To the Editor of the New York Times:

Mara Gay diagnoses the problem with New York City democracy: it’s “a one-party affair” (June 16). But she doesn’t offer the solutions: (1) extend ranked-choice voting to the general election and (2) proportionally represent all parties on city council through ranked-choice voting from multi-member districts.

City council was elected by proportional representation five times from 1937 to 1945 using ranked-choice voting from multi-seat borough-wide districts. It created a multi-party democracy with four or five parties represented after each election, including Fusion, American Labor, Communist, and nonpartisan independents.

Before and after proportional representation, the Democrats have held over 90% of the seats with a far lower percentage of the citywide vote. The current system of single-member winner-take-all district elections denies representation to voters who support third parties like the Greens and the smaller major party in what are effectively one-party districts.

The solution to this one-party affair is a return to proportional representation on city council through ranked-choice voting in multi-member districts.

Howie Hawkins

June 16, 2022

Howie Hawkins 2020

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