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New York City Term Limits Reduction (November 2010)

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A New York City Term Limits Reduction measure was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the city of New York which is in New York County.

This measure was approved, which means the term limits were reverted back to a maximum of two for the mayor, city council members, the public advocate, borough presidents and the comptroller. Prior to this measure in 2010, these positions had terms limited to a maximum of 3.[1]

In 2008, city officials extended the term limit for those in city government jobs to three terms. The measure allowed government officials already in office during 2010 to run for a third term since the change only takes affect moving forward and does not have retroactive authority. Thus, past terms were not counted towards the new two term limit.[2]

A separate measure on the ballot will also ask residents if council members should be barred from changing the term limits again on their own to benefit incumbent members.[3]

Election results

NYC Term Limits Question
Approveda Yes 733,858 74.06%
Election results from New York City Elections Office


The council decided on a grandfather clause to be included, meaning that current elected officials can serve three, four year terms and not be subject to the term limit measure. Real changes then would not be seen until 2021 because current officials could stay in office until then.[4] One reason noted for introducing the grandfather clause to allow for third terms is that otherwise the next voted council would be a majority of new people and would lack the experience of the older officials elected.[5]


When Mayor Bloomberg was asked about his thoughts on the term limit measure, no answer was given on his position. Though he had stated earlier that he was going to get the issue to a vote, he declined to answer questions on if this was what he had in mind when he first forced the extension.[6] Recent polls have shown most New Yorkers are in favor of going back to the two term limits. Some residents polled noted their frustration with Bloomberg's aggressive tactics and see this vote as they way to undo that bit of legislation.[7]

Later Mayor Bloomberg had come out saying that he supported this measure to restore the two term limit rule. When asked about overturning it in 2008, he noted that there were exceptional circumstances and that he supported the people's right to make their choice on the issue. Concern about residents not knowing about the issue and that it was on the back of the ballot had led to further campaigning by proponents who hoped the people would be given their chance to voice their opinions.[8]

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