Bronx voters could help change future of city elections

When Bronx voters head to the polls on Tuesday, they will decide on whether to keep or replace their local city council members. Citizens will also get to vote on several important referendums, including one that could change the political process in New York City.A referendum concerning non-partisan politics is on the ballot this year, and it has taken the spotlight in this election. Some lawmakers say that so much attention is focused on the issue, that it overshadows other ballot initiatives and the eight city council races. This referendum would eliminate party labels from city elections, which would also eliminate the need for primaries.New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-NYC) has been pushing the idea for months, saying that it would give minorities and lesser-known candidates a better chance at winning political seats. However, critics say doing away with party labels would only confuse voters and give the wealthy an advantage. If approved, the changes would not go into effect until 2009.The ballot also contains two referendums that deal with state matters outside the Bronx. If approved, they would let small towns upstate borrow money to build sewers and new schools. Voters will also decide on a referendum on streamlining the way the city hands out contracts, and a referendum that would replace the Voter Assistance Commission with a seven-member panel.Polls open Tuesday at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.

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