Now that there are two runoff elections tomorrow—one for Public Advocate and the other for City Comptroller—it's believed that the city will shell out over $14 million (including matching funds to candidates) to hold the elections. And only 10% of the city's 3.1 million Democrats are expected to head to the polls.
This is all because no candidate in either race received 40% or more of the vote—Bill de Blasio bested Mark Green 32% to 31% in the PA race while John Liu received 38% of the Comptroller vote to David Yassky's 30%. The NY Times begs the question, "Are Runoffs Superfluous?" and finds out from some veteran politicians that the answer is yes: Current Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, who won her 2001 runoff, said, "It’s awful. What makes it so awful is that you have to raise a lot of money in that little time," while Fernando Ferrer, who lost the 2001 mayoral runoff to Mark Green, agreed, "Fund-raising is always distracting and absolutely necessary to be able to mount an effective campaign."
One suggestion is that NYC adopt an instant runoff system: When voters head to the polls on primary day, they can rank candidates in order of their preference. Gotham Gazette explains, "If no candidate receives a majority vote, then a series of runoffs are simulated using each voter’s preferences as indicated on the initial ballot. This eliminates a return trip to the poll, saving the taxpayers money that can go toward other much-needed city services." Here's an explanation from Fair Vote.