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Understanding Scarsdale's Non-Partisan System

CNCGraphic
Confused about Scarsdale's unique form of government? Why do we elect a nominating committee and what does it mean to be non-partisan? Here are questions and answers to shed some light on Scarsdale's system of governance:

How can I participate in the village nonpartisan election system?

Scarsdale volunteers have many ways to participate meaningfully in civic life through village appointed boards and councils, non-profits and other volunteer organizations. One of the most impactful of these is Scarsdale's nonpartisan election system, which provides a unique vehicle for civic involvement of voters through membership on the Citizens Nominating Committee (CNC).

What is the CNC?

The CNC is a group of residents democratically elected by the voters of their neighborhoods in village-wide elections that are held the second week of November each year. Members of the CNC research, deliberate and, through a process of extensive, thoughtful due diligence, select a slate of nominees for open positions in the offices of Mayor, Village Trustee and Village Justice. Once the CNC has chosen its slate of candidates, they are placed on the ballot in a village-wide election held the third week of March. The 2019 village election will be held on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 to select a new Mayor and three Trustees.

What is the time commitment of CNC members?

The 30 members of the CNC serve staggered three-year terms and meet over a period of 5-6 evenings in November, December and January. Each of the three staggered classes of the CNC have 10 members, two of whom represent each of the village's elementary school districts (Edgewood, Fox Meadow, Greenacres, Heathcote and Quaker Ridge). The members of the third year, graduating class of the CNC serve one year on the Procedure Committee.

How do I become a member of the CNC? Only two simple forms are required to run for a place on the CNC, consisting of a brief biography and a 10-signature petition signed by neighbors. The forms are posted on the PC's website here. The 2018 CNC election, in which voters choose their CNC representatives, will be held on Tuesday, November 13 at Village Hall from 7-10 am and 2-9 pm. If necessary, run-off elections are held one week later.

When can I begin work on the CNC?

The CNC begins its work in late fall with a public session for part of its first meeting followed by closed meetings for the rest of its schedule. Meetings are held only on weekday evenings. The CNC’s confidential executive sessions are designed to encourage members of the public to run for village office without the pressures inherent in typical partisan politics. The CNC’s first, organization meeting will be held on November 26, 2018. Subsequent business meetings are scheduled for: December 12, 2018; December 19, 2018; January 9, 2019; January 16, 2019; and on January 23, 2019 only if needed.

Who may run for elected public office in Scarsdale?

The CNC identifies potential candidates for open positions in the offices of Mayor and Trustees (and Village Justice when there is an open position). Village residents may also volunteer for the CNC’s consideration. Under New York State Law, contested elections are allowed and candidates outside the village nonpartisan election system may also run for village office by obtaining the prescribed number of signatures on a nominating petition.

Why does Scarsdale have a nonpartisan election system?

The system began in 1911 as a way to create a more civil process that would avoid the pitfalls of partisan politics, campaign financing and electioneering promises. The administration of the nonpartisan election system is publicly funded through contributions by residents to cover the expenses of running the CNC elections.

What is the Procedure Committee?

The Procedure Committee administers the village nonpartisan election system guided by the Non-Partisan Resolution, a living document that has been revised 40 times since the system was formalized in 1930. The PC is tasked with recruiting candidates to run for the CNC and proposing amendments to the Resolution as needed.

The League of Women Voters of Scarsdale comments on the village (and school) nonpartisan systems here.

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