Voters in Election 2019 will want to make sure they check the back of their ballot this year where they will find five ballot questions on proposals to amend the New York City Charter, which is the city’s Constitution, that lays the framework for government.
The first ballot question involves ranked-choice voting, vacancies and the City Council redistricting timeline.
A yes vote on this question means the voter is in favor of amending the city charter to establish ranked-choice voting to be used for primary and special elections beginning in 2021; to increase the time between a city office vacancy and the special election to fill it from 45 days (60 for mayor) to 80 days; and to change the timeline for City Council redistricting to complete it prior to City Council nominating petition signature collection.
A no vote for this question would be a vote against amending the city charter and leaving it the way it is currently constructed in regards to voting in primaries and special elections, and the City Council redistricting timeline.
Ballot question 2 is a vote on the Civilian Complaint Review Board Charter Amendment.
A yes vote is a vote in favor of amending the city charter to add two members to the 13-member CCRB — one appointed by the public advocate and one jointly by the mayor and the speaker of the City Council; allow to the City Council to appoint members directly without the mayor having final appointing authority; require the CCRB annual budget to be enough to hire employees to equal to 0.65 percent of the Police Department’s uniformed officer headcount unless the mayor determines that fiscal necessity prevents it; add to the city charter the requirement that the city police commissioner provide the CCRB with a written explanation whenever the board’s disciplinary recommendations aren’t followed; authorize the CCRB to investigate the truthfulness of statements made during its investigations of complaints; and allow the CCRB to delegate its authority to issue and enforce subpoenas.
A vote no on ballot question 2 would leave the CCRB the way it is right now.
Ballot question 3 looks to amend the city’s Ethics and Government Charter.
A yes vote is a vote to amend the city charter to increase the amount of time after leaving service before elected officials or senior appointed officials can appear before the city agencies in which they served from one year to two years; replace two of the five members on the Conflicts of Interest Board appointed by the mayor with a member appointed by the comptroller and a member appointed by the public advocate; prohibit members of the COIB from involvement with city office campaigns and restrict contributions to COIB members to campaigns between $250 and $400 depending on the office; add to the city charter a requirement to make Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise report directly to the mayor and to require a mayoral office for the MWBE; and require City Council confirmation of the city’s corporation counsel appointed by the mayor.
A no vote on this amendment makes no changes to the above issues.
Ballot question 4 seeks to amend the city charter regarding the city’s Budget Charter as it relates to the Revenue Stabilization Fund, public advocate and borough president budgets and reporting by the mayor.
A yes vote is to allow a rainy day fund to go into effect with requires state law changes; set minimum public advocate and borough president budgets based on the 2020 fiscal year adjusted based on inflation or the total change in the city’s total budget; move the deadline for the mayor’s revenue report (excluding property taxes) to the City Council from June 5 to April 26; and set a deadline of 30 days for the mayor to submit changes to the city’s financial plan requiring budget changes to the City Council.
A no vote is a vote to keep these elements of the city budget the same as they currently stand.
Ballot question 5 relates to the city’s Land Use Charter by seeing to change the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).
A yes vote is in favor of amending the city charter to require the Department of City Planning to provide a summary of ULURP projects to the borough president, board and community board.
Affected by the project 30 days prior to when the project application is certified for review by the public and increase the amount of time allowed for review of the ULURP projects by the affected community boards from 60 days to either 75 days or 90 days, depending on timing.
A no vote is a vote against these changes and to leave the ULURP process the same.