Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Gotham Votes 2013

Gotham Votes

You May Have To Squint To Read The Ballot

The ballots for November's election will be printed in 6-point font, the smallest size ever used by the city's Board of Elections.

The font size is so small that board officials say they may offer anyone struggling to read the ballot specialized devices typically used by people who are visually impaired.

“This was the best decision we could make in this election cycle considering the challenges we were facing with the complexity of the ballot,” Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan said at the meeting.

Read more: You May Have To Squint To Read The Ballot

6 Proposals On November's Ballot And What They Mean

Besides picking a new mayor, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to approve or reject six ballot measures this year. Voters are being asked to decide on upstate land disputes, whether to approve an extension for how long certain state judges can serve on the bench and whether to allow up to seven casinos to be built. Since there are so many questions about the proposals, we here at the Gazette thought it might be helpful to provide readers with a look at the questions in advance and provide some context so that you won’t be left scratching your head at the polls.

Here are the ballot measures in order as they will appear on Nov. 5:

Read more: 6 Proposals On November's Ballot And What They Mean

Campaign Trail: Weekend Update

Republican GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota battles "spillover effect" from Republican-led shutdown of federal government. (Newsday)

Lhota's plan for downsizing government. (Crain's New York)

Over the weekend, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio labeled himself first as a "fiscal conservative" and then as a "fiscally responsible progressive." "I am a progressive, I am an activist, I’m also fiscally cautious,” de Blasio said. (The New York Post)

Business and real estate interests foresee battle with de Blasio over living wage. (Wall Street Journal)

De Blasio's fundraising soars. (The New York Times)

De Blasio and Lhota celebrated the Rev. Al Sharpton's 59th birthday with him at his organization's headquarters in Harlem on Saturday. De Blasio got a standing ovation; Lhota did not. (The Daily News)

Assemblyman Micah Kellner, who lost the Democratic primary for the 5th City Council District, filed papers indicating he intended to run in the general election on the Working Families Party line. (Politicker)

De Blasio's victory is "a reminder that through some inexplicable emanation, certain New York mayors have caught perfectly the gestalt of the city." (New York Review of Books)




Baruch to Host Conference on Ballot Measures

Baruch College will host a Justice League-style gathering of state government experts on Tuesday for a discussion of the state constitution and the six ballot proposals voters get to decide on this November. Some of those amendments include a measure that would allow the state to sanction up to seven new casinos, another would allow certain judges to serve to the age of 80 and another asks whether the state should engage in a land exchange with a mining company.

Read more: Baruch to Host Conference on Ballot Measures

Advocates Call For Reform Of Runoff Elections

Fewer than 200,000 New Yorkers turned out to vote in the costly Democratic primary runoff for public advocate that saw Letitia James take the party nomination.

Referring to the pitiful return on investment of spending some $13 million spent on a one-race election, government reformers and elected officials gathered today at City Hall to call for instant runoff voting.

Read more: Advocates Call For Reform Of Runoff Elections

Lawyer Says State Is Playing Word Games With Casino Proposal

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Voters this November will be asked to decide in a referendum whether to allow up to seven new casinos to be built in the state. Thankfully, the ballot proposal has some positively glowing things to say about the plans. For instance, it states that casinos will help with "promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools and permitting local governments to lower property taxes." Which all sounds wonderful, except that some opponents of gambling think casinos contribute to problems like addiction and poverty and constitute a "regressive tax."

One of those opponents — a bankruptcy lawyer from Brooklyn — has now sued the state over the language of the referendum, calling it blatantly promotional. “The Constitution is pretty clear that you can’t use public money to sway or influence a vote,” said Eric J. Snyder in The New York Times.

Read more: Lawyer Says State Is Playing Word Games With Casino Proposal

James Takes Public Advocate Runoff By Large Margin

City Councilwoman Letitia James will likely become the first black woman to hold citywide office after winning last night's Democratic primary runoff for public advocate.

The race with state Sen. Daniele Squadron ended with a 20-point spread between the two, a wider margin that even those close to the James campaign weren’t expecting.With 99 percent of precincts reporting, James had about 60 percent of the vote, The Associated Press reported last night. Results are unofficial until certified by the Board of Elections.

After the results showed she had 60 percent of the vote, James took to a small stage set up in a Times Square club, surrounded by supporters. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Comptroller John Liu, she held back tears and clasped her hand to her chest as cheers filled the room. 

Read more: James Takes Public Advocate Runoff By Large Margin

Heated Public Advocate Runoff Ends Tonight

New Yorkers might not know it, but today’s another election day.

Last month’s Democratic primary left the city with a tossup for who the next public advocate would be. Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James took a small lead just shy of the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff with state Senator Daniel Squadron at second place.

But Squadron hasn’t been playing like a runner-up in the last days ahead of the election. If anything, the lead up to the runoff has been nastier than what any of the candidates experienced in the primary.

Read more: Heated Public Advocate Runoff Ends Tonight

Brooklyn Candidate Alleges Dirty Tricks In Council Race

The Democratic primary for Brooklyn's 48th district may be over, but one of the candidates is crying foul over what he alleges were dirty tricks used in the race.

Ari Kagan, who came in second in the race to represent neighborhoods like Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, says one of his rivals was behind a campaign to disinform Russian-speaking voters in the heavily Russian immigrant neighborhoods.

Read more: Brooklyn Candidate Alleges Dirty Tricks In Council Race

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