Just to review the issue, the chart below tracks the history of the weighted vote in Hudson since it was first implemented in the 1970s.
The chart shows the number of votes the Common Council president and each alderman casts and the number of affirmative votes required for a simple majority. Comparing the numbers across the chart, nothing changed with the weighted vote until after the 2000 census. At this point, the votes of aldermen from the First and Fourth wards lost significant weight, those of the aldermen from the Fifth Ward lost a little, and the votes of the aldermen from the Second and Third Wards gained strength.
In the 2010 census, all the wards lost population except the Fifth Ward, which gained 113 residents, but the big loser was the Third Ward, which not only lost residents but lost the right to include the population of the Hudson Correctional Facility in its count, making the total population loss for that ward 815. The New York State law that requires prisoners to be counted in the communities where they lived before they were incarcerated not in the communities where they reside as prisoners reduced the Third Ward population by 350 but also added 50 Hudson residents who are incarcerated elsewhere. It is not known which wards can claim those people.
There are some issues that require a two-thirds majority or a three-quarters majority to pass. The sale of City-owned property is an example of a decision that requires a three-quarters majority. In these cases, not only is the number of affirmative votes needed different but also the number of votes cast by each alderman.
This chart shows how the number of votes differs according to the type of majority. These are the numbers, based on the 2000 census, that are currently in use. Note that in the Third and Fifth wards, the two aldermen have different numbers of votes in a two-thirds majority. In each case, the alderman with the greater number of votes is the one who received a greater number of votes in the election.
Papayanopoulos has, according to Moore, provided options for calculating the three types of majorities. These options will be reviewed at the special Legal Committee meeting on February 5, and a recommendation will be made to the full Council, perhaps introduced as a resolution, at the informal meeting on February 11.
It should be noted that adopting the new weighted vote is subject to a permissive referendum, that is, the public can, through a petition, force a referendum on the weighted vote adopted by the Common Council in the November 2013 election. What would happen if such a referendum were to take place and the voters were to reject the proposed new weighted vote is unclear. Typically, the weighted vote numbers would go back to what they had been previously, but the previous scheme--that is, the current one--is illegal because it still factors in the prison population.
There's gotta be an easier way to make representative government work in Hudson.
Gossips found the picture of Professor Lee Papayanopoulos on the Rutgers University website.