What issues have you not heard from candidates? Want to know more about how they plan to rebuild NYC? What ideas do they have to transform public safety? Tell us what you would like to ask the candidates by emailing your name and question to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 4 for the mayoral debates. You have until May 27 to send questions for the comptroller debate.
While all questions will be reviewed, only a few will be chosen and presented to the moderators of the debate and the candidates. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Civic Engagement Opportunities
We Power NYC:
Pledge to vote! Join NYC Votes and CUNY as they work to get 25,000 CUNY students ready to vote in 2021. When you sign up, you will receive election updates and reminders to help you stay engaged.
Ranked Choice Voting Training:
Save the Date! On April 22nd, from 6pm–7pm, CUNY Votes, NYC Votes, COSDI and student organizations in the Peer to Peer Initiative, will host a Ranked Choice Voting training event open to the entire CUNY community. The presentation will be given by NYC Votes and will provide an overview on RCV, FAQs, how to conduct RCV outreach, and demonstrate how to fill out an RCV ballot. The training will also offer general information on the 2021 elections and CUNY student voting.
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)
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.
All 2021 NYC special and primary elections will use Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) as a new voting system.
Why the change?
More than 73% of NYC voters selected this system of voting through a 2019 ballot referendum.
How does this work?
Now, with RCV:
All NYC voters will vote for their top five candidates in order of preference
Any candidate must win 51% of the vote to win an election
When no candidate in an election for a local office wins 51% of the vote:
Votes are then counted in rounds
Each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated
If your highest-rated candidate is eliminated, your vote will move to your next highest-rated candidate
Rounds will continue, eliminating candidates with the lowest votes, until a candidate receives 51% or more of votes
What are the benefits?
With this new system, a winning candidate better reflects voters’ preferences because they are able to rank and support multiple candidates. This system will also save NYC taxpayers millions of dollars because it prevents expensive runoff elections. Visit NYC Campaign Finance Board for more info.
Understanding Ranked Choice Voting in New York City
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
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.