Thanks to additional New York City– specific reforms, moreover, there were actual city elections, with lots of choices on the ballot. Those reforms include term limits, which create open seats, public campaign financing, and ballot access reform, with fewer signatures required to run for office. If the political/union class didn’t succeed in stopping non-partisan elections in NYC, and getting rid of most minor parties in New York State (the should have prohibited the cross-endorsement of incumbents instead)…
There also might have been a real election in November, when everyone shows up, as well. As it is, at least for members of the Democratic Party, people may not be happy with the election winners, but at least they had a real choice and thus vote.
The real scandal of the Board of Elections is that in cases where there is an incumbent, it is part of a system intended – to an extent matched nowhere else in the U.S. – to ensure that there are no elections. Not as long as the incumbents do what the special interests order them to do, so those interests don’t create an actual election themselves. New York doesn’t have voter suppression; it has candidate suppression, something that turns voting into a fraud. So don’t expect candidates for New York State Assembly, New York State Senate, and the House of Representatives to come knocking on your door in spring 2022 – unless you yourself chooses to do your civic duty as a citizen in a democracy and run for one of these offices, and somehow sneak on to the ballot (as I did in 2004). Meanwhile, the choice for Governor is shaping up to be awful.Continue reading