On November 4, 2003 New Yorkers will go to the polls and vote in their local city council races, and on several proposed changes to the City Charter and State Constitution.
But one item on the ballot-proposal number three-a referendum on nonpartisan elections-would transform city politics. It's been at the center of a heated political battle over the past several weeks. Even former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Presidential Candidate Howard Dean have joined the fray.
If passed, this measure would abolish party primaries in New York City for the offices of Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President, and City Council. Instead there would be a September election open to all voters and all candidates regardless of party affiliation or independent status. The two top vote-getters in each category would then go on to compete in the November general elections.
Those in favor of the measure argue that it would take power away from the political bosses who control local politics, and increase voter participation. Opponents believe that nonpartisan elections would empower wealthy insurgents lacking in accountability.
Click here to watch the video which discusses reasons to vote yes, or no, on proposal number three.
Featured in this taped piece are:
Fernando Ferrer is president of the Drum Major Institute, a former borough president of the Bronx, and mayoral candidate.
Betsy Gotbaum is New York City's Public Advocate.
Henry Stern is the president of New York Civic, a former parks commissioner and city councilman. For a more thorough explanation of Stern's views, read his paper, "Would Non-Partisan Elections Offset County Leaders' Power?".
Gloria Waldron is the President of New York Acorn.
Dr. Lenora Fulani is a member of the executive committee of the Independence Party of New York and a former presidential candidate.