In exactly four weeks, residents of New York City will cast ballots in a primary election with profound implications for the city’s future.
Those who are registered with a political party will be able to vote for candidates for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president and the City Council. There’s also a competitive Democratic primary to be Manhattan district attorney.
New Yorkers will have to contend with ranked-choice voting for the first time: Instead of casting a single vote for a single candidate in most races, voters will be allowed to choose up to five, ranking them in order of preference.
But before that, they’ll have to make sure they’re registered to vote and that they know where and how to cast their ballots. Among the key dates to remember: the registration deadline is May 28, the deadline to request an absentee ballot online or by mail is June 15, early voting lasts from June 12 to June 20, and Primary Day itself is June 22.
Here are some answers to common questions.
How do I register to vote in New York City?
The deadline to register to vote in next month’s primary is this Friday, May 28. You can check to see if you are already registered on the State Board of Elections website.
If you’re not, there are several ways to register. If you have state-issued identification, like a drivers license or a nondriver identification card, and a Social Security number, you can register online here.
If you don’t have an I.D., you can print this voter registration form, fill it out and mail it to the city Board of Elections, as long as it’s postmarked by May 28. You can also deliver it in person to an elections office.
Or you can use TurboVote, an online service that can help guide you through the registration process.
Am I eligible to vote?
If you’re a United States citizen who has been a New York City resident for at least 30 days and are not currently incarcerated for a felony, you’re eligible to register to vote.
What if I’m not a citizen?
Currently, people who are not citizens cannot vote in municipal elections.
But a bill before the City Council could change that by allowing lawful city residents to cast ballots for candidates running for city offices. Supporters of the measure estimate that it could enfranchise some one million New York City residents.
The push has earned the support of many mayoral candidates. One who initially opposed it, Andrew Yang, expressed skepticism about its legality during a forum this month, but he ultimately came out in favor.
What if I have been convicted of a crime?
The state enacted a law this month automatically restoring voting rights to people convicted of felonies who have been released on parole, part of a nationwide movement to enfranchise formerly incarcerated people.
That means that people who have been released from prison in New York City should be allowed to register and vote. (People released on probation had generally already been allowed to vote.)
Before the law was enacted, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had pardoned people on parole to restore their voting rights, but voting rights groups had argued that process was discretionary and confusing.
Misdemeanor convictions do not affect voting eligibility, and people serving time in jail for misdemeanors can still cast ballots.
People who are currently incarcerated for felonies cannot vote.
Can I vote early in New York City?
Voters can cast ballots in person during the early voting period, which lasts from June 12 to June 20, or on Primary Day, June 22.
Understand the N.Y.C. Mayoral Race
- Who’s Running for Mayor? There are more than a dozen people still in the race to become New York City’s next mayor, and the primary will be held on June 22. Here’s a rundown of the candidates.
- Get to Know the Candidates: We asked leading candidates for mayor questions about everything from police reform and climate change to their favorite bagel order and workout routine.
- What is Ranked-Choice Voting? New York City began using ranked-choice voting for primary elections this year, and voters will be able to list up to five candidates in order of preference. Confused? We can help.
Mr. Cuomo signed an election reform bill in 2019 that created eight days of in-person early voting for New York State residents. Last year, New Yorkers came out in droves to cast ballots during the early voting period for the first time in a presidential election.
New Yorkers hoping to take advantage this year should look up their early voting polling sites, which may be different from their Primary Day polling sites. Voters should also look up the hours when polling sites are open, which can vary day to day.
On Primary Day, the polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
What about voting by mail?
Eligible voters can also vote by mail, after New York enacted a law last year making the “risk of contracting or spreading” Covid-19 a reason that voters could request absentee ballots, also known as mail-in ballots.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot online or by mail is June 15. You can request an absentee ballot online here, or you can fill out this ballot request form and email it to [email protected] or mail it to the local election office.
You may also apply for an absentee ballot in person at an elections office by June 21.
After filling out the absentee ballot, voters can mail it to their nearest board of elections office; officials recommend adding two stamps. It must be postmarked by June 22.
Voters can also drop the ballot off at an elections office by June 22, or in ballot boxes at polling sites on Election Day.
Elections officials must receive absentee ballots by June 29 for them to be counted.
How do I find my polling place?
You can look up your Primary Day polling site online. Again, your Primary Day polling site may not be the same as your assigned early voting site.
Can I see who will be on my ballot ahead of time?
Yes. You can enter your address here, choose the party you’re registered with, and see a sample ballot containing all the candidates you’ll be able to vote for.
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