To The Editor:
As the coordinator of the Queens Independence Club, I testified on May 9 at a public hearing of the mayor’s appointed New York City Charter Revision Commission, encouraging the commission to put an amendment to the vote for nonpartisan municipal elections in New York City.
Every American believes in our founding principle of “no taxation without representation” and we need to enforce that principle today. The New York City Charter Revision Commission could create a proposal for nonpartisan municipal elections to be voted on by the people of New York City, asking whether everyone should be allowed to vote in the first round of voting, regardless of whether they are registered in a party.
Political parties should have the right to organize, and as private associations, they should be able to decide how their nominees are chosen. However, they shouldn’t have it both ways. If they function as private associations, then our collective tax dollars should not fund their private activities. Taxpayer funds should be used to benefit all our citizens and should fund an election process that benefits and includes all voters.
We cannot justify funding a primary system in which the taxpayers fund Democratic and Republican party primaries in New York City at a moment when there are over one million independents in the City—over 300,000 more than Republican registrants.
The Charter Revision Commission has been charged by the mayor to “include an examination of New York City’s campaign finance system, enhancing voter participation and improving the electoral process.” Surely, that needs to embrace making sure independent voters have full voting rights.