Lane Calls for Instant Runoff Voting in Future Citywide Elections to Promote Democracy Save Tax Dollars

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2013

Lane Calls for Instant Runoff Voting in Future Citywide Elections to Promote Democracy Save Tax Dollars

Working Families Party Candidate Can Save The City $20 Million By Conceding To Prevent A Run Off

James Lane, the Green Party candidate for Public Advocate, urged yesterday that NYC adopt instant runoff voting to save tens of millions of dollars by avoiding runoffs in primaries for citywide races.

“It’s unconscionable to me that we are going to have a $20 million runoff election when one of the candidates is already guaranteed a spot on the November ballot under the Working Families Party” says James Lane, Green Party candidate for Public Advocate. “This is the exact type of misuse of public funds I want to prevent in the future”, Lane continues “as a candidate that is supposed to be representing the issues of working families in this city should not be portraying themselves as a champion of the people on one hand, while taking away public money needed for healthcare, housing, jobs and schools with the other.”

Lane supports IRV (Aka preferential voting) in single member elections. However, he supports electing the City Council through some form of proportional representation which is the standard practice in almost all of the world's democracies. Proposal representation allocates seats in legislative bodies based on the percentage of votes that each party represents.

IRV voting would 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 - as is the case based on the results of last night's Public Advocate Democratic Party primary. The city was already forced to spend $15 million, during a serious financial crisis, to pay for the 2009 double run-off elections (Public Advocate & Comptroller) and now we’re set to spend another $20 million next month.

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 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.

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.


James Lane is the Green Party candidate for Public Advocate. Lane has never had a paid government position but he has volunteered locally to improve his community. If elected, he plans on focusing on Adoptee Rights, Affordable Housing, Consumer Rights, Mass Transit and Public Health among other issues. He currently lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his wife and child.

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For additional information please contact: James Lane at, 917-865-2591

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