On Election Day, New York City voters will use brand new voting machines to decide on a menu of changes to city government embodied in two questions, one dealing with the well-trod territory of term limits, the other with a series of changes to the landscape for campaigns and city agencies.
The city’s Campaign Finance Board is soliciting pro and con statements from citizens to publish online and, in some cases and in excerpt form, in its printed Voters Guide.
Click here to learn how to submit your statement.
After months of hearings that covered topics ranging from land use to government integrity to the powers of borough presidents and whether the city needed nonpartisan elections or a department to oversee food, the 15-member Charter Revision Commission earlier this month approved a scaled-down menu of choices.
One question asks whether voters want to re-impose a two-term limit on elected officials. Such a limit was approved by referendum in 1993 but overturned by the Council and mayor in 2008. The current law permits three terms. If voters approve the switch back to a two-term limit, it would not affect current officeholders who are in their first or second terms, meaning people first elected in 2005 or 2009 could serve three terms. If voters defeat the ballot question, the current three-term limit would remain the law.
A second question combines a slew of changes to how elections and city agencies work—requiring the disclosure of expenditures that affect elections but aren’t connected to campaigns, reducing the number of petition signatures needed to get on the ballot for city office, merging the Voter Assistance Board with the Campaign Finance Board, mandating training on conflicts of interests rules and increasing fines for violations, permitting the mayor to merge administrative tribunals, allowing a city commission to propose the elimination of requirements on city agencies to report information and putting more information in the maps the city uses to decide where to locate government facilities.
While they might seem to be mere technical changes, the latter set of proposals has triggered opposition.