NEW YORK — Arguably the most exciting contest of this year’s New York City elections is not a race between two candidates. Big Apple voters will decide Tuesday whether to make several changes to the City Charter — including one that would alter the nature of most future municipal elections.
The 19 amendments to the city’s governing document are lumped into five ballot questions on which New Yorkers can vote yes or no. If approved, they would affect local elections, police oversight, government ethics policies, the city budget process, and public land-use reviews.
The proposals are the product of a charter revision commission the City Council empaneled last year to give the city’s constitution it’s most thorough revamp in three decades. The 15-member panel held more than 20 public hearings and meetings over the course of about a year before putting forward its ballot questions.
This may sound familiar to New Yorkers — Mayor Bill de Blasio set up his own charter revision commission last year that led to the approval of three amendments, including changes to the city’s public campaign financing system.
The latest changes are on the ballot in an odd-year election with only three elected offices at stake. But some have nonetheless drawn vocal opposition from the city’s largest police union and a bloc of City Council members of color.