Polls Open for Early Voting in NYC Mayor Primary, Other Races

Early voting started Saturday in New York City in a hotly contested primary for mayor and other races.

Voters will have through June 20 to cast early ballots, with polling places open for voting in the Democrat and Republican races for mayor and for contests for city controller and the public advocate, reports WABC.

Polls are open daily: 8 a.m. ET to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 7 a.m. Et to 4 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m. ET to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 7 a.m. ET to 4 p.m. Friday; and next Saturday and Sunday again from 8 a.m. ET to 5 p.m.

Voting will be more complicated this year, as the city kicks off its new tabulated ranked-choice method. This means voters will have to choose, in order of preference, their top 5 candidates. WABC reported, if one candidate gets 50% of the votes or more, they will win the primary outright, but if not, a runoff race might be necessary.

According to city officials, voters should vote for their candidates one through five, but it is not mandatory they vote for more than one candidate. However, if they make one candidate all five of their choices, their vote will count only for the first choice, and ranking one candidate additional times will be equivalent to leaving the other choices blank, NY-1 reported. Further, allowing multiple candidates the same ranking, including picking two different candidates as the first choice will invalidate the ballot.

With the new complicated method, it might be July before it is known who will win the race for the Democratic nomination. There are 13 candidates on that side of the ticket, while only two Republicans are running in the heavily blue city.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is not seeking reelection because of term limits, is urging voters not to leave anything blank, but to “do the work” and “do the thinking” to select five choices, to maximize the ballot’s impact.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported the race for mayor might be a key test over whether the city may have hit its plateau with progressive officials in office.

Last year, progressive candidates won several state legislative primaries, but this year the political energy might be shifting, and the race on the Democrats’ side is reflecting nationwide tensions in the party over how far left leaders should lean. President Joe Biden won his nomination through moderate Black voters and older Americans, while Republicans pulled out some general election victories that came out as a surprise.

In New York City, the winner of the Democrats’ primary will most likely become the next mayor. A key factor in the race is the fight against crime, with the debate over the role of the city police being seen as the biggest issue between the candidates.

Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, a former police captain who has been ahead in some public polls, is considered a moderate on policing and charter schools, among other issues.

“The political class, I think, thought that the party, that the voters, had moved very, very far to the left,” Kathryn Garcia, a former sanitation commissioner and another leading mayoral candidate, said in an interview last month, the Times reported. “That they were at a moment where they wanted to do radical, radical change – I just never believed that that was true.”

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