Editorial: Your vote really does count this time

Town & Village has opined before about the uselessness of certain city elected positions, like borough presidents and the public advocate, the latter of which has an office that’s currently up for grabs.

On Tuesday, February 26, there is an open special election for the office of public advocate, which was vacated by Letitia James when she became attorney general. Now, 17 people are vying for her position, which despite having no real power, has proven to be very powerful in another way, by boosting one’s profile for the next big race. Mayor Bill de Blasio is a good example of this.

We can understand, however, if people aren’t motivated to do these candidates  any favors. It’s hard to think of any important things accomplished by the public advocate other than the maintenance of the worst landlord watchdog list. But even this is not enough of a reason to keep the office open at the taxpayers’ expense in our view. That said, our view on this matter doesn’t actually matter at all because despite an ongoing City Council effort to eliminate the position, of public advocate, it’s still there. So New Yorkers may as well make the best of their (many) options.

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Public advocate race cheat sheet

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, New York voters will have the opportunity to elect the next public advocate, following the last occupant of this office, Letitia James, becoming the attorney general.

While this is a role with little governing power, it’s widely seen as a stepping stone for individuals looking to become mayor or to gain other prominent positions. As to why New Yorkers should bother with this race, there is also the fact that the office exists to be a watchdog, a check on the mayor. Meanwhile, the public advocate is also the first in line to assume the title of mayor if something were to happen to the mayor. The public advocate can also introduce and sponsor legislation.

This race has proven to be extraordinarily competitive with 17 people on the ballot (one of them inactive) in an open special election. Voters shouldn’t expect to just pick a random name that matches their party as candidates have come up with their own party lines. The competition won’t end after February 26, though. In September there will be a primary and in November, a general election.

Read on to learn a few details about each name on this race’s bloated ballot.

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