It’s Not November but It’s Voting Season in NYC

Graphic of a bus with "The City is Yours" stenciled on the side
The City is Yours, Alex Dunn, CC-BY-NC 4.0

May 28 is the last day to register to vote in the June 22 primary election. The race for mayor is just one of several offices that hold primaries, which will determine who is on the ballot in November for the general election. New York has a ‘closed primary’ system which means, to vote in the primary election, you must register with a political party to vote in that party’s primary. In a city where 70% of registered voters are Democrats, is the race for Mayor decided by the Democratic primary? A lot of experts think so. 

Too many New Yorkers don’t vote in local elections but they should, especially for down ballot races! Local politicians make policies and write and enact legislation that impact: housing and land use, education access, climate change, transportation, policing, funding for social services, and more. Aside from mayor, other offices on the primary ballot in June are City Council, Borough President, Public Advocate, Comptroller, and Manhattan District Attorney. Check out who is on the ballot and read some of the resources below to learn where the candidates stand on the issues that matter to you. 

After you register, you should make a plan to vote and look up your polling location. Can’t vote on June 22nd? NYC has early voting for the primary starting on June 12th. Find out when and where you can vote early

More resources about how to vote and information about how you can get involved are available on the NYC Votes website. Wonder about ID requirements, translation services, or think you or a family member might need assistance at your polling place? The New York Public Research Interest Group (NYPIRG), which works directly with CUNY and has an office at City Tech with student interns, has a voters bill of rights

Why this Race is Important

All local elections have a real impact on our lives but right now we have a lot on the table: many NYC families are struggling after the pandemic to keep up with medical bills, pay their rent, or find a new job; a lot of voters want to change our policing system, which disproportionately targets people of color; and people have vastly different ideas on how we should go about creating safe streets, resolving the homeless crisis, ensuring low-income residents have access to technology, and more. 

This year is especially important because a majority of current City Council representatives are term-limited, meaning we have the chance to elect a lot of new people who represent small districts, usually comprising a couple of neighborhoods. Not sure what a City Council representative does? A lot more than you might think! 

Ranked Choice

This election is the first in which voters will be able to support multiple candidates by ranking them in order of preference. Why does this new provision exist? Because we voted for it on a ballot measure in 2019–a lot of people supported ranked choice voting because it might make politics more civil and give a platform to outsider candidates who people might not otherwise vote for because they are worried about wasting their vote.  

Important things to know about ranked choice voting are it’s OK to rank fewer than 5 candidates, and it is not OK to give two or more candidates the same rank. Ranking candidates does not affect your first choice. Want to learn more? Check out the NYC Board of Elections website for information and frequently asked questions about ranked choice. 

Mayoral Candidates

Of course, the largest focus this year has been the (Democratic) Mayoral race candidates. And City Tech students might have a particular interest in their plans about public higher education. So far, all of the candidates’ official websites mention CUNY as essential in workforce development and a valued partner in creating more teachers, nurses, entrepreneurs, engineers, etc. No candidates specifically address the needs of the CUNY system after years of economic austerity and post-pandemic cuts that have left a lot of campuses under-resourced. Below, we’ve aggregated some information about the candidates so you can learn more about their stance on CUNY and other civic issues.

Candidates In the NewsOccupation & Experience
Dianne MoralesInterview with NYTimesCEO of anti-poverty nonprofit in the Bronx; long experience with youth/P12 education; only person to mention CUNY at the first mayoral debate
Maya WileyInterview with NYTimesFormer counsel to current mayor Bill DeBlasio; New School professor
Kathryn GarciaInterview with NYTimesFormer DoS commissioner; ran NYC emergency food program during COVID-19 crisis
Eric AdamsInterview with NTimesCity Tech alum! and current Brooklyn Borough President; Has identified as a Republican in the past; Former police officer and founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement who Care
Shaun DonovanInterview with NYTimesFormer secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Obama Administration
Andrew YangInterview with NYTimesBusinessman and millionaire; Proponent of private sector partnerships in many areas of governance; has never voted in a local election!
Scott StringerInterview with NYTimesCurrent NYC Comptroller; free CUNY community college proponent; accused of sexual misconduct
Raymond McGuireInterview with NYTimesCorporate executive at Citigroup; lots of Wall Street investment in his campaign

Wonder what other New Yorkers think about the mayoral candidates? The New York Times interviewed people across the city to find out. 

What should the next NYC mayor do? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

City Tech Ebooks on Political History and Voter Rights

This blog post was written collaboratively by Profs. Anne Leonard and Nora Almeida

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