Mayor Bill de Blasio has called a special election for February 2, 2021 to fill the vacancy for the New York City Council District 24 in Queens. The vacancy comes after City Councilman Rory Lancman gave up his seat for a position in the Cuomo administration. See Press Release
A special election has also been announced for February 23, 2021, for New York City Council District 31 in Queens.
The Mayor declared a special election for March 23, 2021 to fill two City Council seats for District 11 and District 15 in the Bronx. Former City Council member Ritchie Torres of District 15 has been elected to Congress and Bronx District 11 incumbent Andrew Cohen accepted a judgeship. Eligible voters can participate with early voting, in-person voting, or by returning an absentee ballot. See Press Release
New York City General Election Turnout
General election turnout in New York City was the highest it has been in decades. A total of nearly 3.07 million ballots were cast, over 300,000 more than in 2016, the greatest increase of any election cycle in the last 20 years.
This year, 55% of registered voters cast ballots in New York City, one point lower than in 2016.
On December 22, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the New York Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2020 (S.8806 / A.8280C) into law. The new law, with a phase-in rollout, requires designated State agencies to establish an automatic voter registration system, and requires the Department of Motor Vehicles and other State agencies, to work with the State Board of Elections to create a single application, integrating agency services and voter registration. Only eligible voters may register, and applications will be transmitted to the State Board of Elections with the signature and consent of the applicant. Applicants will also be given the opportunity to choose a political party affiliation. See Press Release
New York City Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)
At a Glance:
Beginning in 2021, voters in New York City will have the option to rank their top 5 candidates for local primary and special elections for Mayor, Comptroller, Borough President and City Council, under a new system called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). This method of voting will not be used during the general election or for any statewide, state or federal races.
The system seeks to promote democratic representation and produce winners of primary and special elections that receive more than 50 percent of the votes from their community. Under an RCV ballot, voters will have the ability to choose candidates in the order of preference (ranking the candidates). Once polls have closed, election officials will tally the votes, eliminating the candidates who receive the fewest number of first-choice rankings. The candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the first-choice rankings wins the election. Learn more about Ranked Choice Voting and Read Article.
In the News:
On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, six New York City Councilmembers from the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, filed a lawsuit against the City’s Board of Elections seeking to stop the board from changing the City’s voting system to the ranked-choice method prior to a special election scheduled for February to fill a vacant City Council seat in eastern Queens—this will be the first time RCV will be used in the City. The Councilmembers argued that the board hasn’t done a good job at educating communities—especially minority and immigrant communities—about the new system. Read Article
In a three-page decision on December 16, 2020, Justice Carol Edmead from the State Supreme Court in Manhattan denied the Councilmembers’ request to delay the use of RCV in the upcoming special election. Justice Edmead’s decision comes prior to the mailing of military and overseas ballots scheduled to go out on Friday, December 18, 2020. “This Court is disinclined to take any action that may result in the disenfranchisement of even one voter or take any action that may result in even one voter’s ballot being nullified,” wrote Justice Edmead in her decision. The Councilmembers are expected to appeal this decision. Read Article
The CUNY University Student Senate Student Voter Awareness Committee wants to hear from you!
It is important for us to understand how we can do better in preparing and encouraging students to vote. New York City will be facing huge elections in 2021 from open city council seats to electing a new mayor. Your feedback will help us support you.
New York has implemented several measures to make voting more accessible, safer and easier during the COVID pandemic. You now have multiple options to cast your vote.
For the first time in our state's history, all registered voters can request an absentee ballot (check the "temporary illness" excuse). The NYC Board of Elections (BOE) will begin mailing ballots during the 3rd week of September. Applicants can check the status of their request upon submission.
Governor Como signed an Executive Order requiring that drop boxes be made available at more than 300 early voting sites to allow registered voters to safely leave their completed absentee ballot without interacting with in-person voters. See: Press Release. There will be ballot drop boxes at upwards of 1300 locations (borough BOE offices, early voting sites and Election Day poll sites) across the city.
If you choose to vote by absentee ballot, there are several ways you can cast your completed, signed ballot. Take note of the instructions in completing and signing your ballot.
Casting your vote by absentee ballot:
Place it in the mail ensuring it receives a postmark no later than November 3
Physically bring it to an Early Voting poll site between October 24 and November 1 and insert into the drop box
Drop it off at a poll site on November 3 by 9pm and insert in drop box
Physically bring the ballot to your county Board of Elections Office starting September 8 through no later than November 3 by 9pm (see the list of county Boards of Elections Offices here)
Absentee Ballots that are postmarked by Election Day will be counted if they are received by the NYC Board of Elections no more than 7 days after Election Day. However, if your absentee ballot is not postmarked, it must be received by the Board by the day after Election Day in order to be counted.
In addition to absentee voting, New Yorkers can take advantage of Early Voting. For nine days, from October 24 to November 1, registered voters can cast their vote in-person at an early polling site. Check with your county Board of Elections for the location of the polling site and hours of operation.
New State Laws to make Voting easier and Safer for the November Elections
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Thursday, August 20, 2020 that redefines the rules governing who is eligible to receive an absentee ballot. The state constitution says that the legislature can authorize an absentee program only for people who are ill or traveling. The measure defines “illness” to include “a risk of contracting or spreading a disease that may cause illness to the voter or other members of the public.” Thus, every registered voter in New York will be allowed to cast a vote by mail in November.
The Board of Elections will have an online absentee ballot request form available soon. In the meantime, you can find the print-at-home absentee ballot application form here.
The New York City Board of Elections created a portal to request absentee ballots online. Registered voters who live in the five boroughs can now request an absentee ballot if they are concerned about COVID.
Governor Cuomo also signed two other bills to help make the election conducted largely by mail run smoother.
A.10807/S.8783Aallows for voters to request absentee ballots immediately, removing language prohibiting voters from requesting absentee ballots any sooner than a month before an election.
A.10808A/S.8799A, ensures all absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day or received by the Board of Elections without a postmark on the day after the election will be counted. Ballots with a postmark demonstrating that they were mailed on or before Election Day will be counted if received by November 10.
A one-stop hub for members of the John Jay College community to learn about their voting rights, how/when to register to vote, background and positions of candidates and elected officials and to address their voter needs, questions, and/or concerns.
June 22, 2021 – NYC Primary Day
November 2, 2021 - General Election Day
POLL SITES are OPEN from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM in New York State.
Check with your local board of elections if you are unsure of the voting hours.