NYC Issues 2001

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What is Searchlight on Campaign 2001?
Searchlight on Campaign 2001 is a guide to the political races in what many are calling New York City's most significant campaign season in modern history.

What is so significant about it?
For the first time in memory, most political offices in the city will be wide open to people who have neither money nor connections.

Why will the races be so open?
There are two reasons. This year, a new law goes into effect that limits the terms of New York City elected officials, forcing the mass retirement of most incumbents in the city - including the mayor, the comptroller, the public advocate, four of the five borough presidents, and 36 of the 51 members of the City Council. At the same time, a new campaign finance law kicks in, which allows any candidate who agrees to certain restrictions to collect four dollars of matching funds for every dollar they raise.

What does this have to do with this site?
As a public service, Searchlight on Campaign 2001 has a separate page for each race, including all the races for City Council, that not only sorts out the candidates -- many of them new and unfamiliar -- but also offers an opportunity to learn about the issues, and the districts themselves.

Who is behind Searchlight on Campaign 2001?
Searchlight on Campaign 2001 is a project of Gotham Gazette, a non-profit, non-partisan, non-ideological (but non-boring) web site about New York City news, policy and politics published by Citizens Union Foundation, part of the oldest and largest good-government group in the city (founded in 1897).

What's wrong with the way the regular press covers the races?
That is for you to decide. And one of our regular features, Campaign Trail, helps you to decide. Campaign Trail provides succinct summaries and links to campaign articles in the commercial press.

Who are we?


New York City Issues 2001: Education Option Paper

By Norm Fruchter and Joseph P. Viteritti

The most significant problem facing public education in New York City is poor academic performance in too many schools - the so-called "failing schools." A report issued by the State Education Department in March, 2001 indicates that three out of four city schools are not meeting acceptable levels of performance, based upon students' English and math exam scores. In at least

300 city schools, student outcomes are dismal. Schools can linger as failing - on the state's School Under Registration Review (SURR) list - for years before they either improve or are closed. In the meantime the life chances of thousands of children - a disproportionate number of which are African American and Latino - are severely compromised.

There is broad agreement that the most effective way to deal with such widespread failure is to develop educational and organizational strategies to turn such schools around. Schools that have demonstrated resistance to change over a long period of time should be closed, and children who have been attending them should be given new options. Strategies would then be adopted to address the needs of those students who still are unable to meet academic standards.

Many of the school system's needs, particularly in terms of significant school transformations, will require significant expenditures of new money. Recently, new hope was held out for the availability of such funds when a state supreme court justice found that the state's system of school funding provided inadequate resources to New York City schools and denies many children in New York City the opportunity for an adequate education that is their entitlement by law. Plaintiffs hope that the resolution of the suit will result in a large infusion of funds commensurate with the city's extraordinary educational needs. The court decision is now being appealed by the state. Some experts have cited research showing that there is no direct correlation between educational spending and educational performance, claiming that money doesn't matter so long as the school system continues to do business as it has done in the past. However, a more nuanced reading of the research indicates that money does matter when it is spent intelligently.

Why have many schools failed their students for so long? This paper addresses the major issues and those approaches most widely discussed for dealing with them, as well as those that are believed to show promise, all the while recognizing that there is rarely unanimity within the education profession about what methods and practices will work best.

Class Size

For years many parents, teachers and experts believed that smaller class size produced better education, though some researchers told us that class size didn't affect academic outcomes. Recent research results, from a large Tennessee study, demonstrate that when you reduce class size to about 15 students in Kindergarten through third grade, student achievement improves significantly. What's more, the gains that kids make in smaller classes don't disappear when they move into larger size classes in fourth grade. The gains were largest for poor students of color.

State funding is available to reduce class size, but not to fifteen students per class. There also isn't enough money to reduce class size to an average of 15 across the entire New York City school system. Many schools and districts can't reduce their class sizes because they don't have available space to accommodate the new classrooms that must be created. Overcrowding, and the failure to build new schools in densely populated districts, means that many schools have no space for new classes and must spend available class size reduction funds on a second teacher in an overcrowded class, a solution that has not shown the same improvement in educational achievement that reduced class size has shown. So the issue of how to reduce class sizes across the city, to improve student achievement, is directly tied to the need for more school facilities, more qualified teachers, and the issue of how to finance and build the new schools we need.

Absent across the board class size reduction, smaller class size can serve as part of an overall intervention strategy for addressing the specific needs of children who have deficiencies in the basic skills of reading and math. This approach has been used in summer programs with some success, and it might be used more widely during the school year as a way to reduce the need for summer school.

Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Another way to raise student achievement, particularly in low-performing schools, is to improve the levels of skills, capacities and overall school readiness that kids bring with them to school. Many research studies have demonstrated that good pre-kindergarten education significantly improves not only students' academic achievement, but also their life-chances. Again, there is state funding available for pre-kindergarten instruction. But like the class size issue, the problem of how to provide universal pre-k, is intimately tied to the need for more facilities and more qualified teachers. Many schools and districts are so overcrowded that they cannot provide the space necessary for pre-k programs. To provide a quality pre-k experience so that all our students enter kindergarten equipped to learn, we have to solve the issue of how to finance and build the new schools and hire the new teachers we need.

New School Buildings

Overcrowding, and the resulting shortage of space that prevents class size reduction and provision of quality pre-k programs, is severe across the city; three out of every five students attend overcrowded public schools. Solving this problem requires a variety of new and innovative approaches. Funding currently available from traditional state and city sources is far too meager to meet the need. New forms of financing, utilizing creative fiscal strategies and tapping private credit markets as well as public sources, must be developed to generate new funding streams.

The traditional construction institutions we've relied on to erect school buildings must also be reconsidered, because they are often too slow, too cumbersome and too inefficient to meet the more rapidly expanding need. We need varieties of public-private partnerships, utilization of leasing mechanisms to convert warehouse and office space to schools, and enlistment of non-profit developers to construct multi-use, neighborhood-rooted buildings anchored by schools.

Qualified Teachers

Every September the Board of Education starts the school year with about 15% of its teaching force unlicensed and uncertified. But by the beginning of the 2003 school year, the state will require that all New York City teachers be licensed and certified. Where will these qualified teachers come from? The programs recently implemented by the Board of Education have not fully addressed the enormous shortage of certified teachers. Worse, the chronic shortage of teachers the city faces will grow far more severe as an expected wave of teacher retirements rolls through the school system during the next five years.

The usual response to the increasing severity of the shortage of qualified teachers has been to urge salary increases. Certainly salary increases will help recruit more qualified teachers; teachers are among the lowest paid of all professionals, and the many consider the demands of the job out of line with the meager financial rewards. But many of the qualified teachers who get their experience, and hone their skills, in New York City classrooms are eventually drawn to the Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey suburbs by significantly higher pay. If the suburbs match the City's salary increases with raises of their own, we may well boost teacher salaries and still find ourselves with a teacher shortage crisis as the teacher drain to the suburbs continues.

New solutions that go along with increased salaries but make teaching in the city more attractive to qualified teachers have been proposed, as have new routes and methods, to help new teachers gain their qualifications. School districts across the country are experimenting with varieties of teacher incentives, such as signing bonuses, housing allowances, and mortgage down payments, to make it economically advantageous for teachers to choose, and remain in, urban districts. Districts and universities are experimenting with new forms of recruitment, instruction, apprenticeships and other forms of on-the-job training so that new teachers quickly develop both the teaching skills and the credits they need for licensure and certification.

Increasing the overall supply of qualified teachers is a necessary but not sufficient solution to the problem of improving poorly performing schools. Recent research studies have demonstrated that in many urban districts, and certainly in New York City, the most qualified teachers gravitate toward the most advantaged schools. This means that the most inexperienced, unqualified, and poorly prepared teachers wind up in schools that serve the students with the greatest need. In New York City, there is a direct relationship between student need and teacher inexperience: the poorer the school, the more likely the teaching staff will be unlicensed, uncertified and inexperienced.

So we not only have to solve the problem of how to recruit, train and retain qualified teachers; we also have to develop mechanisms to insure that qualified teachers are teaching in the schools that most need their skills - or are at least spread evenly throughout the school system. This will require a range of incentives that will attract qualified teachers to commit themselves to poorly performing schools for an extended period of years. One suggestion is to provide a substantial salary bonus for each member of a team of teachers who would commit to teaching at a poorly performing school for a five year period. Offering as much as a $25,000 annual bonus to each teacher in a six teacher team in each of 300 schools would cost $45 million per year, a small portion of the school system's $12 billion annual budget, but an expenditure with enormous potential to improve outcomes for students now least well served.

Other solutions are possible, including the renegotiation of union contractual clauses governing transfer based on seniority rights. But a mix of new commitments to more equity in the distribution of teacher quality, combined with the development of a range of powerful new incentives, could transform poorly performing schools by providing the infusion of quality teachers they sorely need.

School Leaders

We are facing an equally critical shortage of effective school leaders - principals and assistant principals. Current advertisements for principal vacancies often draw too few candidates for competitive interviews, and overall candidate quality has deteriorated significantly. In part this was an issue of insufficient compensation, combined with the severity of the demands placed on those in school leadership positions. But even after salaries were significantly increased, the shortage of effective leaders remains severe.

To address this problem, New York City can create a leadership training institute to recruit, train and supply highly qualified principals and assistant principals. This institute could take advantage of the university and corporate sector leadership training experience available in the city. In addition, we could give principals more discretion over running their schools so that authority is commensurate with responsibility.

Governance Structure

Many argue that the poor performance of many City schools is related to an ineffective governance structure that does not allow for adequate accountability. In New York City, the issue of governance operates on at least three levels - citywide, community, and school.

At the citywide level, the central Board of Education is appointed by the five borough presidents (one appointee each) and the mayor (two appointees). Critics claim that this system breeds dissention at the highest levels of policy making, minimizes accountability, and leads to micromanagement. They contend that giving the mayor direct control over the school system would create a more direct line of accountability to the city's chief executive who is directly elected by a majority of city voters. Plans designed to increase mayoral control of the school system usually come in one of three forms. One would allow the mayor to appoint a commissioner of education, as he would any departmental commissioner within the city government. A second would allow the mayor to appoint all members to the board from a list of nominees put forward by an "independent" committee. A third would allow the mayor to appoint a majority of the board. Opponents to such plans argue that they violate a long tradition of allowing the school system to operate with a degree of independence from city hall, and that the mayor's power over the locally provided portion of the school budget is already considerable.

In 1996 the state legislature passed a law that significantly reduced the power of the city's thirty-two locally elected community school boards. Some would argue that we should end their existence altogether. The size of school districts is so large that they bifurcate or awkwardly bind many different neighborhoods. In addition, school board elections in New York City draw an extremely low turnout (as they do in any school board election in the U.S). As a result, many doubt that they serve any real community role. Others support a more subtle - though significant - change that would treat community boards as an arm of central headquarters. Under this arrangement community superintendents function as though they are appointees of the chancellor. Their role would be to help implement policy enacted at the central board.

Finally, many would argue that the most important level of governance is at the individual school, the point of service delivery. Under the current arrangement there is a mismatch between the amount of responsibility imposed on principals and teachers and the amount of discretion they enjoy. Recent changes in the principals' contract has given them greater compensation (which they deserve) in exchange for their loss of tenure. While the new plan raises the level of accountability for these site-based managers, it does not give them any more power over personnel decisions, and arguably gives them less authority over budget decisions, which are now shared with leadership teams, and limits their ability to operate as real leaders. Some have held this to be the reason for the exodus of principal talent that continues even after significant pay raises were implemented.

Would a more effective governance structure, one that linked mayoral appointment power with a blue-ribbon nominating commission more representative of the city's constituencies than the borough presidents, produce more effective schooling? Would smaller (or no) community school districts, perhaps commensurate with Community Planning Boards, generate more effective local support for schools? What impact would greater authority for principals have?


Many experts believe that changing the forms of school governance will ultimately be a far less effective a strategy than changing the ways in which we hold our schools accountable. State and Federal requirements are moving the Board of Education toward tougher forms of performance accountability. This is because it is believed that holding students back in grade or prohibiting them from graduating when they don't score high enough on gate-keeping tests will motivate them to higher performance, and retain integrity for public school diplomas. Supporters of tests also argue that the school system has paid insufficient attention to effective instructional strategies that teach basic skills in reading, writing and math. Testing students and reporting school-wide scores, they argue, will focus attention on strategies that would improve these skills. While tests are not perfect, their supporters maintain that they are still the most objective form of measurement available. Critics of tests contend, however, that tests that measure limited aspects of a student's knowledge force schools to use an inappropriate amount of time teaching specific items of information (teaching to the test), rather than focusing on important skills. They would say, in addition, that if the core problem of poor performance is limited school capacity - insufficient numbers of qualified teachers and leaders, for example - these measures won't help schools improve.

Another form of accountability is to reward individuals for a job well done. Thus, merit pay has been suggested as a form of accountability. Recently, New York City Schools Chancellor Harold Levy has announced a plan to award merit pay to school principals, making available as much as $15,000 to principals and other administrators in the 300 schools showing the greatest improvement in test scores. There is also discussion and debate around providing performance pay for teachers. This raises questions of whether testing or other evaluation for merit pay purposes should be done on a school-wide or some other basis. In addition, since comparisons between schools are fraught with problems, merit pay should be based upon measurement of progress, rather than raw scores.

Encouraging competition among schools so that a range of choices is provided and market forces become the ultimate arbiters of school quality has also been championed as a way to improve accountability. Two forms of such competition, charter schools and the use of vouchers, are discussed below.

Charter Schools

Charter schools now exist in thirty-eight states across the nation, including New York, where thirteen new schools and seven conversions have been approved. Charter schools are public schools that may be run by public school entities, non-profit or for profit organizations. They function outside the ordinary jurisdiction of a local school district, enjoying more discretion over budget and personnel matters and freedom from many state and local regulations. Their charter theoretically functions as a performance contract in which the autonomy they enjoy is granted in exchange for accountability. Opponents of charters have claimed that they have not been held to a high enough standard of accountability, and that there is no consistent evidence that charter schools perform at a better level than regular public schools. Proponents claim that charters provide new options for parents who want alternatives to chronically failing public schools. They point to surveys that show a high level of parental satisfaction with charter schools. They argue that since most charter schools are smaller than typical public schools, and are schools of choice where students, teachers and administrators are assigned on a voluntary basis, it is much easier for them to create the sense of community that is crucial to the success of any academic institution. Under the current law, in New York City these schools receive only 80% of the funding enjoyed by other public schools, making comparisons with public schools difficult and unfair.

School Vouchers

School vouchers remain one of the most controversial issues in American education. Presently publicly supported programs exist in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Florida. Opponents claim that they drain off public dollars from public schools, while failing to improve the public schools. It is also claimed that they violate federal and state constitutional requirements for the separation of church and state when they are used to support attendance at religious schools. Proponents argue that they can be used to provide poor children alternatives to failing public schools and offer poor families opportunities that they do not now have. Evaluations of public and private voucher programs show mixed results. The more positive assessments indicate that children who attend non-public schools with vouchers perform better than their public school counterparts, the more negative ones show that there is no significant difference between the two. There is more consistent evidence that parents whose children attend non-public schools through vouchers report higher levels of satisfaction. A recent study in New York City showed that poor children who attend Catholic Schools perform better on state reading and math exams than their public school peers. The same report states that while vouchers may provide a desirable alternative for some children in failing public schools, they are not a complete solution to the problem of school failure.

The applicability of vouchers as a useful policy alternative may depend on the design of such programs and their ability to target those students with the most severe needs. Their political viability is rather questionable. While polls seem to show strong support for vouchers among African American and Latino parents, most political leaders in the city oppose them. However, the recent 4-1 vote by African-American and Latino parents against for-profit management of failing public schools suggests that the support for privatization efforts may not be as broad, or as deep, as polls suggest. Some would argue that many other factors complicated the picture in this vote, making it a poor proxy for a vote on for-profit schools.

Replicating What Works

The system has demonstrated a remarkable incapacity to learn from its own successes, and replicate them in schools with a record of chronic failure. One vision of school improvement would be identify capacities and strategies that work in some schools, and use them to systematically transform failing schools across the City.

Norm Fruchter is director of the Institute for Education and Social Policy of New York University. Joseph P. Viteritti is the director of the Program on Education and Civil Society of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service of New York University.

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Find what city council district you are in -- and learn more about what's going on there, and who's running.

What is this?
Gotham Gazette's Searchlight on Campaign 2001 offers a comprehensive look at what is being called New York City's most significant campaign season in modern history. (See the left-hand column for an explanation).

Districts of the Week

District 1 -- Lower Manhattan
Whoever wins the election in district 1 will represent immigrant Chinese garment workers, as well as Wall Street traders living in Battery Park City. There are several candidates hoping to be the council's firsts -- the first Asian-American man, the first Asian-American woman, the first gay Rhodes Scholar, the first dot-com guru -- running against some politically well connected opponents. Endorsements and fundraising will play a big role in this race. But voter turnout could be the main determinant of who will next represent district 1 on the council. The key question is how many voters from each community will come out on Election Day.

District 7 -- Washington Heights, Manhattan
The northern tip of Manhattan has become one of the most popular places for new immigrants to call home. The northern tip of Manhattan is a place that today's new immigrants call home. The majority have come from the Dominican Republic, but also from countries in South America, Eastern Europe, and Asia. But it is not just new immigrants that are moving in. Students, artists, and other Manhattanites looking for less expensive rents and larger apartments have also moved north. Ten Democratic candidates are competing for the 15,000 voters expected on primary day. The winner who emerges from a crowded field of candidates will have to balance the needs of the newcomers with those who have lived there for years.

District 16 -- Highbridge, Bronx
The neighborhoods of district 16 are the city's poorest, with the highest rate of unemployment and the lowest median household income. But those who live there also point out that much is positive and stable about the area, thanks in large part to local organizations, not-for-profit agencies, and houses of worship that help hold the neighborhoods together. Each candidate for City Council believes that through his or her connections to churches and local organizations, they can help empower the community toward a better life. Helen Foster, the current council member daughter, will face Michael Benjamin, who has worked as an aide to several government officials and Anthony Curry, a Bronx neighborhood activist.

District 20 -- Northeast Flushing, Queens
This year district 20 may elect the first Asian-American ever to the City Council to an area which now has the second highest number of immigrants from Korea and Taiwan in the city. There are three Asian candidates in the Democratic race who have each drawn big endorsements. Council Speaker Peter Vallone endorsed Terence Park, City Comptroller Alan Hevesi endorsed John Liu, and the New York Times recently endorsed Ethel Chen The campaign has also drawn national and international press coverage

District 25 -- Jackson Heights, Queens
Thirty-seventh Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens is one of the most diverse streets in the world. Little India quickly blends into Little Colombia, with vendors selling Latin American food to Colombians, Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Mexicans, and Uruguayans. And each summer, the Queens Pride Parade fills the same street with rainbow banners. So it is no surprise that this election year the district produced a diverse field of candidates. A number of them, however, found out that getting on the ballot is not an easy task, especially when the Queens Democratic organization sends teams of lawyers to challenge petitions. But five Democratic candidates survived and will face off on September 11.

District 31 -- South East Queens
When a heavy rain hits southeast Queens, many residents in neighborhoods like Springfield Gardens, Laurelton and Rosedale head to the basement with a bucket in hand. And it has been that way for the last 50 years. In the rush to build housing in the area after World War II, developers overlooked the need for storm drains in hopes that the city would eventually build a city-wide sewer system. The plan never materialized and the area has experienced "100-year rains" three times in the last decade. The eight Democrats -- all with little experience overseeing massive infrastructure projects--will try to convince voters that they can finally solve the flooding problems.

District 35 -- Central Brooklyn
The residents in council district 35 have some of the highest incomes in Brooklyn and some of the lowest. They can play in a famous park and a beautiful botanical garden, and live in the city's most crumbling public housing. They can attend one of the four institutions of higher learning in the district, and the worst-scoring high schools in the city. Such juxtapositions are a way of life for a district that includes the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens; mid dle-class African-American communities near Prospect Park; immigrant communities from Haiti, Sierra Leon, Nigeria, and Trinidad, and in Crown Heights, a mix of Hasidic Jews and African-Americans. Seven Democratic candidates are campaigning in hopes that they can bring some kind of unity, and attention, to the area. Their backgrounds are as diverse as the neighborhoods themselves.

District 39 -- Park Slope/Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
The candidates in district 39 include a chief of staff for an Assemblywoman, the husband of a member of U.S. Congress, a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, an attorney and president of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, the district manager of Community Board 6, and a labor organizer. This is the race to watch this year. The group of high-profile Democrats have raised a lot of money, almost $1.4 million combined.

District 45 -- East Flatbush
In no place in the city are the effects of campaign finance reform and term limits being felt more than in East Flatbush. The seven Democratic candidates seeking to represent this largely West Indian district come from a number of Caribbean nations. Many have been working on politicians' staffs and serving with community groups, clearly hoping someday to win their own elected office. Term limits has presented them with that opportunity, and they want to make the most of it. But this race that usually draws only about 8,000 voters could be decided by just a few votes. The candidates are attempting to come up with anything that will separate them from the pack.

District 49 -- North Shore, Staten Island
Staten Island has always been somewhat of a suburban stepchild to New York City. When a 1998 survey asked New Yorkers why they go to Staten Island, the top two responses were ''visiting friends and relatives" and ''passing through.'' But in many ways, the north shore has more in common with areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn than with the rest of the Staten Island. The top priority for all the candidates -- Jon Del Giorno, an administrative manager for the Board of Elections, Mike McMahon, an attorney and counsel to current Councilmember Jerome O'Donovan, and Debi Rose, an administrator at the College of Staten Island and the first African-American candidate in Staten Island politics -- is to make sure that the island becomes more than just a turn-around-point for the over one million tourists who ride the free ferry from Manhattan each year.

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Links You Can Use

Government sites
NYC Campaign Finance Bd.
NYC Board of Elections
NYC Voter Assistance Comm.
NY City Council
Federal Election Comm.

Local non-partisan sites
NY League of Women Voters
Common Cause New York

National non-partisan sites
Ctr. for Responsive Politics
Common Cause
League of Women Voters

NAACP Voter Empowerment
Vote Smart


Political consultants
Amer. Assc. of Pol. Consultants

Prime New York

Gotham Gazette
The Empire Page
Campaigns and Elections
Legislative Gazette

Political columnists
Andrea Bernstein
Joe Conason
Mario Cuomo (radio)
Rudy Giuliani (radio)
Clyde Haberman
Nat Hentoff

Joseph Mercurio
Joyce Purnick
John Tierney
Michael Tomasky

Political parties
Right to Life
Working Families
Marijuana Reform
Natural Law Party
Taxpayers Party

Political clubs and groups
Blueprint Camp. Finance Reform
Central Queens Greens
The Jefferson Democratic Club of Flushing
NY Young Republican Club
Stonewall Democratic Club
Village Independent Dems.

Abbreviations for Party Affiliation

American Dream Party (AMD)
Better Schools Party (BES)
Communist (Com)
Conservative (Con)
Constitution (CST)
Democratic (Dem)
Friends United Party (FUN)
Fusion Party (FUS)
Green (Gre)
Harmony Party (HAR)
Independence (Ind)
Liberal (Lib)
Libertarian (LBT)
Marijuana Reform Party (POT)
Natural Law Party (NLP)
Party of Ethics and Traditions (PET)
Reform Party (Ref)
Republican (Rep)
Right to Life (RTL)
School Choice Party (Sch)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
Working Families (Wor)

2001 Election Calendar

June 1 -- Deadline for candidates to join the Campaign Finance program, qualifying for the four-to-one match of contributions.
June 5 - First day for candidates from the eight major parties (Democratic, Republican, Indpendence, Conservative, Liberal, Green, Working Families, and Right to Life) to circulate petitions. Candidates running for City Council must collect the signatures of at least 900 people living in the district for which they are running in order to appear on the Primary ballot. Candidates not running under these eight major parties do not appear on the Primary ballot and have a separate set of deadlines.
July 12 - Deadline for major party candidates to file petitions.
July 10 - First day for unaffiliated candidates to circulate petitions, in order to appear on the ballot in the General Election. They must collect the number of signatures equal to five percent of the total enrolled in that party.
August 7 - Board of Elections announces candidates appearing on the Primary ballot.
August 17 - Last day for non-absentee voters to register to vote in the Primary Election.
August 21 - Deadline for non-major party candidates to file petitions to be included on the General Election ballot.
September 4 - Last day to postmark application for absentee voting in the Primary
September 10 - Last day to personally deliver application for absentee voting in the Primary Last day to postmark absentee ballot for Primary
September 11 - Primary election; Polls open at 6:00a.m. and close at 9:00p.m.; Absentee ballots must be hand-delivered by 9:00 p.m.
September 25 - Runoff Primary election for Mayor, Comptroller and Public Advocate, if needed
October 12 - Last day to for non-absentee voters to register to vote in the General Election
October 30 - Last day to postmark application for absentee voting in the General Election
November 5 - Last day to hand-deliver an application for absentee voting, or to postmark an absentee ballot for the General Election.
November 6 - General Election; polls open at 6:00a.m. and close at 9:00p.m. in NYC; Absentee ballots must be hand-delivered by 9:00 p.m.

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