Gotham Gazette

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Elections

Elections

  • New York Elections Administrators Lay Out Immense Challenges, Uncertainty Ahead of Fast-Approaching General Election

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    State Senator Myrie in the Senate chamber (photo: State Senate)


    After June saw drastic shifts in how voting in New York is conducted, elections administrators, state legislators, and watchdogs have a long list of changes they want to see enacted before the general election this fall. But above all they want clarity from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    Many of the key players in New York City and State elections testified Tuesday at an oversight hearing held by both houses of the Democrat-controlled Legislature examining the June primary, its successes and

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  • As New York Looks for Smoother General Election, Long List of Voting Reform Bills Awaits Governor’s Signature or Legislative Action

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    Inspecting voting equipment (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris)


    The June 2020 primaries in New York were an unusually thick morass of bureaucratic challenges as the city and state election systems shifted to a mostly-mail-in format amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

    In New York City more than 80,000 mail-in ballots were disqualified on technical grounds -- a full fifth of the 400,000-plus ballots cast that way and a tenth of the total. Tens of thousands of ballots were either sent out late by the New York City Board of Elections or never delivered to voters who

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  • Republicans Eye 2021 Mayoral Race with Optimism, But Wary of a Primary

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    City Hall (photo: Benjamin Kanter, Mayor's Office)


    With the 2021 party primary elections less than a year away, more than a dozen candidates have either declared or are openly exploring a campaign to become the next Mayor of New York City. But while that long list includes some prominent current elected officials, a few former public servants and several lesser known contenders, it contains few Republicans.

    By all indications, there will be a fiercely fought Democratic mayoral primary as a crowded slate vies to replace outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, a

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  • 2021 Borough President Election Set to Unfold Amid Dramatic Shift in Bronx Politics

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    Bronx Democrats (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    The Bronx’s political landscape is undergoing major shifts, full of electoral upsets and unexpected political departures. While Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie remains one of the most powerful elected officials in the state, the borough’s Democratic County Party that he has been leading, in essence, for many years is faltering amid election losses and retirements from politics, all setting the stage for what will be an immensely important 2021 New York City election cycle with a great

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  • 2020 Primary Results Certified by Board of Elections; Show 23% Turnout Among New York City Democrats

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    Voters cast many absentee ballots (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Over a month after the June primary, the New York State Board of Elections has certified the results, which show a relatively large voter turnout aided in part by the pandemic-induced expansion of absentee balloting. Almost all of the primaries in New York City were among Democrats, including a number of hotly-contested races for the House of Representatives, both houses of the State Legislature, Queens Borough President, and more.

    The elections saw several

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  • Ruling Paves Way for Massive Voting Rights Change to School Board Elections Across New York

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    School Board elections may soon change across NY (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    On May 25 in White Plains, U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel ruled that the at-large system used for electing the nine members of the East Ramapo School Board denied the district’s Black and Latino voters effective choice in its elections, violating §2 of the Federal Voting Rights Act (VRA). Under an at-large system every voter votes to fill each board position, allowing a disciplined majority to control all seats. A majority of the East Ramapo district’s voting population is

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Shaun Donovan Explores a Run for Mayor

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    Shaun Donovan at the podium (photo: Spencer T Tucker)


    August 5, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Shaun Donovan Explores a Run for Mayor

    Shaun Donovan, a former top aide to President Barack Obama and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, joined the show to discuss his likely candidacy for Mayor of New York City in the 2021 election.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand ...

  • Max & Murphy Podcast: The Working Families Party's Big Primary Wins

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    Sochie Nnaemeka of the NY WFP (photo: @sochiesays)


    August 5, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Sochie Nnaemeka on the Working Families Party's Big Wins & Future Challenges

    Sochie Nnaemeka, director of the New York Working Families Party, joined the show to discuss the party's endorsements and successes in the 2020 New York primaries, and what comes next.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand ...

  • Progressive Challenger Launches City Council Campaign to Unseat Conservative Democrat in Queens

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    Juan Ardila (photo: campaign website)


    First-term City Council Member Bob Holden, a conservative Democrat from Queens known for controversial statements and criticism of the de Blasio administration, is facing a 2021 challenge from Juan Ardila, a first-generation immigrant and Maspeth native who says Holden is failing the 30th Council District.

    Ardila, the son of a Honduran-Cuban mother and Colombian father, says he is running to fight for working class families in a district plagued by rising costs of living, lack of mass transit, limited employment opportunities,

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  • It's Time to Ensure Everyday New Yorkers Can Afford to Run for Office

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    The 2021 elections have begun (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Running for office is an exciting endeavor and the already-underway 2021 New York City election cycle will be filled with new candidates, but the thing no one talks about is the difficulty of deciding to run for office or being a first-time candidate when it comes to quitting your job. Very few people can afford to leave their jobs behind without having to worry about paying for basic living expenses, such as rent, food, transportation, and health insurance. This barrier disproportionately

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  • Crowded Field Forms for Special Election to Replace Ritchie Torres in the City Council

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    Council Member Ritchie Torres (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    With City Council Member Ritchie Torres declaring victory in the Bronx’s 15th Congressional District Democratic primary and all but assured to advance to Congress at the start of next year, a special election to replace Torres in the City Council’s own District 15 looks likely for sometime in February or March of 2021. The race in the heavily-Democratic Council district is already shaping up to be hotly-contested, with community leaders, the son of a state senator, and at least one member

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  • No, Trump Can’t Postpone the Election, But Congress Needs to Fund It

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    Electors to the Electoral College voting in Albany (photo: governor's office)


    This guest column is part of Citizens Union Speakers, a regular series of op-eds written by members of the

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  • New Project to Prepare Voters for Historic 2021 New York City Elections

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    New York City voters will have a lot to decide in 2021 (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Gotham Gazette will be an integral part of a major new project led by its parent organization, Citizens Union Foundation, aimed at educating voters in advance of the historic, immensely-important 2021 New York City elections.

    In 2021, New York City voters will elect a new Mayor and Comptroller, at least four new Borough Presidents, and dozens of new City Council members. The rest of city government will also be on the ballot, including seats where incumbents

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  • How a Big Brooklyn Upset Unfolded

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    Emily Gallagher with campaign supporters (photo: @em4assembly)


    Community activist Emily Gallagher ran a successful insurgent Democratic primary campaign like few others: one with no endorsements from elected officials, no support from ascendent lefitist groups the Working Families Party or New York City branch of the Democratic Socialists of America, and relatively little money compared to her opponent, a 47-year incumbent State Assembly member who had not even faced a primary challenge for a decade.

    Gallagher, who has lived in North Brooklyn’s Assembly

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  • Wins Pile Up for the New York Left

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    Phara Souffrant Forrest (photo: @phara4assembly)


    Leftist organizations like the Working Families Party and New York City branch of the Democratic Socialists of America are piling up wins in the June primaries, with absentee ballot counting near an end and a wide array of candidates they supported — many of whom are challengers to incumbents — on the verge of winning seats in Congress and the New York State Legislature.

    The wins shatter preconceived notions that incumbents are heavily favored to win, conventional wisdom that was deeply

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  • Democrats Flipped a Brooklyn State Senate Seat in 2018; Is It In Play In 2020?

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    State Senator Andrew Gounardes in Albany (photo: @sen_gounardes)


    Pro-NYPD and Black Lives Matter protesters clashed, sometimes violently, in Southern Brooklyn last weekend, a conflict emblematic of the changing and complicated politics in traditionally moderate to conservative neighborhoods that have been home to leftward political movement, partially due to an influx of new residents.

    One marker of the changes was the 2018 election of Democrat Andrew Gounardes in State Senate District 22, where he defeated long-time

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  • We Should Never Have to Choose Between Life and Democracy

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    In-person voting during a pandemic (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    We should never have to decide between public health and democracy. We must have both.

    We hoped that voter suppression was a thing of the past, and yet it is still present not just in the South but in the South Bronx and across the country.

    We are witnessing a public health and democratic crisis that must be addressed immediately—otherwise, lives will be taken as electoral gains are also stolen.  

    In short, the coronavirus crisis has cast a light on the deteriorating health of

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  • Push Is On for 10 Bills to Strengthen Absentee Voting and More Ahead of Fall Election

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    Voting during a pandemic (photo: @NYCVotes)


    Ahead of a special state legislative session set for next week, a coalition of election reform advocates is backing ten bills that would change or codify elements of the now widely-used absentee voting process before the fall general election.

    The agenda, released Thursday by the Let NY Vote coalition, comes amid party primary elections where the voting is over but the counting

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  • Who’s Running for What in the 2021 New York City Elections

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    Who's running? (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The party primaries for New York City’s 2021 elections are rapidly approaching. All of city government is on the ballot this year, with most of the seats “open” due to term limits while some incumbents seek reelection. Two of three citywide elected officials -- the mayor and the comptroller -- are term-limited out of office, as are four of the five borough presidents, and most of the 51-seat City Council.

    While a lot will change between now and November of 2021, when many races will ultimately be decided,

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  • After Strong Primary Showing, Will New Crop of Progressives Push Assembly Democrats Further Left?

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    The State Assembly (photo: @NYSA_Majority)


    For some time, a lack of Democratic control in the New York State Senate prevented progressive legislation from becoming law. But even after the chamber flipped from red to blue through the 2018 elections and a long list of Democratic priorities were acted on, some bills that once passed the State Assembly when Republicans held the Senate are now having trouble reaching that chamber’s floor, leading to frustration that multiple insurgent campaigns capitalized on in this year’s primary

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  • Without Vance, 5 Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Candidates Participate in First Debate

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    (l-r) Dan Quart, Alvin Bragg, Tahanie Aboushi, Janos Marton, Eliza Orlins


    With the 2021 Democratic primary for Manhattan District Attorney now under a year away, five candidates for the office participated in a forum hosted by the New York City Program Council and Columbia Law School’s Black Law Students Association. Manhattan’s current District Attorney, Cy Vance, has not yet said if he will seek reelection next year as the borough’s top prosecutor and law enforcement officer, but he was a frequent target of his potential opponents during the event.

    The

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  • The 2021 Manhattan District Attorney Race is Officially Underway

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    Cy Vance (photo: @ManhattanDA)


    Five candidates vying to become the next Manhattan District Attorney will participate in a forum on Tuesday, just under a year before the primary election and over a year after the first candidate in the race announced his campaign. The event, featuring all Democrats, is being hosted by the NYC Programming Council and Columbia Law School. Current District Attorney Cy Vance hasn’t said whether or not he will seek reelection in 2021 and is not participating in the first debate of the race.

    The event comes a week after Vance

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  • Voter Turnout Spiked in 2018, Then Everything Changed in 2020

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    Vote Here / Vote Aqui (photo: governor's office)


    This series on voter engagement in New York City is supported by the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.

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  • Council Member Helen Rosenthal Drops Out of 2021 Comptroller Race

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    Council Member Helen Rosenthal (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, is dropping out of the 2021 race for Comptroller, she told Gotham Gazette in an interview Friday morning.

    Next year, the entire city government – the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, five borough presidents and 51 City Council seats – will be on the ballot. Rosenthal is currently serving her second term representing District 6 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and cannot run for reelection

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  • 'I Actually Have to Negotiate a Budget': Corey Johnson and the Challenge of Running for Mayor as City Council Speaker

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    Corey Johnson, with Bill de Blasio watching (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Speakers of the New York City Council don’t fare well when running for citywide office. Melissa Mark-Viverito, who previously held the job, was unsuccessful in a crowded 2019 special election for public advocate. Christine Quinn, the speaker before her, placed third in the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary that saw Bill de Blasio advance toward the mayoralty. Gifford Miller, Quinn’s predecessor, similarly lost in the 2005 Democratic mayoral primary to Fernando Ferrer, and Peter

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