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Monday, June 27, 2011

Citizens Union Releases Report on Special Elections -- Urges Reforms

Citizens Union released a report today that shows that 1 in 4 legislators were first elected in a special election. That means that they managed to get into office outside of the normal democratic process. The report urges a number of reforms to ensure that whenever there is a vacancy there is a process where the voters get to decide who fills the seat.

19 comments:

  1. Excellent and very interesting. It says that in a 1994 special election, Jeffrey Dinowitz (Democrat), the state assemblyman currently representing the 81st District in Bronx County, replaced G. Oliver Koppell, who was appointed by the legislature to fill the vacancy for State Attorney General.

    Any idea how many people voted in that special election? And by how many votes did Dinowitz win?

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  2. As someone noted the other day, RUBEN DIAZ, JR. was first elected Bronx Borough President in a SPECIAL ELECTION in 2009 where he received just 28,301 votes . . . That’s LESS THAN FIVE PERCENT (or 4.29 percent to be more precise) of the approximately 660,000 registered voters in the Bronx, and just TWO PERCENT of the nearly 1.4 million people who live in the Bronx.

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  3. Jeffrey Dinowitz barely won the 1994 special election to fill the Assembly seat that was vacated by Oliver Koppell. Dinowitz beat Mark Friedlander by ONLY 132 VOTES out of the 6,520 votes cast.
    That special election, which was held on February 15, 1994, filled the remainder of Koppell’s term, which ended on December 31, 1994. Dinowitz kept his seat in the next election, and he has stayed in that spot ever since.

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  4. Nice report. That undemocratic special election system stinks.

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  5. Garbage in, garbage out !

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  6. The fact that Ruben Diaz Jr. was elected by less than 5% of the electorate helps explain why he's totally unknown to most Bronx residents.

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  7. What a waste that the institution of borough president even exists. Think of all the money, resources and staff squandered on a position that has no executive power, no legislative power, no judicial power, and only ceremonial functions!

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  8. J.R.Dobbs is BishopJune 29, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Anonymous @10:56, That is exactly how I feel about the City Councilperson on a part-time basis renaming streets for a living. All those resources and power squandered on Dedication certificates and renaming streets. Bronxites need to be willing to vote outside the box for competent individuals to legislate. It won't happen unless the current petitioning process is reformed, it should be a fee for ballot access. Special Elections are interesting because they are non-partisan. So the wasp nest gets smacked down and the wasps don't know for whom to vote..... But all you need are a few hundred foot soldiers in the district that know the game, that is why County and union hacks win easily. Are all you Democrats willing to vote for a Republican? Or Conservative? Because their ballot access is not as costly as the Democrats.

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  9. By the way, from 2008 to 2010, Assemblyman DINOWITZ's margin of victory in the General Elections DECREASED by MORE THAN 18 PERCENT!

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  10. Hey Anonymous at June 29, 2011 1:37 PM:

    You said that Jeffrey Dinowitz's margin of victory was down by more than 18% from 2008 to 2010. Any idea how many fewer votes we are talking about?

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  11. In the 2010, Assemblyman Dinowitz got 15,159 FEWER VOTES in the general election than he did in 2008.

    He only got a total of 13,543 votes in 2010, and but in 2008 he got 28,702. So 28,702 minus 13,543 equals 15,159.

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  12. Those Dinowitz numbers don't matter since the voter turnout was determined entirely by who was running on the top of the ticket.

    2008 was for the Presidency of the United States (Obama defeated McCain), but in 2010, the top of the ballot was for the less-exciting posts of US Senator and NY Governor.

    The American Presidency is the most important and prestigious political position on the planet. However, the races for US Senate and NY Governor are much less of a draw for voters. Either way, a lowly state assembly seat just doesn't make it onto a average voter's radar.

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  13. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that the drop in Dinowitz's vote total between 2008 and 2010 might have had something to do with the fact that one election was attached to arguably the most exciting Presidential race in American history, and the other wasn't*.

    *Because this blog (lamely) insists on moderating comments, it is highly likely that another commenter has beaten me to the punch in making this observation. My apologies.

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  14. And the next "special" election will be to replace Congressman Weiner!

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  15. J.R.Dobbs is BishopJuly 2, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Soooo...Anonymous@7:26 who went out on that limb...What the numbers secretly say is that 13,543 are foot soldiers in that district and 15,159 blindly vote Democrat. That's a lot of Member Item Funding floating around.

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  16. So it seems that the higher the turnout then the lower Dinowitz's percentage of the votes. Oh, if only we had a 95% turnout!

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  17. "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." -- Plato

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  18. Actually, anonymous on 7/4 @6:43 am, Plato stated:
    "...you surely know that passion for honours or for money is rightly regarded as something to be ashamed of...and the heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself. That is the fear, I believe, that makes decent people accept power..." as stated by Socrates in The Republic of Plato

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  19. Actually, Plato said it in Greek.

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