By David Brand
Councilmember Rory Lancman, the first candidate to declare for the Queens district attorney, abruptly dropped out of the race five days ahead of the Democratic primary — but his name appeared on the June 25 ballot and his TV commercials continued to run leading up to the race.
He ended up receiving more than 1,100 votes, indicating that at least some voters did not realize he had bailed on the race.
A new bill sponsored by State Sen. Joseph Addabbo would help spread the word in future contests by blocking ballots that contain a vote for a candidate who withdrew from the race before the election. After the machine rejects the initial vote, the voter would have another chance to fill out a ballot.
“I feel that all voters should be fully informed of all the active candidates in a race for political office,” Addabbo said. “Voters should know when they cast a vote for a candidate that has officially dropped out of the race and have the opportunity to fill out another ballot for a different candidate that is still running, if they so choose.”
Lancman endorsed Borough President Melinda Katz for DA a few days before the primary, and Addabbo said his presence on the ballot inspired the bill.
“With my bill, voters would get the opportunity to fill out a new ballot and ensure their vote is cast for an active candidate, or they can leave their vote the way it was if they please,” Addabbo said.
If the bill passes the state legislature, it would go into effect on January 1, 2021.