NYC Issues 2001
GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT ON CAMPAIGN 2001: PUBLIC SAFETY

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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?
Masthead

 

Public Safety Option Paper:
Communities and Policing

By Julia Vitullo-Martin

CONTENTS

Crime is the sleeping giant of city political life. It can awaken, and demolish a sitting mayor Or it can slumber on--with no heinous crime to remind the public of just how apprehensive they can become when crime seizes the front pages.

Crime has declined 63 percent over the past eight years. Homicide is down 70 percent. These are dramatic drops that New Yorkers do not want reversed.

Yet there is substantial disagreement about what caused the drop in crime, what, if anything, will keep crime down in the future, and whether the strategies used worked. Ever since the early 1970s when a study in Kansas City purported to show that policing did not--and could not--cause crime to go down, many commentators have argued that little could be done to affect crime directly. And while almost no one--and certainly very few New Yorkers--buys that argument anymore, substantial disagreement exists about crime's causes.

Two Schools of Thought

Policy analysts tend to fall into two broad schools of thought:

1. Crime derives from predatory human beings who should be arrested, tried, and punished quickly and decisively both because severe punishment is proper and because it deters other potential criminals. Imprison the criminals and crime will exit as well.

2. Crime is an outcome of deep-seated social injustices, and is best handled by rooting out inequities such as poverty, poor education, joblessness, and discrimination. Criminals are disproportionately poorly educated and under-employed. Correct that, and you will reduce crime as well.

Those in the first school credit New York's crime drop to its aggressive policing, particularly CompStat and the eight-year crackdown on quality-of-life offenses. They also tend to approve of New York State's severe, mandated drug sentencing laws, known as the Rockefeller drug laws, which have swept thousands of individual users and low-level dealers into prison.

Others attribute the crime drop to a host of factors, most of which are beyond mayoral control--the economy, demographics, incarceration, the end of the crack epidemic, even higher education. Further, many major cities--Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles--experienced a New-York-style decline in crime during the 1990s mainly without New York style strategies, minimizing the achievement here. But almost everyone agrees that policing in New York has changed during the Giuliani years.

Computerizing the War on Crime

The man who revolutionized policing in New York is William Bratton, Mayor Giuliani's first police commissioner, who spent two successful years corralling crime before being fired by Mayor Giuliani in 1996. What Bratton did was create a technically advanced computer system that allowed the department to track crime precisely. CompStat, which stands for computer-generated comparative statistics, pin-pointed crimes geographically and, just as important, made the data accessible to headquarters as well as to the precincts. This meant the commissioner and commanders could identify high-crime areas and direct crime-fighting strategies to those areas.

CompStat represented a management revolution--calling the entire police department, from the commissioner and commanders down, to precise account for their ability to fight crime.

Fighting for Quality of Life

But CompStat was only part of the revolution. The other part was Mayor Giuliani's intense focus on quality-of-life crimes. Mayor Giuliani believes in the "broken window theory" developed by Harvard academics James Q. Wilson and George Kelling, who in the 1980s argued persuasively that neighborhoods that neglected minor things like broken windows and graffiti set up a conducive environment for more serious crime. Both Mayor Giuliani and Commissioner Bratton were convinced that if you halted the minor crimes, you would keep the major crimes at bay.

Commissioner Bratton's experience as head of the transit police served him well as commissioner of the entire police department. He encouraged the department to crack down on turnstile jumping and panhandling, based on the belief that jumpers and panhandlers were also committing serious crimes. Indeed, when the newly computerized police department started running checks on turnstile jumpers, they found they had often arrested on a minor charge someone wanted on major charges.

Minimizing the War on Crime

Not everyone agrees that the Bratton-Giuliani strategy won the war on crime or that the strategies used were the most appropriate. First, argue some criminologists, such as Andrew Karmen at John Jay College, New York City's policing by itself is not what brought crime down. Second, many argue that the fight against crime extracted too high a price from minority communities.

In his book, New York Murder Mystery, Karmen analyzes what caused the murder rate to fall, and concludes that it was not necessarily CompStat, in part because the murder rate began falling before CompStat. Also, in cities with very different policing strategies like San Diego, the murder rate fell even faster than in New York City. Rather, a number of trends--productive immigration, changing demographics, low-cost higher education, and an increased death rate--came together effectively with aggressive policing.

Violent crime tends to be a young male activity. The number of poor black and Latino young males, says Karmen, fell significantly during the 1990s--and the crucial cohort of 20-to-24-year-olds fell by 19 percent. (Some dispute this drop.) At the same time, death through drug overdoses, AIDS among intravenous drug users, and homicides plus the deportation of some criminal aliens eliminated about 43,000 lawbreakers. According to this analysis, there were simply fewer criminals on the streets of New York.

This distressing picture is lightened somewhat by another Karmen argument: New Yorkers, including low-income blacks and Latinos, are more likely to have attended and finished college than minority residents of other cities. He argues that the city's investment in public universities has paid off in reduced crime.

His proposals for the future are simple. First, find out what is really behind the decline in crime and respond accordingly. He urges that a neutral blue ribbon commission be appointed. Second, continue to invest in higher education, including community colleges and training programs.

Is Karmen right that policing was not the major factor driving crime reduction? If so, then the point that the price was too high may look stronger.

Counter-Attacking the War on Crime

The quality-of-life campaign was inextricably woven into the aggressive policing tactics that were employed in New York City during the 1990s. Under Commissioner Bratton, the police did not wait for a serious crime to happen. The strategy was to get guns off the street, crack down on minor offenses like public drinking or fare beating, and police "proactively."

Many commentators objected to both the quality-of-life campaign, which they termed trivial, and the war on drugs, which they regarded as unnecessarily harsh and targeted at minorities. Misdemeanor arrests went from 130,000 in 1993 to 215,000 in 1998, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice. In 1993, the police held for arraignment 43 percent of those arrested on minor charges. In 1998, the police held 85 percent, according to the Department of Corrections.

Further, because the narcotics police were mostly undercover, they were harder to hold to account--by the department as well as by the community.

Stopping and Frisking by Race

Also fundamental to this campaign was the stop-and-frisk strategy - if the police thought someone had a gun, or drugs, or was involved in some crime, including a quality-of-life offense, they stopped and often searched the person. This brought to the public consciousness the problem of discretionary stops by police of people either acting suspiciously or committing minor offenses. There is no question but that a safe city requires smart, competent, decent police officers to patrol the streets and exercise sound judgment in stopping individuals. Yet the problem of discretionary stops has festered in New York for a long time, as has the problem of full arrests for minor offenses.

Because most of those stopped were young black or Latino males, many believe that this strategy used race as a criterion. This provoked an investigation by the federal government into allegations of racial profiling.

In May the Supreme Court weighed in with a 5-4 decision validating full arrest--including handcuffs and jail--for a petty offense, in this case, a suburban soccer mom in Texas not wearing a seat belt. Writing for the majority, Justice David Souter noted the humiliating character of the arrest over a "very minor criminal offense," but said he was comfortable relying on the "good sense" of local officials to keep such humiliating arrests from becoming excessive--a "dearth of horrible demanding redress."

A dissent, written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, pointed out the officer's intent to "threaten, frighten and humiliate" the mother, and the completely unnecessary character of the arrest and jailing. The common law, argued O'Connor, would have barred the arrest because the traffic violation was not a breach of the peace, making the arrest unreasonable.

Not long after this decision, the New York Civil Liberties Union made public the New York City police department's decision to jail overnight protestors arrested in demonstrations of 20 people or more. In the past, demonstrators were given desk appearance tickets and sent home.

The relationship of police officer to citizen is one of the most complex and potentially troubling in government⤳made potentially explosive by the New York Police Department's replacement of appearance tickets with jail.

Police Abuse

The killing of Amadou Diallo also spurred greater federal scrutiny of the police, which in turn prompted the revised procedures instituted by Commissioner Kerik. Last fall the police department began using new stop-and-frisk forms that required detailed explanations for stopping or searching anyone on the street. These forms have generally been applauded.

A few weeks after Diallo's death, a federal investigation began of the Street Crimes Unit's aggressive tactics. The unit's supporters said that it had swept thousands of guns off the street and reduced violent crime in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. But U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White's office, under civil rights legislation that had been passed in 1994 after the videotaped beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers, began investigating whether New York officers had systematically deprived blacks and Hispanics of their rights by stopping them based on their race.

The city voluntarily turned over its databases holding stop-and-frisk data, plus arrest and complaint information, from 1994 through the first three months of 1999. But it has not turned over more recent data, preventing investigators from assessing the many changes in procedures introduced by the police department since the Diallo shooting. However, the department is posting crime figures for each of the city's 76 police precincts on both the department's and the city's official websites.

This is as much a political question as a legal one, however. Do New Yorkers think this data should be made available? How much information should citizens be given on the police and their activities?

Civilian Complaint Review Board

In a move reminiscent of Nixon's going to China, Mayor Giuliani changed the system by which police officers accused of misconduct are considered for disciplinary charges. Accused officers are no longer investigated by the police department, but investigated and, if appropriate, charged by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the independent agency that now evaluates civilian complaints of abuse. (By "abuse" the board means such things as excessive force, discourtesy, offensive language or abuse of authority. The board does not usually handle the most serious criminal matters. Those are handled by the District Attorney's.)

Noting that the mayor had been one of the harshest critics of civilian oversight of the police, the New York Times called this a "major turnaround." (In his 1992 mayoral campaign, The mayor had opposed the board's creation.)

Almost no one had been happy with the previous system by which the review board investigated cases, but then referred them to the police department for departmental trial. Critics of the police argued that far too many legitimate cases simply languished after referral. Under the new system, the board will handle the investigation and trial, but the police commissioner will retain discretion on punishment, which can range from a loss of vacation days to firing.

Just who should take action concerning police officers accused of misconduct?

The dangers are clear. If the disciplinary proceedings are too harsh, good officers--and subsequently the community--will suffer. If they are too lenient, guilty officers will be free to brutalize citizens again.

Proponents of a strengthened and reconstituted CCRB hope it can ease the problem that lies beneath nearly every major criminal justice story today--and that is the allegation of racial profiling.

And nearly every incident reminds New Yorkers that a huge racial disparity exists on most issues of crime and justice. Much of that disparity is due to the reality that day in, day out, black Americans are more vulnerable than white Americans to being stopped by the police, fairly or unfairly.

Mayor Giuliani and the police department contend that stopping and questioning suspects is not done by race, but is proportionate to the race of the suspects identified by victims and witnesses. What is very difficult to unravel is whether the police, under the guise of suspiciousness, either intentionally or unintentionally stop black and Latino men more often than is warranted

Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy points out in his book, Race, Crime and the Law, that the police use of race as a proxy for suspiciousness, whether intentionally or not, creates enormous day-to-day distrust and alienation among black Americans. Black people being stopped disproportionately by the guardians of law and order comes back to haunt the community when those who have been stopped (and those who know them) become lawyers, judges, and jurors, and bring with them the anger they feel over unwarranted harassment and humiliation by the police. Justice is not served when these experiences influence their judgments in criminal prosecutions. Halting this practice, Kennedy argues, will not solve all racial problems, but will go far toward draining the deep sense of injustice African Americans feel.

A strengthened CCRB is one way to start addressing this problem. Commissioner Bernard Kerik's community study by the Vera Institute of Justice, discussed below, is another.

Respecting the Police

Police rudeness and occasional brutality towards civilians has many causes, but at least one, according to Commissioner Kerik, is attributable to sometimes brutal treatment of uniformed police by superiors. Kerik argues that the number one issue for uniformed police officers is not money, nor their contract, but how they're treated by their superiors--which is all too often badly.

Kerik instituted a series of management shake-ups in which he transferred many supervisors--sergeants and above--and encouraged the retirement of others.

Almost as serious as supervision to the officer on the beat, argues Kerik is the deplorably poor physical condition of so many police facilities--particularly precinct houses and their locker rooms and showers, which Kerik said were often "disgusting." He obtained 20 tractor-trailers of federal surplus property--chairs, desks, sofas, lamps, rugs, and electronic equipment--to improve facilities and to show police that headquarters cares.

Improving Police-Community Relations

Commissisoner Kerik recently increased the police department's focus on community relations, saying that community relations should be addressed as systematically as crime reduction. In doing so he set up a system of measurements and created a mandate for precinct commanders to increase interaction with the public.

To determine what the police are really doing and how they are perceived in communities, he commissioned a survey by the Vera Institute to elicit views of the police from people who "have had an encounter" with the police. An encounter does not include arrests, but only those who are stopped but not arrested, particularly those who are stopped and frisked.

The Vera survey will also include victims of crime, and people aided by the police, in addition to those who "encounter" police officers in more adversarial circumstances. The results of the survey may lead to a more public discussion of differing perceptions of the police officer's role in the community, and lay the foundation for what Commissioner Kerik calls an "attitude adjustment" among some officers.

This is almost certainly a first--a police department commissioning a survey of citizens who have had negative encounters with the police.

A further concern is whether any commissioner, no matter how determined and how competent, can really affect the culture of the police department. Thomas Reppetto, head of the Citizens Crime Commission, maintains that the police department's organizational culture is more determinative of police behavior than either the commissioner or the mayor. "The organization is forever," he says, "and mayors and commissioners come and go." Powerful institutional forces are arrayed against reform. While much the same can be said about any large bureaucracy, many would maintain that the police department is particularly difficult to change.

Lastly, the police department itself has become enormous. The police force now stands at a robust 40,000--the highest number of police officers in New York history. Considering the dramatic reduction in crime, and the operating deficits facing New York City in the near future, one should question whether New York City still needs a police force this large. Most observers simply assume it does--and most candidates routinely announce they will keep the force at 40,000. The department, however, has enough margin to deploy uniformed officers regularly to street fairs, parades, and park events. The department has also continued the personnel-heavy sweeps checking motorists for minor infractions, such as seat-belt violations

Former Commissioner Bratton, however, argues that as currently managed the police department does not have enough work for this many officers. He has long held that too many police results in waste at best and corruption at worst. New Yorkers want a department free of both.

Julia Vitullo-Martin, the former director of the Citizens Jury Project at the Vera Institute of Justice, is writing a book on the American jury.

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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
SavvyVoter.org
NYVote.com
Votesmart
NYPIRG
NY League of Women Voters
Common Cause New York

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

NAACP Voter Empowerment
Vote Smart

E-Voting
Election.com

Political consultants
Amer. Assc. of Pol. Consultants

Prime New York

Media
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
Conservative
Democratic
Green
Independence
Liberal
Republican
Right to Life
Working Families
Communist
Libertarian
Marijuana Reform
Natural Law Party
Socialist
Taxpayers Party

Political clubs and groups
Blueprint Camp. Finance Reform
DL21C
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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