Term limits law under review by the feds

By Jason Fink

The city’s controversial term limits extension, which cleared the way for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others to run for a third term, is now in the federal government’s hands.

The Justice Department has until the middle of March to decide whether the law — which overturned two public referenda limiting elected officials to two terms in office — violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by discriminating against minority voters.

“This rushed and blatantly anti-democratic measure constitutes a pathetic, perverse and outrageous disenfranchisement of voters (including many minority voters),” New York Civil Rights Coalition’s executive director, Michael Meyers, wrote to the Justice Department.

The city, however, cites “diverse council member support for the law,” noting that 17 of 25 minority council members voted in favor of the extension. “Minority voters . . . will continue to enjoy the same opportunities to elect their preferred candidates,” city Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo wrote to the Justice Department.

Three counties in New York - the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan - are subject to a provision of the Voting Rights Act that requires the federal government to approve any changes law concerning elections.

And while New Yorkers may be opposed to the term limits extension, it seems they are still supportive of the man behind the measure.

A Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday show that Bloomberg has a 69 percent approval rating.

Some 56 percent of those polled also voiced disapproval of the term limits extension.

Tags: city hall dispatch

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