Efforts to postpone the introduction of ranked-choice voting in New York City are intensifying as the special elections, serving as the method’s proving ground, draw close.
Six City Council members filed a lawsuit to halt its use in a February 2 special election.
Now, Daneek Miller said he had sought to do the same by legislation, but such a draft "is being held from being introduced to the body by the legislative mechanisms of the institution."
On Thursday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he believes only the voters or Albany can put off ranked-choice voting, but: “There’s not time to have another referendum to ask for a delay. I don’t know of any bills in the state Legislature that seek a delay.”
Miller is part of a coalition arguing that the lack of education about ranked-choice voting will confuse and disadvantage non-white New Yorkers.
Johnson and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams — both of whom vocally advocated in 2019 for the system's adoption — agree that informing the public is crucial.
Williams appeared to have less faith in the city’s readiness than Johnson.
In tweets, he cited "real internal problems."
He added, “We are deeply concerned with the ability of the city to make up for these failures in time for the upcoming special elections.”
Meanwhile, Johnson said, “If the city does its job in educating the public about ranked-choice voting, it should help us have elections in which more candidates have a shot at winning and campaigns are less negative.”
Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo is among the opponents who say that, though voters approved ranked-choice voting in 2019 by 73%, the low turnout means there's no mandate.
“We certainly respect the will of the voters; the challenge that we have is that there was no outreach or education for voters who voted for ranked-choice voting in the first place.”
The Campaign Finance Board says it’s spending $2 million on ranked-choice voting education plus $8 million on the voters’ guide that includes information on the changes.
Still, that total pales in comparison to what Cumbo has noted was $40 million spent on outreach about the importance of the Census.
The new system will allow voters to rank their candidates in order of preference.