By CYRIL JOSH BARKER, Amsterdam News Staff
New Yorkers spoke loud and clear at the polls on Tuesday by allowing city elected officials to serve only two terms. The vote also prevents the City Council from voting to extend term limits.
Responding to one of two questions on the back of their ballots, 74 percent of people voted in favor to keep term limits to two terms. The decision comes after Mayor Michael Bloomberg extended term limits in 2008, allowing him to run and win a third term in 2009.
Last week, Bloomberg came out in support of reducing term limits back to two, simply stating during a press conference, “I’m voting to restore it.”
The new policy only applies to those who were first elected during or after the 2010 general election and prohibits the City Council from altering the term limits of elected officials who were then serving in office.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said that the vote sends a clear message saying citizens are in favor of term limits and that it’s a sign that government is back in the hands of the people.
“The voters have waited two long years to make their voices heard on term limits, and today, they delivered a clear answer,” he said. “This vote has done more than reinstate the two-term limit that was unjustly extended—it did what two previous referendums did not by prohibiting elected officials from ever awarding themselves extra terms. We’ve taken a big step towards restoring the public trust broken in 2008.”
Along with term limits, voters also voted in favor of several election reform measures, including reducing the number of signatures necessary for a candidate to get on a ballot, strengthening conflict of interest regulations and requiring more disclosure about campaign spending.