Hoboken has voted heavily in favor of restoring a runoff system for its Mayoral elections, with nearly 74% of the electorate voting “YES” to the ballot question.
The referendum was initially put forth by members of the Hoboken City Council following the 2017 election, in which Mayor Ravi Bhalla took office after defeating five other candidates, securing 32.75% of the vote. The measure would require a runoff between the top two vote-getters, should a candidate fail to obtain 50+% of the vote.
In December of 2017, in one of her last moves as Mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer rejected the Hoboken City Council’s 7-2 decision to put forth a referendum to restore runoff elections in municipal contests. Again, in January, Bhalla vetoed the ordinance less than a month into his administration, citing potential for voter fraud.
That veto was overridden by the Council in February, and the referendum passed the vote tonight with flying colors.
The runoff system was done away with following a 2012 referendum, which moved Hoboken’s municipal elections from May to November.
Leading up to this vote, there a lot of discussion about Ranked Choice Voting, or Instant Runoffs—where voters select a number of candidates in order. That method is currently not an option in New Jersey.
Should a candidate win more than 50% of the vote, the runoff will not be necessary.