A June Primary Election Primer: Can I vote for dozens of candidates in June? Can I vote for more than one candidate for the same office?

The simple answer: Yes

First, you must be registered as a Democrat or Republican? If not, you’re out of luck, in New York State only voters who are registered in a party can vote in a primary election, the election to decide who is on the November ballot.

If you are not a registered voter or not registered in a party you can fill out and submit the registration form here.

If you’re unsure whether you’re registered you can use the use the site here to check.

Why the primary election is in June, wasn’t it held in September?  Yes, however, the federal courts ruled that the September primary for federal offices violated the law,

U.S. District Court judge ruled that the primary date violated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which says overseas service members must get absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election to make sure the ballots can be sent back and counted in time.

An August primary was out of the question, the turnout would be slim, and, holding two primaries, one for federal offices and another for state/city offices would be expensive and confusing; it was decided that all primaries be held on the last Tuesday in June

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, June 22nd, there are three ways to cast your ballot.

  • early voting (check date and sites here)
  • absentee ballot (application site here, check “temporary illness” box)
  • in-person on June 22nd, polls open from 6 am to 9 pm in New York City. You will receive a notification of polling place by mail before the election or at one of the links above.

Which offices will be on the ballot?

Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, Boro Presidents and City Council.

New York City is a “strong mayor” model, the mayor appoints all the commissioners including the school superintendent (called the chancellor). Under the current configuration the mayor appoints a majority of the school board effectively appointing the school district leader.

The Comptroller is the chief financial officer; in other cities that role would fall under the mayor. The Comptroller does “manage” the five pubic employee pension systems, a key role for city employees.

The Public Advocate chairs the City Council and is next in line for mayor; otherwise, limited authority.

The Boro President has authority over land use, and very little else. The major function is a cheer leader for the borough. The boroughs combined to create New York City in 1898 and the boro presidents are a vestige of the past.

The City Council has 51 members, almost all democrats, and chooses a Speaker from among their members. The Speaker is the second most powerful person city government.

The City Council must approve the city budget; the fiscal year is July 1 – June 30, the budgeting process is already underway and usually by mid-June the mayor and the Council agree on the budget. 

You can access the candidates in each district here, and, the site includes statements from each candidate, you can use the link above to identify your district, just have to type in your address

Check out agendas of the Council here.

Council member salary is $148.500.

The 340-page City Charter is the governing document of the city, and has been frequently amended by voters. See City Charter here.

How can I vote for more than one person?

New York City elections are Rank Choice Voting elections.

For many years citywide elections required at least 40% of the vote to be elected. If no candidate received 40% the top two candidates ran again three weeks after the first election – runoffs were expensive and the voter turnout low. In council elections with multiple candidates the winner commonly had only 20-30% of the vote.

Voting systems vary widely from nation to nation. In Israel you vote for a party, not a candidate. The party ranks their candidates; for example, if a party receives 10% of the total vote in 120 member legislature the party would receive 12 seats in the parliament, the top twelve members on the party list. See Israeli system here.

The New York City Council was elected by proportional representation from 1936-1947: read the interesting account here

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) allows voters to vote for up to five candidates in priority order – you rank your preferences from one to five, or, you can vote for fewer than five, or, only a single candidate. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the lowest vote-getter’s ballots are “exhausted”; their ballots are transferred to the # 2 choice on their ballot. Candidate ballots are exhausted until one candidate has more than 50% of the vote. See an additional explanation here.

The change to Ranked Choice Voting was approved by 73% of voters in 2019. The theory is elections would be less negative, candidates would run more positive campaigns and combined with public financing more women and people of color would run.

Almost all of the Council races have between five and ten candidates each.

New York City has public campaign financing, the city will provide 8:1 matches, if a candidate raises $10,000 the city will provide $80,000.. See the rules here.

Whose running? We won’t know definitely for a few weeks, petitions were submitted recently and it will take a few weeks to certify candidates.

Mayoral candidates:  https://www.curbed.com/article/everyone-running-for-new-york-city-mayor.html

Comptroller candidates: https://politicsny.com/2021/03/16/meet-the-comptroller-candidates/

Boro President Candidates:

* Brooklyn:   https://www.brooklynpaper.com/brooklyn- -president-candidates-2021/

* Manhattan:  https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/9753-candidates-declared-2021-manhattan-borough-president-race-democratic-primary

* Bronx: https://gothamist.com/news/who-running-bronx-borough-president-2021

* Queens: https://gothamist.com/news/whos-running-queens-borough-president

Council Candidates: https://politicsny.com/election-primer/

On Wednesday, April 7th the UFT will interview (members only) the “Final Four,” (Adams, Stringer, Wiley and Yang). Over the last month the union has interviewed twelve candidates, and asked members to vote for their favorite at the end of each session. The NY Post reports,

The June 22 Democratic primary race for mayor is still “wide open” — with half of voters still undecided, a new poll released Wednesday reveals.

Entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang is in the lead, but with support of just 16 percent of likely Democratic voters, the survey by Fontas Advisors/Core Decision Analytics found.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is in second with 10 percent backing, followed by Maya Wiley, a former top legal counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, with 6 percent. City Comptroller Scott Stringer with 5 percent …

Hopefully you’ve found my musing useful.  Place questions or views in the comment box

Happy Easter

2 responses to “A June Primary Election Primer: Can I vote for dozens of candidates in June? Can I vote for more than one candidate for the same office?

  1. Peter, I can just imagine the level of confusion in this years election cycle. This piece can really help. Alan



  2. Pingback: Will the Teacher Union (UFT) “Select” the Next Mayor (and other electeds) in New York City? | Ed In The Apple

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