By Steven Klett
Democrats Jumaane Williams, Melinda Katz and Farah Louis all swept, as expected, to easy wins and the reform ballot questions passed without resistance last night in the city’s special general election one year away from the 2020 presidential election.
In the Public Advocate general election, Williams easily retained his seat getting 74 percent of the vote against City Council member Joseph Borelli (R-Staten Island) who got 24 percent and Libertarian Devin Balkind who received two percent of the vote, according to the unofficial results when this post was written.
Williams’ win comes after a hard-fought runoff election after former Public Advocate Letitia James was elected as State Attorney General last year. Overall, unofficial results show that over 472,000 people voted for Williams, while about 126,000 voted for Borelli. Balkind got a little over 12,000 votes.
In Queens, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, South Elmhurst, Richmond Hill) defeated ex-NYPD officer and criminal defense attorney Joe Murray by a considerable margin. Katz got 74 percent of the vote while Murray got 25 percent of the vote. In all, Katz received about 116,000 votes to Murray’s 39,000 votes, according to the unofficial tally.
In Brooklyn’s District 45, incumbent City Council member Farah Louis (D-East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park, Midwood) beat out U.S. Marine Corps veteran Anthony Beckford and Libertarian David Fite. Louis got 89 percent of the vote while Beckford got 7.8 percent and Fite got 2.7 percent. The Republican Party did not contest the seat.
Additionally, voters got to decide on five ballot questions, the first and most consequential question being whether or not New York would prefer ranked voting in their upcoming local election. In this question, voters overwhelmingly voted in the affirmative with Yes getting 72 percent of the vote and No getting 22 percent. This means that voters will now get to rank up to five choices for each vote. The candidate with the most first choices will win, but this will ultimately prevent the question of a runoff if a candidate gets less than a majority percentile.
The second question concerning police accountability was also voted in the affirmative by a similar count, 71 to 29 percent. This measure’s passage means that two people, one chosen by the Mayor and the other by the Comptroller, will be added to the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB). It also means that more power is going to be afforded to the CCRB’s ability to hire employees and investigate the truthfulness of statements by the police.
The other three questions were also voted in the affirmative. Question 3, which deals with Ethics Changes for elections, was voted 76 percent in favor to 23 percent against. Question 4, which changes the city budget to allow for a “rainy day fund,” won 69.8 percent of the vote against 30.2 percent. And finally, Question 5, which allows for Borough Presidents to have more time to go over land developments, won 75 percent to 25 percent.