New York Statewide Ballot Proposals for November 2021 Elections
This November, eligible voters will have an opportunity to not only vote for their local elected officials but for state ballot proposals on issues like apportionment and redistricting, absentee voting, and the elimination of a ten day voting requirement. Furthermore, there is a ballot seeking to protect public health and the environment.
There may be additional local ballot proposals in your community, visit your county Board of Elections for more information.
In New York City’s 2021 Primary Elections, including races for Mayor, City Comptroller, City Council, and Borough Presidents, Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) was used for the first time. RCV was used for every race except for District Attorney, since that office is considered a state office. In this new system, voters were allowed to rank up to five candidates in each category. A candidate is considered a winner if they received more than 50 percent of first-choice votes. In rounds where no candidate exceeded 50 percent of votes, counting continued until there was a clear winner.
However, when the elections ended on June 22, the NYC Board of Elections (BOE) withdrew its report on the vote count it had released earlier in the day. The BOE stated that there was “a discrepancy in the RCV round by round elimination report.” The results from election night had mistakenly been combined with 135,000 test ballots that were used before the primary. Read Article
Mayoral Race Results:
There were 13 mayoral candidates for the Democratic primary and two candidates for the Republican primary. In the first round of the Democratic primary, Eric Adams earned 30.8 percent of votes, Kathryn Garcia gained 19.6 percent, Maya Wiley received 21.4 percent, and Andrew Yang earned 12.2 percent of votes. After eight rounds, Adams beat former sanitation commissioner Garcia by one percentage point (50.4 percent and 49.6 percent, respectively) or 8,426 votes, becoming the Democratic nominee for Mayor. With only two candidates, the Republican primary had one round, with Curtis Silwa claiming victory over competitor Fernando Mateo, winning with 40,794 votes (67.9 percent); Mateo received 16,719 votes (27.8 percent).
In the election for New York City Comptroller, there were 10 Democratic candidates and a sole Republican candidate, Dabby Carreras, who ran unopposed. After counting, City Councilman Brad Lander won the Democratic primary by 51.9 percent edging out City Council Speaker Cory Johnson who came in second with 48.1 percent.
Manhattan District Attorney:
In the race for Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg is reported to have earned 34.2 percent in the Democratic primary, while Thomas Kenniff won unopposed in the Republican primary.
There were six Borough President primaries held, with four out of the five Borough presidents leaving office due to term limits. The current Queens Borough President, Donovan Richards, was elected in a special election last December and ran for reelection.
Staten Island was the only borough that held a Republican primary this year because the Republican candidates ran uncontested in the other boroughs. Vito Fossella won the Republican nomination in the Staten Island primary by 51.2 percent. Steven Matteo came in second with 48.8 percent. The Borough President primary election results:
Republican candidates who ran uncontested:
Brooklyn: Menachem Raitport
Bronx: Janelle King
Manhattan: Louis Puliafito
Queens: Thomas Zmich
Winners of the Democratic Primaries for Borough President:
Bronx: Vanessa Gibson 53.5%
Brooklyn: Antonio Reynoso 54.9%
Manhattan: Mark Levine 53.8%
Queens: Donovan Richards 50.3%
Staten Island: Mark Murphy 65.0%
All 51 seats on the City Council seats were up for election in June, and 300 candidates ran for these positions. See: Official Democratic and Republican City Council primary race results.
Voter Participation: For the first time ever, Rank-Choice Voting (RCV) was used in the New York City primaries for local offices: Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, Borough President and City Council. Voters were also able to vote through absentee ballots and during early voting hours in June. Notwithstanding the pandemic and a new voting system, New York City saw a high voter turnout: about 1 million New Yorkers participated in the primaries. In fact, this year’s turnout was higher than the voter turnout in the 2013 primaries by about 245,000 votes.
Overall, Democrats had a higher turnout than Republican voters. Twenty-five percent of registered Democrats voted while 10.5 percent of registered Republicans voted. Since the 2013 primaries, Republican turnout dropped by one percent, with Democratic turnout roughly three points higher.
Early and Same Day Voting: The early voting turnout was four times higher than it was for the 2020 presidential primary. Nearly 191,000 ballots were cast during the early voting period and about 700,000 people voted in-person on primary day.
Although voter turnout increased, about 2.2 million registered voters did not vote in the primary.
Party Participation: Across all five boroughs, participation by Democrats increased since the 2013 primaries.
Staten Island: 44 percent
Brooklyn: 40 percent
Queens: 39 percent
Manhattan: 33 percent
Bronx: 10 percent
Republican participation varied, with some boroughs experiencing an increase in voter participation and others seeing a decrease in their numbers. This may be in part due to fewer competitive races. Staten Island saw a rise in Republican ballots by about 50 percent, while Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn experienced a decrease in Republican votes (50 percent, 5 percent, and 18 percent, respectively). Queens did not see a change in Republican ballots.
According to an exit poll conducted by Common Cause New York and Rank the Vote NYC, 41 percent of voters felt that the ranked method of voting allowed them to have a greater voice in the election. The data show that the new system encouraged many voters to exercise their civic duty.
The mayor is responsible for the administration and the delivery of local services (e.g., public safety, fire protection, public education, health care, sanitation) to city residents through city agencies.
The mayor appoints numerous officials, including deputy mayors and commissioners who head city agencies.
The City budget overseen by the mayor is the largest local budget in the United States.
The City provides operating and capital funds for buildings to our community colleges and supports programs in senior colleges.
Voting for the City Council Member in Your District:
The New York City Council adopts the city budget that determines where money is disbursed each year and approves land use policies that affect the development and growth of the city and your neighborhood (housing, parks, stadiums, retail stores/malls).
Adopted city local laws and budgets approved by the city council and mayor affect the welfare of our communities and our lives (e.g., Fair Fares, paid sick leave, right-to-record law enforcement encounters, pay equity laws for employment).
The city comptroller safeguards our city’s fiscal health, providing oversight over our tax dollars; roots out waste and fraud; and helps ensure city agencies are serving our needs effectively and efficiently. The comptroller reviews city purchasing contracts for integrity and compliance and enforces living wage laws for workers, laborers and mechanics employed on New York City public works projects and building service employees on city contracts and certain properties.
The public advocate serves as an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating and responding to our concerns and complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings in those services. The public advocate also presides over the city council and makes appointments to several commissions and boards, including the planning commission which makes policy over growth and development in our communities.
The office of each county district attorney is responsible for the prosecution of violations of New York State criminal laws. Each DA decides whether to bring criminal charges against an individual accused of a crime, to divert the accused to a program or treatment, or dismiss the case. The district attorney assists victims of crime and works with community stakeholders on crime prevention strategies to improve public safety and the quality of life in our communities.
Download a voter registration form (cunyvotes or college voter webpage)
Governor Cuomo Signs 2021 Voting Reforms Into Law
(Most Take Effect Immediately for November General Elections)
On July 27, 2021, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed S.1277A/A.4257A into law, allowing online and in-person instruction of election workers, including, election inspectors, poll clerks, and election coordinators. The legislation also removes the requirement that the course needs to be taken every year, although election workers are still required to pass the annual examination. See Press Release
Two weeks earlier, on July 16, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed a package of voting reforms into law. The reforms primarily focused on absentee and mail-in ballots to increase voter participation and help local board of election officials “more easily perform their function” of administering the election process.
The reforms include:
Eliminating Signed Absentee Ballot Applications and Allowing Absentee Ballots Postmarked by Election Day to Be Considered Timely (S.6429/A.6047-A);
Allowing Voters to Request an Absentee Ballot Through Electronic Means (S.6379/A.6046);
Requiring the Posting of Information including signage About Changes in the Location of Polling Places (S.6216/A.2168);
Conforming Deadlines for Mailing of Applications for Absentee Ballots to United States Postal Service Guidelines; Applications Requesting A Ballot By Mail Must Be Received By the BOE 15 Days Before Election Day; Applications Delivered In Person Must Be Received The Day Before Such Election (S.264/A.5783);
Allowing Candidates Who Have Lost Primaries to Be Removed from Ballots as Candidates for Different Parties (S.613-A/A.4142-A); and,
Increasing Election District Registrant Enrollment from 1,150 to 2,000 (S.6855/A.7478)
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.