The Hoboken City Council voted 7-2 in favor of an ordinance that will place a referendum on next year’s general election ballot allowing Hoboken voters to decide whether or not they’d like runoffs in municipal elections.
This year saw a particularly contentious race for Mayor in Hoboken, with six candidates jockeying for the position. Ravi Bhalla won that election, but only managed to secure 32.75% of the vote. Councilman Michael DeFusco, who came in second with 29.6%, says, “I believe reinstating runoff elections is essential to bringing new energy and new ideas to our political discourse.”
Hoboken used to have runoff elections, but in 2012 voters chose to move municipal elections from May to November—in the process doing away with runoffs. The lack of clarity over that detail became apparent in the recent election, as a number of residents felt the runoff was still in play.
DeFusco presented the ordinance in a recent City Hall meeting. “I thank my Council colleagues for approving this measure and recognizing the need to give our neighbors the choice to decide whether or not to bring back runoff elections,” he said.
If the referendum passes in 2018, the runoffs would be implemented in 2019 in municipal elections elections where no candidate receives a majority of the votes.