In an official release, Mayor Ravi Bhalla vetoed the City Council legislation for a public referendum this November to consider bringing back runoff elections.
Last November, then a councilman and candidate for mayor, Ravi Bhalla was elected mayor with less than 33% of the vote.
A City Council rebuke to the veto can be expected as an earlier veto by the lame duck former mayor Dawn Zimmer. This would mean the Hoboken electorate will decide for themselves if they wish to bring back runoff elections by going to the polls this November.
MAYOR BHALLA CITES ILLEGAL VOTE-BUYING & REDUCED VOTER PARTICIPATION
IN VETO OF REFERENDUM TO RE-INSTATE RUNOFFS
Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla issued a veto of ordinance B-3 for a referendum to reinstate run-off elections in December, stating in part:
“Presumably, the objective of this legislation is to ensure that any successful candidate for office obtain at least 50% of the vote. While this is a worthwhile objective, it needs to be considered together with other important objectives such as maximizing voter participation and minimizing the likelihood of elections results being influenced by improper conduct. The evidence is clear that there is a dramatic reduction in voter turnout associated with December runoff elections, as we saw most recently during four Jersey City runoffs in 2017 which experienced voter turnout reductions ranging from 33.6 percent to 45.4 percent.
The open secret known by every single member of the City Council and alluded to in multiple local news reports is that there is massive vote-buying that occurs in our elections. Reducing voter turnout through runoffs in December will amplify the power of those vote-buying operations, making our elections less democratic.Therefore, the approach taken by the City Council in achieving this objective is highly misguided and amounts to poor public policy that I cannot support. A far better approach, which I fully support, is to move to instant runoff (also known as ranked choice) voting which is commonplace around the country.”
Talking Ed Note: MSV has previously stated its position supporting instant runoff elections if at all feasible. The topic is worthy of further investigation.
Here, there’s a clear push back by the administration against runoff elections and it’s in no small part due to receiving less than 33% of the vote last November.
The amount of voters many of the low information variety motivated to get out on Election Day was fully 43% of those eligible, far more than the typical 35% turnout. The Ravi “terrorist flyer” earned him a huge boost days before the election (as it was designed to do). Similarly, the significant increase in turnout last November meant efforts to buy votes, using VBMs or in votes at the machines was not only diminished but rendered inert.
Confidence is required to tackle a one-on-one runoff election. Apparently, this is missing from the Bhalla administration and Ravi Bots: fanatical insiders, underwriters and paid political operatives have been freaking out since the November election they don’t control every aspect of local government. (That some of these aspects such as council appointments preclude the mayor a vote or influence is beyond their grasp of understanding let alone acceptance. This is of course what defines them as Ravi Bots.)
Currently, there’s a Shadowy presence writing content and comments on Sybil’s Cave, home to Bhalla campaign political operatives, underwriters and insiders. A campaign began almost immediately after the November election when good governance council members Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher declined to announce fealty and unconditional support for the mayor-elect. There may be legal motivations for this too connected to ongoing lawsuits at City Hall carried from the prior administration.
Without any public opposition to Ravi Bhalla’s new administration or a single council meeting, Ravi Bots are wailing for blood and lining up in the hopes to take their place. Any such election however is well off in the distance in the fall of 2019.
Most of these wannabe Ravi Bots have done zero for Hoboken on any issue at any time. That’s politics but there’s years of proven good governance experience by Cunningham, Giattino and Fisher. There’s much going on now with Union Dry Dock and united efforts on that front. Additional transparency with access to the RFP process is one improvement showing local government can work effectively together and the Union Dry Dock effort showed some limited success with council members urging support getting behind Mayor Bhalla.
While there remains concern about voter fraud in Hoboken, an issue often said to be non-existent by these same voices in wider elections nationwide; it’s far less of a problem than it has been in recent years in the Mile Square City.
MSV set the benchmark breaking and covering stories of voter fraud since 2010. This last election didn’t feature the type of massive VBM fraud as in other years. For the first time, MSV can publicly state, the FBI was on the lookout for voter fraud activity last fall and word was on the street before the November vote. It had a chilling effect.
In the end, the Hoboken electorate will decide the runoff issue issue after five years with no runoffs. Ravi Bots will be angered with that democratic idea but most of the public will yawn and say, “See ya in November.”