Friday, April 09, 2021

Ranked Choice Voting Opponent Running No-Choice Council Race in Brooklyn 

When voters in Brooklyn's City Council District 44 cast ballots in November, they'll likely see three candidates on their ballots: a Democrat, a Republican and a Conservative.

Each political party will be represented by the same lawmaker: Kalman Yeger.

The Democratic incumbent is running unopposed on all three party lines for the June 22 primary for his Council seat — all but certainly sealing his re-election. Meanwhile, with hundreds of candidates running for City Council across the five boroughs, many of the other 51 districts have a half dozen or more hopefuls vying in the Democratic primary alone.

What's more, primary voters citywide will be able to select their top five candidates through ranked choice voting, a new system approved by voters in 2019. Yeger strongly opposed the voting change.

District 44 — covering parts of Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Midwood — is home to a large number of Hasidic and other Orthodox Jews. Since 2017, Yeger, an Orthodox Jew, has represented the Council district, which has a history of electing politicians who support Jewish organizations and concerns.

"Councilman Yeger is a lifelong Democrat, a member of his local Democratic club and serves on the Democratic County Committee," Yeger's campaign told THE CITY in a statement. "The support from the scores of neighborhood residents who signed petitions to place his name on the ballot reflects a desire by his constituents for common-sense and non-partisan solutions, and an affirmation of his record of fiscal responsibility."

While he is a registered Democrat, Yeger is allowed to run as a Democrat, Republican and Conservative, thanks to an obscure state law called the Wilson-Pakula Act of 1947. With Gov. Andrew Cuomo's support, legislators have attempted to repeal the law — to no avail.

Voters in the district turned out heavily for Donald Trump in 2020, with some precincts giving him a margin as high as 75% over Joe Biden.


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