Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. https://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/voter-turnout 2019-07-17T06:53:59+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com A Closer Look at New York City Latino Voter Participation in the 2018 Elections 2019-05-23T04:00:00+00:00 2019-05-23T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8545-a-closer-look-at-new-york-city-latino-voter-participation-in-the-2018-elections Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/voting-booth.jpg" alt="voting booth" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>NYC Votes and the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee recently released their mandated report regarding voting participation in New York City, which skyrocketed in 2018. While the report contains fascinating analyses, it does not, nor does it seek to, delve into the role that people of color, in this case specifically Latinos, played in last year’s elections. But their role was definitely pivotal, and it particularly affected the New York gubernatorial primary.</p> <p>According to my own analysis, over half a million more voters came out to the polls in the 2018 Democratic primaries than in the 2014 primaries. Over a million more voters voted in the 2018 general election than in the 2014 general election.</p> <p>This enormous increase in voting participation was evident across all racial groups. But of them all, the increase among Latino voters in New York City was slightly greater. Compared to the 2014 primaries, when Latinos comprised 17% of the overall New York City electorate (47,592 voters), in 2018 Latinos increased their voter share to 20% of the city electorate, with 169,667 Latinos going to the polls.</p> <p>In the 2018 general election Latinos also comprised 20% of the city’s electorate, increasing their voter turnout by nearly 300,000 voters over the 2014 general election.</p> <p>Of these, 55% of the Latino vote came from two boroughs—the Bronx and Manhattan—and 42% of the Latino vote came from Brooklyn and Queens. One interesting change from previous elections is that the Latino vote in Queens has increased. In previous years, Manhattan made up almost 30% of all Latino voters but that number is now dwindling, in my estimation likely because of the decrease in Puerto Rican voters in East Harlem and the Lower East Side.</p> <p>But Queens has seen a spike in Latino voting participation, with 30,000 more voters going to the polls in 2018 than in 2014. Queens Latino voters now comprise 21% of all Latino voters in the city, the largest increase in percentages of all the boroughs. In the 2018 general election, Queens residents made up a quarter of all Latino voters. The Bronx remains the borough with the most Latino voters.</p> <p>Lest you think this column is painting too rosy a picture of Latino voting participation, here’s the reality check: only 20% of all eligible Latino Democratic voters in New York City voted in the 2018 Democratic primary. In the 2018 general election, 37% of all eligible registered Latinos voted in New York City. In comparison, 45% of registered black voters in the city went to the polls in the general election.</p> <p>To be sure, the lack of Latino voting participation in New York City is not unique to Gotham. Studies indicate that this lack of participation is prevalent nationally. This has been well documented by Bernard Fraga in his book The Turnout Gap. There, Fraga observes on the basis of careful research that Latino (along with Asian-American) voting participation lags behind all other groups nationally.</p> <p>Clearly, much remains to be done when it comes to pushing for a greater electoral presence among Latinos. The question is whether its leaders, particularly Latino elected officials, have the wherewithal to make this a priority.</p> <p>The most recent citywide election (the February special election for public advocate) barely turned out 10% of Latino voters. Granted, all political observers predicted that this election would be a low-turnout affair. But the abysmal turnout among Latinos should raise many questions of concern and should compel Latino leaders to strategize ways to increase voting participation. Otherwise, the “sleeping giant” moniker given to Latinos will persist.</p> <p>***<br />Eli Valentin teaches political science at Monroe College and is a frequent guest political analyst on Univision NY. On Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/elivalentinNY">@elivalentinNY</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/voting-booth.jpg" alt="voting booth" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>NYC Votes and the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee recently released their mandated report regarding voting participation in New York City, which skyrocketed in 2018. While the report contains fascinating analyses, it does not, nor does it seek to, delve into the role that people of color, in this case specifically Latinos, played in last year’s elections. But their role was definitely pivotal, and it particularly affected the New York gubernatorial primary.</p> <p>According to my own analysis, over half a million more voters came out to the polls in the 2018 Democratic primaries than in the 2014 primaries. Over a million more voters voted in the 2018 general election than in the 2014 general election.</p> <p>This enormous increase in voting participation was evident across all racial groups. But of them all, the increase among Latino voters in New York City was slightly greater. Compared to the 2014 primaries, when Latinos comprised 17% of the overall New York City electorate (47,592 voters), in 2018 Latinos increased their voter share to 20% of the city electorate, with 169,667 Latinos going to the polls.</p> <p>In the 2018 general election Latinos also comprised 20% of the city’s electorate, increasing their voter turnout by nearly 300,000 voters over the 2014 general election.</p> <p>Of these, 55% of the Latino vote came from two boroughs—the Bronx and Manhattan—and 42% of the Latino vote came from Brooklyn and Queens. One interesting change from previous elections is that the Latino vote in Queens has increased. In previous years, Manhattan made up almost 30% of all Latino voters but that number is now dwindling, in my estimation likely because of the decrease in Puerto Rican voters in East Harlem and the Lower East Side.</p> <p>But Queens has seen a spike in Latino voting participation, with 30,000 more voters going to the polls in 2018 than in 2014. Queens Latino voters now comprise 21% of all Latino voters in the city, the largest increase in percentages of all the boroughs. In the 2018 general election, Queens residents made up a quarter of all Latino voters. The Bronx remains the borough with the most Latino voters.</p> <p>Lest you think this column is painting too rosy a picture of Latino voting participation, here’s the reality check: only 20% of all eligible Latino Democratic voters in New York City voted in the 2018 Democratic primary. In the 2018 general election, 37% of all eligible registered Latinos voted in New York City. In comparison, 45% of registered black voters in the city went to the polls in the general election.</p> <p>To be sure, the lack of Latino voting participation in New York City is not unique to Gotham. Studies indicate that this lack of participation is prevalent nationally. This has been well documented by Bernard Fraga in his book The Turnout Gap. There, Fraga observes on the basis of careful research that Latino (along with Asian-American) voting participation lags behind all other groups nationally.</p> <p>Clearly, much remains to be done when it comes to pushing for a greater electoral presence among Latinos. The question is whether its leaders, particularly Latino elected officials, have the wherewithal to make this a priority.</p> <p>The most recent citywide election (the February special election for public advocate) barely turned out 10% of Latino voters. Granted, all political observers predicted that this election would be a low-turnout affair. But the abysmal turnout among Latinos should raise many questions of concern and should compel Latino leaders to strategize ways to increase voting participation. Otherwise, the “sleeping giant” moniker given to Latinos will persist.</p> <p>***<br />Eli Valentin teaches political science at Monroe College and is a frequent guest political analyst on Univision NY. On Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/elivalentinNY">@elivalentinNY</a>.</p> <p>

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More Like a Presidential Year: Report Details Extent of 2018 New York Voter Turnout Boom 2019-05-01T04:00:00+00:00 2019-05-01T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8494-more-like-a-presidential-year-report-details-extent-of-2018-new-york-voter-turnout-boom Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/30237614784_10889c6d0f_z.jpg" alt="voters new york city" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Edwin Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The tale of the 2018 midterm elections has, so far, been one of groundswells and precedents lending credence to the populist narratives that have come to characterize post-2016 America.</p> <p>In New York, anecdotes about crowded poll sites, and near-heroic efforts to cast ballots amid the congestion, were ubiquitous during and after the election.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nyccfb.info/pdf/Voter_Analysis_Report_2019.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">report</a>, published on Tuesday by NYC Votes and the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, arms of the city’s Campaign Finance Board, now reveals just how significant the changes were in 2018, when New Yorkers voted for members of Congress, statewide positions including Governor, and members of the state Legislature.</p> <p>New York typically suffers from voter turnout rates below the national average and, in general, voter participation across the country drops off during midterm elections as compared to presidential election years. But the 2018 midterms in New York City unsettled that arithmetic.</p> <p>The picture painted by the report, which is mandated by law after an election year, is of a 2018 midterm election that more closely resembles a presidential year than a typical midterm in terms of voter registration and turnout.</p> <p>According to the report, turnout in New York City hit 39.1 percent, a significant leap of about 10 percent from the previous midterm in 2014 and closing the gap to within 15 percent of the 2016 presidential election. By comparison, the gap between turnout rates in 2016 and 2017, a mayoral election year, was 35 percent.</p> <p>Even more unusual, 11 neighborhoods in New York City had turnout rates above the national rate. All numbers for November general elections.</p> <p>Over a million more ballots were cast in 2018 than in 2014, marking the first time New York City has seen a significant uptick in turnout in a midterm election in nearly two decades. At the same time, there was a shift in the behavior of new voters, especially when considering certain demographic factors.</p> <p><strong>Registered to Participate</strong><br />While typically there is wide variability in turnout across age groups, in 2018 new voters of all ages turned out at more uniform rates. There were more than 250,000 new voter registrations in 2018, the report says.</p> <p>Turnout among newly registered voters in the 18 to 29 age range -- the group least likely to vote -- was only 7.3 points below turnout among 30 to 39 year olds -- the group with the highest rate. This same comparison in the 2014 midterms yields a difference of 17.1 percent, though in 2016 the difference was much closer to last year, at 7.5 points.</p> <p>The behavior of newly registered voters, as described in the Campaign Finance Board report, indicates an electorate that became more intentional as it expanded.</p> <p>“Generally, in midterm election years, new registrants do not turn out at higher rates than those who registered before the election year,” the report reads. “In 2018, however, voters registered in order to participate in the 2018 midterm elections specifically.”</p> <p>Last year, turnout was actually slightly higher among newly registered voters than the overall pool of registered voters. This was also the case during the 2016 presidential election when polarizing campaigns drove people to the polls in record numbers. By contrast, the turnout among new registrants in the previous midterm was more than seven points below the overall rate.</p> <p>This was true at the neighborhood level, too, where the neighborhood registration rate had a stronger positive relationship with neighborhood turnout than it did in the previous midterm.</p> <p><strong>Naturalization and Voting</strong><br />The CFB report also points to naturalization as a factor in turnout, although it does not speculate as to why.</p> <p>A number of the lowest turnout districts identified in the report have a large immigrant population. Neighborhoods like Sheepshead Bay, which has a large Russian immigrant population, and Richmond Hill, a third of whose population is naturalized citizens, have very low turnout rates.</p> <p>Places like South Ozone Park, whose population is 36 percent naturalized, of which a large portion are English-speaking Guyanese Americans, make it hard to say that the impact of naturalization has more to do with language access than with other factors. Less than 30 percent of South Ozone Park voters cast a ballot. (City Council Member Mark Treyger currently carries a bill to expand language access at the polls, but it is unclear if the Council has jurisdiction given that the city Board of Elections is a state entity.)</p> <p>Unanswered questions about immigrant communities and voter turnout form something of a problem for a city with such diverse ethnic, linguistic, and political communities.</p> <p>“We have an obligation to serve voting populations that are underrepresented,” said Matthew Sollars, Director of Public Relations at the CFB.</p> <p>The report recommends a number of "reforms with immediate impact," including restoring voting rights to people on parole, automatic voter registration, changing the party enrollment deadline, and instant run-off voting, among others intended to expand access to the polls. Some of these changes are being debated in Albany, others by the 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission.</p> <p><strong>The Federal Factor</strong><br />The 2018 elections saw an uncommon confluence of competitive races at the state and federal level, including in June congressional primaries and September state primaries, as well as the November general election.</p> <p>But the Campaign Finance Board report suggests that not all competitive races are equal post-2016.</p> <p>Several high-profile primary challenges for the state Senate were part of an effort to unseat members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), the now defunct group of breakaway Democrats who caucused with Republicans for most of a decade. But despite receiving a bulk of the attention from the media, interested onlookers, and passionate activists, there was not a dramatic difference between voter turnout in those IDC elections and others.</p> <p>“This shows that the perceived competitiveness of an election does not necessarily lead to increased turnout in that district,” the report states, “and that in this high-profile election, voters turned out regardless of whether they were voting in a competitive election.”</p> <p>The observation that IDC affiliation had little impact on turnout raises the question of what did. Some other figures in the report indicate that, while the Trump presidency appears to have an impact on federal races across the board, that effect has not fully extended to the level of local politics.</p> <p>Last year’s midterms looked a lot like the presidential election, but 2017’s municipal elections did not. The report states registration rates in 2018 were “nearly double the number of new registrations the city saw in 2017.”</p> <p>Most newly registered voters who cast ballots in 2016 did not return in 2017, when the city’s elections were mostly not seen as particularly competitive. “Only about 80,000, or 24.7 percent, of people who registered in 2016 and voted in the presidential election voted in any election during the 2017 citywide election cycle,” the report says.</p> <p>Still, about 60,000 more voters turned out to vote in the 2017 general election than in the 2013 general election, according to Sollars of the CFB.</p> <p>Whatever the factors, the report is careful to point out that all of these races “pale in comparison to the surge of voter registrations that occurred in 2016 during the presidential election cycle.”</p> <p>“In October 2016 alone,” the report says, “124,000 new registrations were processed, which is nearly half of the total number of registrations processed throughout all of 2018.”</p> <p>

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by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette      

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: this story has been updated with a paragraph about the report's recommendations that was accidentally left out of the original published piece.</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/30237614784_10889c6d0f_z.jpg" alt="voters new york city" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Edwin Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The tale of the 2018 midterm elections has, so far, been one of groundswells and precedents lending credence to the populist narratives that have come to characterize post-2016 America.</p> <p>In New York, anecdotes about crowded poll sites, and near-heroic efforts to cast ballots amid the congestion, were ubiquitous during and after the election.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nyccfb.info/pdf/Voter_Analysis_Report_2019.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">report</a>, published on Tuesday by NYC Votes and the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, arms of the city’s Campaign Finance Board, now reveals just how significant the changes were in 2018, when New Yorkers voted for members of Congress, statewide positions including Governor, and members of the state Legislature.</p> <p>New York typically suffers from voter turnout rates below the national average and, in general, voter participation across the country drops off during midterm elections as compared to presidential election years. But the 2018 midterms in New York City unsettled that arithmetic.</p> <p>The picture painted by the report, which is mandated by law after an election year, is of a 2018 midterm election that more closely resembles a presidential year than a typical midterm in terms of voter registration and turnout.</p> <p>According to the report, turnout in New York City hit 39.1 percent, a significant leap of about 10 percent from the previous midterm in 2014 and closing the gap to within 15 percent of the 2016 presidential election. By comparison, the gap between turnout rates in 2016 and 2017, a mayoral election year, was 35 percent.</p> <p>Even more unusual, 11 neighborhoods in New York City had turnout rates above the national rate. All numbers for November general elections.</p> <p>Over a million more ballots were cast in 2018 than in 2014, marking the first time New York City has seen a significant uptick in turnout in a midterm election in nearly two decades. At the same time, there was a shift in the behavior of new voters, especially when considering certain demographic factors.</p> <p><strong>Registered to Participate</strong><br />While typically there is wide variability in turnout across age groups, in 2018 new voters of all ages turned out at more uniform rates. There were more than 250,000 new voter registrations in 2018, the report says.</p> <p>Turnout among newly registered voters in the 18 to 29 age range -- the group least likely to vote -- was only 7.3 points below turnout among 30 to 39 year olds -- the group with the highest rate. This same comparison in the 2014 midterms yields a difference of 17.1 percent, though in 2016 the difference was much closer to last year, at 7.5 points.</p> <p>The behavior of newly registered voters, as described in the Campaign Finance Board report, indicates an electorate that became more intentional as it expanded.</p> <p>“Generally, in midterm election years, new registrants do not turn out at higher rates than those who registered before the election year,” the report reads. “In 2018, however, voters registered in order to participate in the 2018 midterm elections specifically.”</p> <p>Last year, turnout was actually slightly higher among newly registered voters than the overall pool of registered voters. This was also the case during the 2016 presidential election when polarizing campaigns drove people to the polls in record numbers. By contrast, the turnout among new registrants in the previous midterm was more than seven points below the overall rate.</p> <p>This was true at the neighborhood level, too, where the neighborhood registration rate had a stronger positive relationship with neighborhood turnout than it did in the previous midterm.</p> <p><strong>Naturalization and Voting</strong><br />The CFB report also points to naturalization as a factor in turnout, although it does not speculate as to why.</p> <p>A number of the lowest turnout districts identified in the report have a large immigrant population. Neighborhoods like Sheepshead Bay, which has a large Russian immigrant population, and Richmond Hill, a third of whose population is naturalized citizens, have very low turnout rates.</p> <p>Places like South Ozone Park, whose population is 36 percent naturalized, of which a large portion are English-speaking Guyanese Americans, make it hard to say that the impact of naturalization has more to do with language access than with other factors. Less than 30 percent of South Ozone Park voters cast a ballot. (City Council Member Mark Treyger currently carries a bill to expand language access at the polls, but it is unclear if the Council has jurisdiction given that the city Board of Elections is a state entity.)</p> <p>Unanswered questions about immigrant communities and voter turnout form something of a problem for a city with such diverse ethnic, linguistic, and political communities.</p> <p>“We have an obligation to serve voting populations that are underrepresented,” said Matthew Sollars, Director of Public Relations at the CFB.</p> <p>The report recommends a number of "reforms with immediate impact," including restoring voting rights to people on parole, automatic voter registration, changing the party enrollment deadline, and instant run-off voting, among others intended to expand access to the polls. Some of these changes are being debated in Albany, others by the 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission.</p> <p><strong>The Federal Factor</strong><br />The 2018 elections saw an uncommon confluence of competitive races at the state and federal level, including in June congressional primaries and September state primaries, as well as the November general election.</p> <p>But the Campaign Finance Board report suggests that not all competitive races are equal post-2016.</p> <p>Several high-profile primary challenges for the state Senate were part of an effort to unseat members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), the now defunct group of breakaway Democrats who caucused with Republicans for most of a decade. But despite receiving a bulk of the attention from the media, interested onlookers, and passionate activists, there was not a dramatic difference between voter turnout in those IDC elections and others.</p> <p>“This shows that the perceived competitiveness of an election does not necessarily lead to increased turnout in that district,” the report states, “and that in this high-profile election, voters turned out regardless of whether they were voting in a competitive election.”</p> <p>The observation that IDC affiliation had little impact on turnout raises the question of what did. Some other figures in the report indicate that, while the Trump presidency appears to have an impact on federal races across the board, that effect has not fully extended to the level of local politics.</p> <p>Last year’s midterms looked a lot like the presidential election, but 2017’s municipal elections did not. The report states registration rates in 2018 were “nearly double the number of new registrations the city saw in 2017.”</p> <p>Most newly registered voters who cast ballots in 2016 did not return in 2017, when the city’s elections were mostly not seen as particularly competitive. “Only about 80,000, or 24.7 percent, of people who registered in 2016 and voted in the presidential election voted in any election during the 2017 citywide election cycle,” the report says.</p> <p>Still, about 60,000 more voters turned out to vote in the 2017 general election than in the 2013 general election, according to Sollars of the CFB.</p> <p>Whatever the factors, the report is careful to point out that all of these races “pale in comparison to the surge of voter registrations that occurred in 2016 during the presidential election cycle.”</p> <p>“In October 2016 alone,” the report says, “124,000 new registrations were processed, which is nearly half of the total number of registrations processed throughout all of 2018.”</p> <p>

***
by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette      

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: this story has been updated with a paragraph about the report's recommendations that was accidentally left out of the original published piece.</p>
How Many Voters Will Turn Out for the Public Advocate Special Election? 2019-02-13T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-13T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8279-how-many-voters-will-turn-out-for-the-public-advocate-special-election Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/29371579580_504746f976_z_2.jpg" alt="de blasio voting" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Around 200,000 to 700,000 voters are expected to show up to the polls for February 26 special election for New York City Public Advocate, according to political experts and candidates for the office. Though the election is certain to be a low turnout affair, just how low remains unclear, with turnout dependent upon how well the candidates are able to broadcast their messages and push people to the polls, how active labor unions and political clubs are, and other factors, including the weather on election day.</p> <p>The election for just one of three citywide positions asks voters to choose between more than a dozen candidates vying to become the city’s next ombudsperson, voice for the people, and watchdog over the rest of city government. Former public advocate Letitia James, who served in the role from 2014 through 2018, was elected Attorney General in November, triggering the first citywide special election since governmental restructuring in 1989.</p> <p>As of February, there were almost 5.2 million registered voters in New York City, <a href="https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/enrollment/county/county_feb19.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to</a> the state Board of Elections. Of that total, about 3.5 million are registered Democrats; 954,000 registered to vote but unaffiliated with a party; and 523,000 Republicans.</p> <p>A turnout of 500,000 voters for the Public Advocate special election would represent just over 10 percent of those 5.2 million registered voters.</p> <p>Several experts view weather as the strongest deciding factor in turnout.</p> <p>If the skies are clear, as many as 750,000 voters may head to the polls, according to Jerry Skurnik, a political consultant and founder of Prime New York. But if snow falls on the twenty-sixth, he estimates that the number could drop to 600,000 voters. Skurnik based his forecasts on turnout for five prior competitive special elections. He defined competitive as “two or more candidates spending real money.”</p> <p>Other experts are less optimistic about civic engagement. If the unseasonal balminess New York recently experienced holds, turnout could hover around 600,000 voters, according to the projections of Bruce Gyory, a political consultant at Manatt and political science professor at University at Albany. But if the city suffers from another day of “subarctic conditions or a snowstorm or an ice storm,” then Gyory estimates a low end of 300,000 voters.</p> <p>The last time weather played such a major role in a special election, as Gyory recalled, was the 1978 race for what had been Herman Badillo’s seat in the U.S. Congress representing the 21st District in the South Bronx. “The week before the election there was a big snowstorm,” Gyory said, who was working on eventual winner Robert Garcia’s campaign. “We needed a bigger turnout to win so we were petrified.” Ultimately, more than 14,000 Bronxites voted, securing Garcia’s victory.</p> <p>In the current public advocate race, City Council Member Rafael Espinal’s campaign is looking to the 2013 public advocate Democratic primary runoff election between James and then-State Senator Daniel Squadron. Espinal, a Brooklyn Democrat, predicted a turnout between 230,000 to 700,000 voters. “I’m also factoring in the fact that we’ve had high turnout in the past primary and general,” Espinal said during a recent candidate forum at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. “New Yorkers are activated, there are people who usually wouldn’t vote in local elections, but because of what’s happening in Washington, are feeling they have a duty.”</p> <p>Another City Council member and public advocate candidate, Ydanis Rodríguez, estimated on the low end, predicting about 300,000 voters. “We don’t live in a democratic system where we really persuade people to go out and vote,” he lamented at the same event.</p> <p>Factors including media coverage and individual candidates’ ability to drum up excitement about their campaign will also influence turnout, Gyory said. But in an election with so little attention, small details that may not play into a typical election hold the potential to upend the race.</p> <p>Since the public advocate race is nonpartisan, meaning not for existing political parties, all the candidates will be on one ballot under self-created party names. As a result, Eric Ulrich may have an advantage as the only Republican elected official in a race with more than a dozen Democrats. And with no runoff, divvying up the city’s Democrats could potentially lead to a Republican victory despite the lopsided GOP enrollment disadvantage. While those party labels will not be on the ballot, each candidate, especially the elected officials, are attempting to secure their base plus as many other votes as possible. Ulrich’s goal is to coalesce as many Republicans and conservative and moderate Democrats as he can.</p> <p>The Queens Council member, who bills himself as a “Rockefeller Republican” and frequently calls his policies “socially liberal and fiscally conservative,” is hoping to garner support from voters seeking to rebuke de Blasio’s tenure, perhaps leading to a heightened motivation to turn out to vote. “This election is not going to be a referendum on Donald Trump, it’s going to be a referendum on Bill de Blasio,” he said <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8187-max-murphy-podcast-public-advocate-candidate-eric-ulrich">on the Max &amp; Murphy podcast</a> in January.</p> <p>With so many contenders in the field, some candidates view their path to victory as contingent on strong networks that stretch throughout the five boroughs. Michael Blake, a Bronx state Assembly member, is relying on a coalition of immigrants who identify with him as the son of Jamaican parents, colleagues in state government who have endorsed him, constituents in the Bronx, support from the United African Coalition, and connections from his time working for President Obama, among others.</p> <p>When asked about his voter turnout prediction at the Newmark School event, he refused to give an answer. “I’m not going to tell my strategy,” said Blake, who is also a political consultant. “I’m not going to say how I think I’m going to win with other candidates here.” When pressed by moderator and Newmark professor Errol Louis of NY1, and even by fellow candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito, to at least name a potential number of voters, he defiantly shook his head.</p> <p>Political endorsements could swing the vote in the race, not only by potentially determining the winner but also in broadly fostering excitement about the race and encouraging New Yorkers to head to the polls. How active clubs and labor unions and elected officials are in supporting their candidate of choice will influence turnout. How many clubs and unions and electeds sit the race out, making no endorsement, will also have an impact.</p> <p>Brooklyn City Council Member Jumaane Williams has racked up political endorsements from dozens of state and city politicians, labor unions, political clubs, and progressive organizations. He also benefits from momentum from his 2018 race for lieutenant governor, when he did well in the city, especially in Manhattan and Brooklyn, against incumbent Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, from western New York. In the other boroughs, he still stands to gain from name recognition, and this time he’s not competing against an incumbent, though he is facing a deep group of locally-based officials.</p> <p>The Working Families Party, which endorsed Williams after also backing him in last year’s primary, believes its base is galvanized and ready to show up to support him again. While they don’t have a voter turnout estimate, organizing director Ava Benezra said they’re sending 400,000 texts to likely voters. The New Kings Democrats are coordinating similar efforts for Williams as election day nears, according to vice president of organizing Sage Rockermann. And he recently won the endorsement of the Kings County Democrats, Brooklyn’s official arm of the Democratic party.</p> <p>Labor unions hold significant political clout in New York City, but their voter outreach efforts appear to be limited for this election, with some of the city’s largest unions perhaps choosing to sit it out as to not take a chance in an especially hard-to-predict race.</p> <p>Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has gained several endorsements from City Council members, Congressional Rep. Adriano Espaillat, a few Latino political organizations, women’s groups, and labor unions.</p> <p>Teamsters Local 801 endorsed Mark-Viverito for her efforts in helping upgrade sanitation workers’ facilities, especially for women. “I don’t forget people who are good to my workforce,” Local 801 president Harry Nespoli said. He is encouraging his staff to vote for Mark-Viverito and pledged to do “anything we can to help her,” but has not yet engaged in citywide voter turnout efforts.</p> <p>Meanwhile, one of New York City’s largest and most prominent unions, 1199 SEIU, decided against endorsing a candidate or facilitating voter outreach efforts. This comes as a surprise as Blake frequently notes his father’s membership in 1199SEIU in his stump speech and the union endorsed Blake for Assembly in the past, but at the same time, Mark-Viverito also has strong ties to the union. “There are a number of fierce healthcare advocates running for this important seat,” said president George Gresham. “We are confident that the public will select the best fit for the position.”</p> <p>Political clubs are endorsing and working on behalf of their selected candidates.</p> <p>Stonewall Democrats, which endorsed Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell, is “hitting the phones to support him and will continue to do so up until election day,” said club president Rod Townsend. “Having a special election in February is a different kind of animal than we’re used to. We’re hoping that our reach as a large citywide club will spread the word from Riverdale to the Rockaways and everywhere in between.”</p> <p>While the Lexington Democratic Club is canvassing and phone banking on behalf of Assemblymember Ron Kim, the Grand Street Democrats are also coordinating door-knocking and flyering campaigns to encourage New Yorkers to vote for their endorsed candidate: Benjamin Yee, a civic technologist and political operative.</p> <p>“With such a large field in this race and very little time to campaign,” said Grand Street Democrats president Jeremy Sherber, “the kind of personal connections clubs like ours can make will have an outsized impact on this special election.” The club does not yet have a turnout estimate, but plans to use past local special elections to gauge voter participation in the Lower East Side.</p> <p>Some hope that unconventional voter outreach efforts may lead to a surprising spike in voters following the immense boost in the September and November elections in New York. Generator Collective, an online community seeking to “humanize policy through storytelling,” has hosted several events with popular comedian Ilana Glazer – who has also promoted the race on Instagram to her 1 million followers – to inform young about the candidates and encourage them to vote.</p> <p>The election, open to all registered voters across the five boroughs, is Tuesday, February 26.</p> <p> </p> <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/29371579580_504746f976_z_2.jpg" alt="de blasio voting" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Around 200,000 to 700,000 voters are expected to show up to the polls for February 26 special election for New York City Public Advocate, according to political experts and candidates for the office. Though the election is certain to be a low turnout affair, just how low remains unclear, with turnout dependent upon how well the candidates are able to broadcast their messages and push people to the polls, how active labor unions and political clubs are, and other factors, including the weather on election day.</p> <p>The election for just one of three citywide positions asks voters to choose between more than a dozen candidates vying to become the city’s next ombudsperson, voice for the people, and watchdog over the rest of city government. Former public advocate Letitia James, who served in the role from 2014 through 2018, was elected Attorney General in November, triggering the first citywide special election since governmental restructuring in 1989.</p> <p>As of February, there were almost 5.2 million registered voters in New York City, <a href="https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/enrollment/county/county_feb19.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to</a> the state Board of Elections. Of that total, about 3.5 million are registered Democrats; 954,000 registered to vote but unaffiliated with a party; and 523,000 Republicans.</p> <p>A turnout of 500,000 voters for the Public Advocate special election would represent just over 10 percent of those 5.2 million registered voters.</p> <p>Several experts view weather as the strongest deciding factor in turnout.</p> <p>If the skies are clear, as many as 750,000 voters may head to the polls, according to Jerry Skurnik, a political consultant and founder of Prime New York. But if snow falls on the twenty-sixth, he estimates that the number could drop to 600,000 voters. Skurnik based his forecasts on turnout for five prior competitive special elections. He defined competitive as “two or more candidates spending real money.”</p> <p>Other experts are less optimistic about civic engagement. If the unseasonal balminess New York recently experienced holds, turnout could hover around 600,000 voters, according to the projections of Bruce Gyory, a political consultant at Manatt and political science professor at University at Albany. But if the city suffers from another day of “subarctic conditions or a snowstorm or an ice storm,” then Gyory estimates a low end of 300,000 voters.</p> <p>The last time weather played such a major role in a special election, as Gyory recalled, was the 1978 race for what had been Herman Badillo’s seat in the U.S. Congress representing the 21st District in the South Bronx. “The week before the election there was a big snowstorm,” Gyory said, who was working on eventual winner Robert Garcia’s campaign. “We needed a bigger turnout to win so we were petrified.” Ultimately, more than 14,000 Bronxites voted, securing Garcia’s victory.</p> <p>In the current public advocate race, City Council Member Rafael Espinal’s campaign is looking to the 2013 public advocate Democratic primary runoff election between James and then-State Senator Daniel Squadron. Espinal, a Brooklyn Democrat, predicted a turnout between 230,000 to 700,000 voters. “I’m also factoring in the fact that we’ve had high turnout in the past primary and general,” Espinal said during a recent candidate forum at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. “New Yorkers are activated, there are people who usually wouldn’t vote in local elections, but because of what’s happening in Washington, are feeling they have a duty.”</p> <p>Another City Council member and public advocate candidate, Ydanis Rodríguez, estimated on the low end, predicting about 300,000 voters. “We don’t live in a democratic system where we really persuade people to go out and vote,” he lamented at the same event.</p> <p>Factors including media coverage and individual candidates’ ability to drum up excitement about their campaign will also influence turnout, Gyory said. But in an election with so little attention, small details that may not play into a typical election hold the potential to upend the race.</p> <p>Since the public advocate race is nonpartisan, meaning not for existing political parties, all the candidates will be on one ballot under self-created party names. As a result, Eric Ulrich may have an advantage as the only Republican elected official in a race with more than a dozen Democrats. And with no runoff, divvying up the city’s Democrats could potentially lead to a Republican victory despite the lopsided GOP enrollment disadvantage. While those party labels will not be on the ballot, each candidate, especially the elected officials, are attempting to secure their base plus as many other votes as possible. Ulrich’s goal is to coalesce as many Republicans and conservative and moderate Democrats as he can.</p> <p>The Queens Council member, who bills himself as a “Rockefeller Republican” and frequently calls his policies “socially liberal and fiscally conservative,” is hoping to garner support from voters seeking to rebuke de Blasio’s tenure, perhaps leading to a heightened motivation to turn out to vote. “This election is not going to be a referendum on Donald Trump, it’s going to be a referendum on Bill de Blasio,” he said <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8187-max-murphy-podcast-public-advocate-candidate-eric-ulrich">on the Max &amp; Murphy podcast</a> in January.</p> <p>With so many contenders in the field, some candidates view their path to victory as contingent on strong networks that stretch throughout the five boroughs. Michael Blake, a Bronx state Assembly member, is relying on a coalition of immigrants who identify with him as the son of Jamaican parents, colleagues in state government who have endorsed him, constituents in the Bronx, support from the United African Coalition, and connections from his time working for President Obama, among others.</p> <p>When asked about his voter turnout prediction at the Newmark School event, he refused to give an answer. “I’m not going to tell my strategy,” said Blake, who is also a political consultant. “I’m not going to say how I think I’m going to win with other candidates here.” When pressed by moderator and Newmark professor Errol Louis of NY1, and even by fellow candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito, to at least name a potential number of voters, he defiantly shook his head.</p> <p>Political endorsements could swing the vote in the race, not only by potentially determining the winner but also in broadly fostering excitement about the race and encouraging New Yorkers to head to the polls. How active clubs and labor unions and elected officials are in supporting their candidate of choice will influence turnout. How many clubs and unions and electeds sit the race out, making no endorsement, will also have an impact.</p> <p>Brooklyn City Council Member Jumaane Williams has racked up political endorsements from dozens of state and city politicians, labor unions, political clubs, and progressive organizations. He also benefits from momentum from his 2018 race for lieutenant governor, when he did well in the city, especially in Manhattan and Brooklyn, against incumbent Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, from western New York. In the other boroughs, he still stands to gain from name recognition, and this time he’s not competing against an incumbent, though he is facing a deep group of locally-based officials.</p> <p>The Working Families Party, which endorsed Williams after also backing him in last year’s primary, believes its base is galvanized and ready to show up to support him again. While they don’t have a voter turnout estimate, organizing director Ava Benezra said they’re sending 400,000 texts to likely voters. The New Kings Democrats are coordinating similar efforts for Williams as election day nears, according to vice president of organizing Sage Rockermann. And he recently won the endorsement of the Kings County Democrats, Brooklyn’s official arm of the Democratic party.</p> <p>Labor unions hold significant political clout in New York City, but their voter outreach efforts appear to be limited for this election, with some of the city’s largest unions perhaps choosing to sit it out as to not take a chance in an especially hard-to-predict race.</p> <p>Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has gained several endorsements from City Council members, Congressional Rep. Adriano Espaillat, a few Latino political organizations, women’s groups, and labor unions.</p> <p>Teamsters Local 801 endorsed Mark-Viverito for her efforts in helping upgrade sanitation workers’ facilities, especially for women. “I don’t forget people who are good to my workforce,” Local 801 president Harry Nespoli said. He is encouraging his staff to vote for Mark-Viverito and pledged to do “anything we can to help her,” but has not yet engaged in citywide voter turnout efforts.</p> <p>Meanwhile, one of New York City’s largest and most prominent unions, 1199 SEIU, decided against endorsing a candidate or facilitating voter outreach efforts. This comes as a surprise as Blake frequently notes his father’s membership in 1199SEIU in his stump speech and the union endorsed Blake for Assembly in the past, but at the same time, Mark-Viverito also has strong ties to the union. “There are a number of fierce healthcare advocates running for this important seat,” said president George Gresham. “We are confident that the public will select the best fit for the position.”</p> <p>Political clubs are endorsing and working on behalf of their selected candidates.</p> <p>Stonewall Democrats, which endorsed Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell, is “hitting the phones to support him and will continue to do so up until election day,” said club president Rod Townsend. “Having a special election in February is a different kind of animal than we’re used to. We’re hoping that our reach as a large citywide club will spread the word from Riverdale to the Rockaways and everywhere in between.”</p> <p>While the Lexington Democratic Club is canvassing and phone banking on behalf of Assemblymember Ron Kim, the Grand Street Democrats are also coordinating door-knocking and flyering campaigns to encourage New Yorkers to vote for their endorsed candidate: Benjamin Yee, a civic technologist and political operative.</p> <p>“With such a large field in this race and very little time to campaign,” said Grand Street Democrats president Jeremy Sherber, “the kind of personal connections clubs like ours can make will have an outsized impact on this special election.” The club does not yet have a turnout estimate, but plans to use past local special elections to gauge voter participation in the Lower East Side.</p> <p>Some hope that unconventional voter outreach efforts may lead to a surprising spike in voters following the immense boost in the September and November elections in New York. Generator Collective, an online community seeking to “humanize policy through storytelling,” has hosted several events with popular comedian Ilana Glazer – who has also promoted the race on Instagram to her 1 million followers – to inform young about the candidates and encourage them to vote.</p> <p>The election, open to all registered voters across the five boroughs, is Tuesday, February 26.</p> <p> </p> Surging Democratic Voter Turnout in New York City May Mean Greater Importance in State Elections 2018-09-19T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-19T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/7943-surging-democratic-voter-turnout-in-new-york-city-may-mean-greater-importance-in-state-elections Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/maybloomberg-73-special.jpg" alt="maybloomberg 73 special" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Mayor's Office/Kristen Artz)</p> <hr /> <p>There was an extraordinary turnout in New York City in the just-completed statewide Democratic primaries on Thursday, September 13. In the city alone, 855,000 Democrats came to the polls. That vote substantially exceeded the crowded and competitive 2013 Democratic mayoral primary (690,000), was nearly triple the city’s turnout in the 2014 Cuomo-Teachout primary (298,000), and came somewhat close to matching the Clinton-Sanders turnout in New York City of practically 1 million Democrats (996,000).</p> <p>The good news about increasing voter participation may also foretell change in the dynamics of statewide elections. Democratic turnout in New York City was 57.3% of the statewide turnout of 1.49 million, a higher share than the geographic turnout model being used in two Siena Research Institute polls on the primary in July and September 2018, each of which assumed New York City’s share of statewide turnout would be 50%.</p> <p>You might say ‘who cares about a bunch of polls?’, but polls are based on turnout from past elections, and those turnout models are also what candidates and campaigns use to allocate their time, energy, money, and resources. And, polls are frequently covered by the news media. If turnout in New York City is rising, campaigns must spend more money and time and volunteer effort there, and candidates’ positions must strongly appeal to residents of the nation’s largest city.</p> <p>Turnout in the rest of the state also differed from the Siena Poll models. The final September poll modeled the turnout at 50% New York City, 13% suburbs, and 38% upstate. The actual results were 57% New York City, 18% suburbs, and 25% upstate. The number of Democrats outside New York City that came out to vote also rose substantially from 2014, more than doubling from 276,000 to 635,000, meaning there was far broader interest in the election this year across the entire state than in 2014. Cuomo won two-to-one in New York City, three-to-one in the suburbs, and 57-43% upstate.</p> <p>While New York City had big increases in raw numbers and an increased share of the statewide primary vote, the real test of the city’s importance in statewide elections will now come in the general election. In the past three gubernatorial, off-presidential year elections -- 2006, 2010, and 2014 -- the city’s share of the statewide vote has been dismal.</p> <p>Despite being 43% of the state’s population, the city’s share of the statewide vote in the past three general elections where the election for Governor was the top of the ticket has not reached 30%. In 2014, the city was 1 million of 3.8 million votes, a mere 26.5% of the vote. In 2010, when Governor Cuomo was first elected to the position, the city was 29% of 4.6 million votes. In 2006, when Eliot Spitzer won handily, the city was 28% of 4.4 million votes.</p> <p>The question now becomes, was the surge in turnout in the city a one-off due to a few unique circumstances, or will it be sustainable because of a more engaged Democratic constituency in the age of Donald Trump?</p> <p>[Read more: <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7936-a-closer-look-at-democratic-primary-turnout-margins-and-geography" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Closer Look at Democratic Primary Turnout, Margins &amp; Geography</a>]</p> <p>

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Jim Brennan was a member of the New York State Assembly for 32 years, where he chaired four committees. On Twitter @JimBrennanNY.

 

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/maybloomberg-73-special.jpg" alt="maybloomberg 73 special" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Mayor's Office/Kristen Artz)</p> <hr /> <p>There was an extraordinary turnout in New York City in the just-completed statewide Democratic primaries on Thursday, September 13. In the city alone, 855,000 Democrats came to the polls. That vote substantially exceeded the crowded and competitive 2013 Democratic mayoral primary (690,000), was nearly triple the city’s turnout in the 2014 Cuomo-Teachout primary (298,000), and came somewhat close to matching the Clinton-Sanders turnout in New York City of practically 1 million Democrats (996,000).</p> <p>The good news about increasing voter participation may also foretell change in the dynamics of statewide elections. Democratic turnout in New York City was 57.3% of the statewide turnout of 1.49 million, a higher share than the geographic turnout model being used in two Siena Research Institute polls on the primary in July and September 2018, each of which assumed New York City’s share of statewide turnout would be 50%.</p> <p>You might say ‘who cares about a bunch of polls?’, but polls are based on turnout from past elections, and those turnout models are also what candidates and campaigns use to allocate their time, energy, money, and resources. And, polls are frequently covered by the news media. If turnout in New York City is rising, campaigns must spend more money and time and volunteer effort there, and candidates’ positions must strongly appeal to residents of the nation’s largest city.</p> <p>Turnout in the rest of the state also differed from the Siena Poll models. The final September poll modeled the turnout at 50% New York City, 13% suburbs, and 38% upstate. The actual results were 57% New York City, 18% suburbs, and 25% upstate. The number of Democrats outside New York City that came out to vote also rose substantially from 2014, more than doubling from 276,000 to 635,000, meaning there was far broader interest in the election this year across the entire state than in 2014. Cuomo won two-to-one in New York City, three-to-one in the suburbs, and 57-43% upstate.</p> <p>While New York City had big increases in raw numbers and an increased share of the statewide primary vote, the real test of the city’s importance in statewide elections will now come in the general election. In the past three gubernatorial, off-presidential year elections -- 2006, 2010, and 2014 -- the city’s share of the statewide vote has been dismal.</p> <p>Despite being 43% of the state’s population, the city’s share of the statewide vote in the past three general elections where the election for Governor was the top of the ticket has not reached 30%. In 2014, the city was 1 million of 3.8 million votes, a mere 26.5% of the vote. In 2010, when Governor Cuomo was first elected to the position, the city was 29% of 4.6 million votes. In 2006, when Eliot Spitzer won handily, the city was 28% of 4.4 million votes.</p> <p>The question now becomes, was the surge in turnout in the city a one-off due to a few unique circumstances, or will it be sustainable because of a more engaged Democratic constituency in the age of Donald Trump?</p> <p>[Read more: <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7936-a-closer-look-at-democratic-primary-turnout-margins-and-geography" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Closer Look at Democratic Primary Turnout, Margins &amp; Geography</a>]</p> <p>

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Jim Brennan was a member of the New York State Assembly for 32 years, where he chaired four committees. On Twitter @JimBrennanNY.

 

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
It’s Not Too Late to Start Paying Attention to the City Elections - Here’s How 2017-10-15T04:00:00+00:00 2017-10-15T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7253-it-s-not-too-late-to-start-paying-attention-to-the-city-elections-here-s-how Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/reset_1/17358963_1632433823439083_8347528747947462769_o.jpg" alt="NYC Votes voters New York City" width="600" height="600" /></p> <p>(image: NYC Votes)</p> <hr /> <p>If you’re one of many New Yorkers who have not been paying much attention to this year’s city elections, don’t worry, there’s still time to get up to speed and make informed decisions on Election Day, November 7.</p> <p>Tuesday, October 24, marked two weeks until that opportunity to vote, and after only about 14% of registered Democrats went to the polls in the September mayoral primary, it would be good for the city’s civic health if more voters cast ballots in November. (About 24% of city voters cast ballots in the last mayoral general election, in November 2013.)</p> <p>Voter turnout and election results send significant messages to our elected officials, and also to the candidates who come up short. Campaigns, consultants, candidates, and elected officials -- whether the mayor or your borough president, local City Council member or others -- know who votes and often pay attention to what voters think. Campaigns target and listen to people who have voted in the past. (One way to guarantee that your interests, preferences, and beliefs are not paid attention to is to continue not paying attention to city politics.)</p> <p>Even if you don’t have much time to dedicate to studying up, three weeks is still enough to get to know more about the candidates running for those city positions being elected this year, as well as the three questions that will be on the back of the ballot. This is direct democracy in action, and those who participate help keep our political leaders accountable, while also helping decide the direction the city heads for years to come.</p> <p>Local elected officials have many powers that directly influence everyday life, the way city services run, and the future of the city. City Council members are the local-most elected official and exist to represent you and your neighborhood -- on everything from street safety to school quality to small business policy to garbage pick-up to oversight of the NYPD, and much, much more. Along with every seat in the 51-member City Council, also on the ballot in November are the three citywide positions of Mayor, Comptroller, and Public Advocate, each Borough President position, several judicial posts, and the District Attorneys of Brooklyn and Manhattan.</p> <p>Then, <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7108-there-will-be-three-big-questions-on-your-ballot-in-november" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">there are the three ballot questions</a> that each allow for a “yes” or “no” answer. Voters get to help decide whether 1) New York will hold a state constitutional convention, 2) corrupt politicians lose their pensions, and 3) small amounts of preserved upstate land can be used for vital infrastructure projects and be replaced by other new land.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there isn’t that much competition on the ballot, largely the case because it is the general election in a city home to many, many more Democrats than Republicans or members of other parties. After Democrats, the second largest group of registered voters in New York City is actually those who do not belong to any political party, and Republicans are the third largest group. Democratic primaries are often where the most action is -- something to keep in mind for the future. [<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Here’s a full list of candidates</a> for all the city government posts on the ballot in November.]</p> <p>But for now, it is October, and you will have several choices to make if you choose to vote next month. There is competition for each of the three citywide positions, and plenty to brush up on with the candidates for those posts. For each, a Democratic incumbent is seeking a second term.</p> <p>There is also some competition for most of the other positions, though in many City Council races, the Democratic nominee is facing only nominal opposition. Still, it is important to look into the candidates and vote, helping to send a message, whether you are behind the eventual winner or not. Even incumbent City Council who win reelection pay attention to their vote totals and win margin, noticing if they have more work to do to win over constituents. Broadly speaking, there are <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7217-10-races-more-to-watch-in-the-general-election" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">about ten City Council races</a> that are especially worth paying attention to, but all that really matters for most voters is who is running in your district.</p> <p>If you want to start paying attention to this city election cycle, here are a few ways to get started:</p> <p>-<a href="https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Check your voter registration status</a>. If you’re not registered to vote it is now too late to register to vote this November (but you should still register and get to know what’s happening this year, then get ready to vote in state level elections in 2018.)</p> <p>-Start researching the candidates for Mayor. There are seven: Democrat Bill de Blasio, Republican Nicole Malliotakis, independent Bo Dietl, Reform Party nominee Sal Albanese, Green Party nominee Akeem Browder, Libertarian Party nominee Aaron Commey, and independent Michael Tolkin.</p> <p>-Mark your calendar for Wednesday, November 1, which will be the second of two mayoral candidate debates. It is not yet clear which candidates beyond de Blasio and Malliotakis will be on the stage. It will be broadcast at 7 p.m. that night on CBS television.</p> <p>(You can catch up on the first debate by reading <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7242-de-blasio-malliotakis-dietl-engage-in-raucous-mayoral-debate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">our recap here</a>, listening to <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7243-max-murphy-analyzing-the-first-general-election-mayoral-debate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">this recap and analysis from our podcast</a>, or watching <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/2017-debate-program-moderators-and-panelists/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the full debate</a>.)</p> <p>-Listen to <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/podcasts/max-murphy-on-politics" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">other recent and past episodes of our election year podcast</a>; which includes conversations with several mayoral candidates, both major party public advocate candidates, the Republican comptroller candidate, and others.</p> <p>-The lone Public Advocate debate between Democrat Letitia James and Republican J.C. Polanco took place on October 16 -- you can <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/2017-debate-program-moderators-and-panelists/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">watch it here</a>, or read <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7256-public-advocate-debate-shows-stark-differences-between-james-and-polanco" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">our recap here</a>. (<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller">There are other Public Advocate candidates running.</a>)</p> <p>-The lone Comptroller debate between Democrat Scott Stringer and Republican Michel Faulkner took place on October 17 -- you can <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/2017-debate-program-moderators-and-panelists/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">watch it here</a>, or read <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7260-comptroller-debate-focuses-on-stringer-s-record" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">our recap here</a>. (<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller">There are other Comptroller candidates running.</a>)</p> <p>-Listen to <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7259-max-murphy-podcast-analyzing-the-public-advocate-comptroller-debates" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">our podcast episode</a> recapping the Public Advocate and Comptroller debates and discussing the latest in the mayoral race, with Brigid Bergin of WNYC radio, from October 18.</p> <p>-Poke around <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/vgwelcome/general-election-2017/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the NYC Votes website</a> to view the candidate video statements from various candidates, including those who are running in your City Council district and those running to be your Borough President (you can punch your address in at the NYC Votes website to get a narrowed scope of who will be on your ballot). NYC Votes is the nonpartisan voter education and outreach arm of the city’s Campaign Finance Board, which oversees campaign finances and helps run the debates.</p> <p>-Take <a href="http://nycvotes.nyccfb.info/top_issue_survey?utm_campaign=sept29_funfri&amp;utm_campaign=oct13_ffsurvey1&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=nycvotes&amp;utm_source=nycvotes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">this NYC Votes survey</a> and sign up for updates.</p> <p>-Read up on the three ballot questions <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7108-there-will-be-three-big-questions-on-your-ballot-in-november" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">from Gotham Gazette</a> and/or <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/vgwelcome/general-election-2017/ballot-proposals/?languageType=English" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">from NYC Votes</a>.</p> <p>-As much as you can and want to, start reading regular coverage of the campaigns and city politics, in Gotham Gazette and other news outlets. Watch NY1, listen to WNYC radio.</p> <p>-Mark your calendar for November 7, Election Day, and make a voting plan.</p> <p>-<a href="https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/Search.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Check your polling site</a> to see where you go to vote on November 7.</p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/reset_1/17358963_1632433823439083_8347528747947462769_o.jpg" alt="NYC Votes voters New York City" width="600" height="600" /></p> <p>(image: NYC Votes)</p> <hr /> <p>If you’re one of many New Yorkers who have not been paying much attention to this year’s city elections, don’t worry, there’s still time to get up to speed and make informed decisions on Election Day, November 7.</p> <p>Tuesday, October 24, marked two weeks until that opportunity to vote, and after only about 14% of registered Democrats went to the polls in the September mayoral primary, it would be good for the city’s civic health if more voters cast ballots in November. (About 24% of city voters cast ballots in the last mayoral general election, in November 2013.)</p> <p>Voter turnout and election results send significant messages to our elected officials, and also to the candidates who come up short. Campaigns, consultants, candidates, and elected officials -- whether the mayor or your borough president, local City Council member or others -- know who votes and often pay attention to what voters think. Campaigns target and listen to people who have voted in the past. (One way to guarantee that your interests, preferences, and beliefs are not paid attention to is to continue not paying attention to city politics.)</p> <p>Even if you don’t have much time to dedicate to studying up, three weeks is still enough to get to know more about the candidates running for those city positions being elected this year, as well as the three questions that will be on the back of the ballot. This is direct democracy in action, and those who participate help keep our political leaders accountable, while also helping decide the direction the city heads for years to come.</p> <p>Local elected officials have many powers that directly influence everyday life, the way city services run, and the future of the city. City Council members are the local-most elected official and exist to represent you and your neighborhood -- on everything from street safety to school quality to small business policy to garbage pick-up to oversight of the NYPD, and much, much more. Along with every seat in the 51-member City Council, also on the ballot in November are the three citywide positions of Mayor, Comptroller, and Public Advocate, each Borough President position, several judicial posts, and the District Attorneys of Brooklyn and Manhattan.</p> <p>Then, <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7108-there-will-be-three-big-questions-on-your-ballot-in-november" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">there are the three ballot questions</a> that each allow for a “yes” or “no” answer. Voters get to help decide whether 1) New York will hold a state constitutional convention, 2) corrupt politicians lose their pensions, and 3) small amounts of preserved upstate land can be used for vital infrastructure projects and be replaced by other new land.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there isn’t that much competition on the ballot, largely the case because it is the general election in a city home to many, many more Democrats than Republicans or members of other parties. After Democrats, the second largest group of registered voters in New York City is actually those who do not belong to any political party, and Republicans are the third largest group. Democratic primaries are often where the most action is -- something to keep in mind for the future. [<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Here’s a full list of candidates</a> for all the city government posts on the ballot in November.]</p> <p>But for now, it is October, and you will have several choices to make if you choose to vote next month. There is competition for each of the three citywide positions, and plenty to brush up on with the candidates for those posts. For each, a Democratic incumbent is seeking a second term.</p> <p>There is also some competition for most of the other positions, though in many City Council races, the Democratic nominee is facing only nominal opposition. Still, it is important to look into the candidates and vote, helping to send a message, whether you are behind the eventual winner or not. Even incumbent City Council who win reelection pay attention to their vote totals and win margin, noticing if they have more work to do to win over constituents. Broadly speaking, there are <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7217-10-races-more-to-watch-in-the-general-election" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">about ten City Council races</a> that are especially worth paying attention to, but all that really matters for most voters is who is running in your district.</p> <p>If you want to start paying attention to this city election cycle, here are a few ways to get started:</p> <p>-<a href="https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Check your voter registration status</a>. If you’re not registered to vote it is now too late to register to vote this November (but you should still register and get to know what’s happening this year, then get ready to vote in state level elections in 2018.)</p> <p>-Start researching the candidates for Mayor. There are seven: Democrat Bill de Blasio, Republican Nicole Malliotakis, independent Bo Dietl, Reform Party nominee Sal Albanese, Green Party nominee Akeem Browder, Libertarian Party nominee Aaron Commey, and independent Michael Tolkin.</p> <p>-Mark your calendar for Wednesday, November 1, which will be the second of two mayoral candidate debates. It is not yet clear which candidates beyond de Blasio and Malliotakis will be on the stage. It will be broadcast at 7 p.m. that night on CBS television.</p> <p>(You can catch up on the first debate by reading <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7242-de-blasio-malliotakis-dietl-engage-in-raucous-mayoral-debate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">our recap here</a>, listening to <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7243-max-murphy-analyzing-the-first-general-election-mayoral-debate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">this recap and analysis from our podcast</a>, or watching <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/2017-debate-program-moderators-and-panelists/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the full debate</a>.)</p> <p>-Listen to <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/podcasts/max-murphy-on-politics" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">other recent and past episodes of our election year podcast</a>; which includes conversations with several mayoral candidates, both major party public advocate candidates, the Republican comptroller candidate, and others.</p> <p>-The lone Public Advocate debate between Democrat Letitia James and Republican J.C. Polanco took place on October 16 -- you can <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/2017-debate-program-moderators-and-panelists/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">watch it here</a>, or read <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7256-public-advocate-debate-shows-stark-differences-between-james-and-polanco" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">our recap here</a>. (<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller">There are other Public Advocate candidates running.</a>)</p> <p>-The lone Comptroller debate between Democrat Scott Stringer and Republican Michel Faulkner took place on October 17 -- you can <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/2017-debate-program-moderators-and-panelists/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">watch it here</a>, or read <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7260-comptroller-debate-focuses-on-stringer-s-record" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">our recap here</a>. (<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller">There are other Comptroller candidates running.</a>)</p> <p>-Listen to <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7259-max-murphy-podcast-analyzing-the-public-advocate-comptroller-debates" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">our podcast episode</a> recapping the Public Advocate and Comptroller debates and discussing the latest in the mayoral race, with Brigid Bergin of WNYC radio, from October 18.</p> <p>-Poke around <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/vgwelcome/general-election-2017/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the NYC Votes website</a> to view the candidate video statements from various candidates, including those who are running in your City Council district and those running to be your Borough President (you can punch your address in at the NYC Votes website to get a narrowed scope of who will be on your ballot). NYC Votes is the nonpartisan voter education and outreach arm of the city’s Campaign Finance Board, which oversees campaign finances and helps run the debates.</p> <p>-Take <a href="http://nycvotes.nyccfb.info/top_issue_survey?utm_campaign=sept29_funfri&amp;utm_campaign=oct13_ffsurvey1&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=nycvotes&amp;utm_source=nycvotes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">this NYC Votes survey</a> and sign up for updates.</p> <p>-Read up on the three ballot questions <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7108-there-will-be-three-big-questions-on-your-ballot-in-november" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">from Gotham Gazette</a> and/or <a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/vgwelcome/general-election-2017/ballot-proposals/?languageType=English" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">from NYC Votes</a>.</p> <p>-As much as you can and want to, start reading regular coverage of the campaigns and city politics, in Gotham Gazette and other news outlets. Watch NY1, listen to WNYC radio.</p> <p>-Mark your calendar for November 7, Election Day, and make a voting plan.</p> <p>-<a href="https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/Search.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Check your polling site</a> to see where you go to vote on November 7.</p> <p>

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
You Can Help Boost Voter Turnout on Election Day, But You Have to Register Soon 2017-10-05T04:00:00+00:00 2017-10-05T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7237-you-can-help-boost-voter-turnout-on-election-day-but-you-have-to-register-soon Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/reset_1/30237613934_e09b7565df_z.jpg" alt="voting booth elections " width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>(Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>In order to vote in the city’s November 7 general election -- for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President City Council, and other offices -- <a href="https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingDeadlines.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one must register with the Board of Elections</a> by Friday, October 13. For registrations by mail, registration forms must be postmarked by October 13 and received by the BOE by Wednesday, October 18. This is only for New York City residents who are not currently registered to vote.</p> <p>Since party primaries are over, prospective voters are no longer being held to party registration deadlines and regulations -- New York has a closed primary system, with party-change deadlines far in advance. To vote in November’s election, one must simply be registered, with any party or none -- those registered to vote but not with one of about 10 official political parties are called “unaffiliated” voters. They are also at times referred to as “independents” or even “blanks” because of how they leave the party registration section of the form.</p> <p>It appears that many New Yorkers have registered with the Independence Party thinking that it makes them an “independent” voter, but that is not the case.</p> <p>Notably, though, Friday, October 13 -- of this year, 2017 -- is also the deadline to change your party registration ahead of next year's 2018 state-level electoral primaries in New York. If you're already registered to vote, you can declare a party or change parties by October 13 and be eligible for voting in Democratic, Republican, or other party primaries next fall.</p> <p>Turnout on this Election Day is expected to be very low, with Mayor Bill de Blasio appearing likely to trounce his main opponents, Republican Nicole Malliotakis and independent Bo Dietl, as well as other minor candidates, including Reform Party nominee Sal Albanese, Green Party nominee Akeem Browder, and Michael Tolkin, running on his self-created Smart Cities ballot line.</p> <p>In 2013, the turnout in the general election between de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota was a meager <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/news/election-2013/2013/11/06/new-york-turnout-appears-headed-for-record-low/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">24%, the lowest in the city’s modern history</a>. The 24% turnout in the general came after the Democratic and Republican primaries clocked in at <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/13/nyregion/20-turnout-in-new-york-primaries.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">22% and 12%</a>, respectively.</p> <p>In this year’s Democratic primary on September 12, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/de-blasio-set-win-low-turnout-democratic-mayoral-primary-article-1.3489468" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">14%</a> of registered Democrats turned out to cast ballots. This is one of the lowest Democratic primary turnouts in the city’s history; in 2009, Bill Thompson won the Democratic mayoral primary with turnout of 11%.</p> <p>This starkly low turnout in the Democratic primary comes in the wake of <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7036-8-new-report-shows-shockingly-low-voter-turnout-in-nyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">even lower turnout</a> numbers in last year’s primaries for state and federal legislative offices. In the September 2016 state legislative primary, turnout totaled 10%; in June’s congressional primary, turnout stood at a measly 8%, according to a <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/documents/boe/AnnualReports/BOEAnnualReport16.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">report</a> from the City’s Board of Elections.</p> <p>These numbers stood in sharp contrast to the turnout rates for the higher profile presidential contest that year: 35% of registered party members voted in April’s presidential primary, and 62% of registered voters in New York City voted in the November general election, with Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump at the top of the marquee.</p> <p>As of April 1 in New York City, there were just under 5 million registered voters. Of these, about 3.43 million were Democrats, about 522,600 were Republicans, and about 880,660 were unaffiliated with a party. Many thousands more were spread among the smaller parties, including Green, Reform, Independence, Conservative, and Working Families.</p> <p><a href="http://maristpoll.marist.edu/919-nyc-mayors-race-de-blasio-leads-malliotakis-by-47-points-mayors-approval-rating-highest-in-two-years/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A recent poll</a> for this year’s mayoral race from NBC-4 and Marist College shows de Blasio leading the pack with 65% of the vote, followed by Malliotakis at 18% and Dietl at 8%. While there are several weeks to Election Day, competitors must catch fire soon to have a chance to unseat the Democratic incumbent. The first debate -- with de Blasio, Malliotakis and Dietl -- is scheduled for Tuesday, October 10.</p> <p>New Yorkers can check their registration status <a href="https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>, check registration deadlines <a href="https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingDeadlines.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>, and see a full list of candidates for all offices in the general election <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.</p> <p>

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by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/reset_1/30237613934_e09b7565df_z.jpg" alt="voting booth elections " width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>(Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>In order to vote in the city’s November 7 general election -- for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President City Council, and other offices -- <a href="https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingDeadlines.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one must register with the Board of Elections</a> by Friday, October 13. For registrations by mail, registration forms must be postmarked by October 13 and received by the BOE by Wednesday, October 18. This is only for New York City residents who are not currently registered to vote.</p> <p>Since party primaries are over, prospective voters are no longer being held to party registration deadlines and regulations -- New York has a closed primary system, with party-change deadlines far in advance. To vote in November’s election, one must simply be registered, with any party or none -- those registered to vote but not with one of about 10 official political parties are called “unaffiliated” voters. They are also at times referred to as “independents” or even “blanks” because of how they leave the party registration section of the form.</p> <p>It appears that many New Yorkers have registered with the Independence Party thinking that it makes them an “independent” voter, but that is not the case.</p> <p>Notably, though, Friday, October 13 -- of this year, 2017 -- is also the deadline to change your party registration ahead of next year's 2018 state-level electoral primaries in New York. If you're already registered to vote, you can declare a party or change parties by October 13 and be eligible for voting in Democratic, Republican, or other party primaries next fall.</p> <p>Turnout on this Election Day is expected to be very low, with Mayor Bill de Blasio appearing likely to trounce his main opponents, Republican Nicole Malliotakis and independent Bo Dietl, as well as other minor candidates, including Reform Party nominee Sal Albanese, Green Party nominee Akeem Browder, and Michael Tolkin, running on his self-created Smart Cities ballot line.</p> <p>In 2013, the turnout in the general election between de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota was a meager <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/news/election-2013/2013/11/06/new-york-turnout-appears-headed-for-record-low/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">24%, the lowest in the city’s modern history</a>. The 24% turnout in the general came after the Democratic and Republican primaries clocked in at <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/13/nyregion/20-turnout-in-new-york-primaries.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">22% and 12%</a>, respectively.</p> <p>In this year’s Democratic primary on September 12, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/de-blasio-set-win-low-turnout-democratic-mayoral-primary-article-1.3489468" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">14%</a> of registered Democrats turned out to cast ballots. This is one of the lowest Democratic primary turnouts in the city’s history; in 2009, Bill Thompson won the Democratic mayoral primary with turnout of 11%.</p> <p>This starkly low turnout in the Democratic primary comes in the wake of <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7036-8-new-report-shows-shockingly-low-voter-turnout-in-nyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">even lower turnout</a> numbers in last year’s primaries for state and federal legislative offices. In the September 2016 state legislative primary, turnout totaled 10%; in June’s congressional primary, turnout stood at a measly 8%, according to a <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/documents/boe/AnnualReports/BOEAnnualReport16.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">report</a> from the City’s Board of Elections.</p> <p>These numbers stood in sharp contrast to the turnout rates for the higher profile presidential contest that year: 35% of registered party members voted in April’s presidential primary, and 62% of registered voters in New York City voted in the November general election, with Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump at the top of the marquee.</p> <p>As of April 1 in New York City, there were just under 5 million registered voters. Of these, about 3.43 million were Democrats, about 522,600 were Republicans, and about 880,660 were unaffiliated with a party. Many thousands more were spread among the smaller parties, including Green, Reform, Independence, Conservative, and Working Families.</p> <p><a href="http://maristpoll.marist.edu/919-nyc-mayors-race-de-blasio-leads-malliotakis-by-47-points-mayors-approval-rating-highest-in-two-years/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A recent poll</a> for this year’s mayoral race from NBC-4 and Marist College shows de Blasio leading the pack with 65% of the vote, followed by Malliotakis at 18% and Dietl at 8%. While there are several weeks to Election Day, competitors must catch fire soon to have a chance to unseat the Democratic incumbent. The first debate -- with de Blasio, Malliotakis and Dietl -- is scheduled for Tuesday, October 10.</p> <p>New Yorkers can check their registration status <a href="https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>, check registration deadlines <a href="https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingDeadlines.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>, and see a full list of candidates for all offices in the general election <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6676-candidates-for-2017-city-elections-mayor-city-council-comptroller" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.</p> <p>

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by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
2013 Voter Turnout Numbers Help Preview 2017 Primaries 2017-09-11T04:00:00+00:00 2017-09-11T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7188-2013-voter-turnout-numbers-help-preview-the-2017-primaries Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/32985704776_33ebe4d22e_z.jpg" alt="de Blasio voting" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City voters head to the polls Tuesday in this year’s party primary elections, mostly contests among competing Democrats. It is expected to be another low turnout election. Four years ago, only about 691,000 of the city’s 3.4 million (20%) registered Democrats voted in a high-profile, exciting, and hugely consequential mayoral primary with no incumbent in the race. Bill de Blasio won that primary and went on to cruise in the general election, which also saw terribly low voter turnout.</p> <p>In 2013, there were also open seats for the other citywide positions of Comptroller and Public Advocate, with highly-competitive Democratic primaries in each, and many open seats for Borough President and City Council positions. If all that competition couldn’t drive much turnout, this year could see an especially shockingly low number of voters cast ballots.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio is expected to win reelection handily this year and is facing limited competition in the Democratic mayoral primary, though his main challenger, former City Council Member Sal Albanese has expressed optimism, citing a lack of enthusiasm for de Blasio. There are far fewer “open” City Council and other seats this cycle, with many incumbents gliding to reelection, some with nominal primary competition and some with none at all. In this heavily Democratic city, the Democratic Party primary is often the main event in terms of who wins an election.</p> <p>As of April 1, the city was home to just under 5 million registered voters: 3.43 million Democrats; 880,660 unaffiliated with a party; 522,629 Republicans; and a few hundred thousand with other smaller parties.</p> <p>There are about 20 races of particular interest on primary day, including the Democratic mayoral primary, if for nothing else to see what margin de Blasio can post; a very competitive Brooklyn District Attorney primary; the 10 “open” City Council seats; and another eight to ten Council races where the incumbent is facing a tough primary challenge.</p> <p>As we look ahead to the outcomes, a look back at 2013 can be helpful.</p> <p>In the end, elections are all about votes, and which candidates turn out their supporters or win the votes of those turning out because they always vote or they are motivated by another race on the ballot.</p> <p>Turnout numbers and some of the primary election outcomes in specific races from 2013 can help us have a better sense of what is at play on primary day this year.</p> <p>Of those 691,000 Democrats who voted in the 2013 primary for mayor, 282,344 voted for de Blasio, giving him just above the 40% he needed to avoid a runoff. It was a very crowded field, so de Blasio could easily surpass that vote total this year, but that will in part depend on overall turnout, which is expected to be lower than four years ago. Turnout and margin will both factor into how New York’s media and political classes interpret the results, including around a potential “mandate,” or lack thereof, for de Blasio. If he’s victorious on primary day, de Blasio will still have to defeat several general election opponents, including Republican Nicole Malliotakis, independent Bo Dietl, and, likely, Albanese, who has been backed by the Reform Party, among other candidates.</p> <p>In the Brooklyn DA race, the late Ken Thompson won the 2013 primary, unseating long-time District Attorney Charles Hynes. After Thompson’s death due to cancer, Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is seeking election to keep the position. He’s facing five qualified opponents in the primary. Brooklyn Democrats are eligible to vote in this election.</p> <p>In 2013, Thompson won 100,678 votes to Hynes’ 81,173. In a crowded field with potentially lower turnout, the number to win the primary is surely lower than 100,000.</p> <p>As for key City Council races, several interesting 2013 numbers are at play.</p> <p>In City Council District 1, Council Member Margaret Chin is again running for reelection and facing a fight. In 2013, Chin won 8,846 votes to Jenifer Rajkumar’s 6,171. This year she faces several challengers, led by Christopher Marte.</p> <p>In Council District 2, term-limited Council Member Rosie Mendez won reelection in 2013 with 12,507 votes. Her nearest competitor earned 2,809 votes. For this “open” seat, Mendez has endorsed frontrunner Carlina Rivera in a crowded primary with two other strong contenders, Mary Silver and Ronnie Cho.</p> <p>In Council District 4, there was no primary in 2013 as term-limited Council Member Dan Garodnick cruised to reelection. There is a very large Democratic field this year, with Keith Powers and Marti Speranza seen as the frontrunners. Powers earned Garodnick’s endorsement this weekend. In this crowded race, the winner could get under 30% of the vote.</p> <p>In Council District 6 we see one of three interesting rematches happening this year. This Upper West Side district is also almost always the highest turnout area of the city. Council Member Helen Rosenthal is being opposed by Mel Wymore, who came in second to Rosenthal in a crowded 2013 primary when it was an “open” seat. In 2013, there were 28,749 votes cast in the Democratic City Council primary. Rosenthal earned 7,716 for the win. Wymore earned 6,440. The two combined for about half the votes cast in the race. Rosenthal now has the power of incumbency and many more endorsements than in 2013. Wymore may also be hurt by the presence of a third candidate, Cary Goodman, who may siphon some anti-Rosenthal votes.</p> <p>In Council District 8, Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, now term-limited, won reelection in 2013 through a Democratic primary that saw 10,567 votes (a little more than a third of the votes cast in District 6), with 3,768 for the incumbent, who had several challengers. Mark-Viverito is now working hard to see her preferred successor, Diana Ayala, elected this year. She is facing a tough competition with Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez.</p> <p>There were just 8,832 votes cast in the Council District 18 primary election in 2013, when Annabel Palma, now term-limited, won with 6,244 votes. Her challenger, William Moore, received 2,588 votes. Moore is running again this year, in a race that features a wider Democratic primary field headlined by State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. The winner this year is likely to be elected with just a few thousand votes.</p> <p>In one of the most-watched races of this cycle, Democratic voters in Queens’ 21st City Council District will choose between Assemblymember Francisco Moya and former Council Member and former State Senator Hiram Monserrate, who has convictions to his name for assaulting his then girlfriend and for misusing public money. Despite Monserrate’s criminal record, he retains a base of support. In 2013, outgoing City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland won the primary unopposed. She has endorsed Moya for the seat.</p> <p>The Council District 28 seat is already vacant given former Council Member Ruben Wills’ recent corruption conviction. In 2013, Wills won the Democratic primary with 5,095 of the 10,420 votes cast. In second place was Hettie Powell, who received 3,435 votes. Powell is now running again, and is facing Adrienne Adams and Richard David. Adams has a lot of institutional support from the types of elected officials and unions that help get out the vote.</p> <p>One of the most-watched races on primary day where an incumbent is being threatened by a tough challenger is in Council District 35, where Laurie Cumbo is again facing Ede Fox. When the seat was “open” in 2013, Cumbo won a crowded primary with 7,561 of the 20,895 votes cast among Democrats. Fox finished third with 5,340. This year, it’s just Cumbo and Fox head to head in the primary, though Cumbo now has key advantages (and some negatives) that come with incumbency.</p> <p>In Council District 38, Carlos Menchaca is trying to hold onto his seat. He is facing several primary challengers, most notably Sara Gonzalez, whom Menchaca unseated in a rare feat in 2013, and Assemblymember Felix Ortiz. It is especially rare that an elected official would challenge a member of his or her own party in a primary, but Ortiz is doing it this year. In 2013, Menchaca received 4,306 votes to Gonzalez’s 3,017. District 38 was one of the lowest turnout districts in 2013.</p> <p>Mathieu Eugene is trying to keep his Council seat in Brooklyn’s 40th District, where he faces two formidable challengers, Pia Raymond and Brian Cunningham. Raymond and Cunningham may split the anti-Eugene vote and send the incumbent back to the Council. In 2013, Eugene received 6,210 votes, whereas his top challenger, Saundra Thomas, received 4,862 votes. There were 12,974 votes cast in the District 40 primary overall, with Eugene receiving fewer than half.</p> <p>Another lowest of the low turnout districts is Brooklyn’s 41st. Term-limited Council Member Darlene Mealy will be replaced this year, with a crowded Democratic field vying for the seat. Mealy received 7,607 of the 11,469 votes cast in the 2013 primary.</p> <p>[See <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/html/results/2013.shtml" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the full list of 2013 results</a> from the Board of Elections]</p> <p>

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/32985704776_33ebe4d22e_z.jpg" alt="de Blasio voting" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City voters head to the polls Tuesday in this year’s party primary elections, mostly contests among competing Democrats. It is expected to be another low turnout election. Four years ago, only about 691,000 of the city’s 3.4 million (20%) registered Democrats voted in a high-profile, exciting, and hugely consequential mayoral primary with no incumbent in the race. Bill de Blasio won that primary and went on to cruise in the general election, which also saw terribly low voter turnout.</p> <p>In 2013, there were also open seats for the other citywide positions of Comptroller and Public Advocate, with highly-competitive Democratic primaries in each, and many open seats for Borough President and City Council positions. If all that competition couldn’t drive much turnout, this year could see an especially shockingly low number of voters cast ballots.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio is expected to win reelection handily this year and is facing limited competition in the Democratic mayoral primary, though his main challenger, former City Council Member Sal Albanese has expressed optimism, citing a lack of enthusiasm for de Blasio. There are far fewer “open” City Council and other seats this cycle, with many incumbents gliding to reelection, some with nominal primary competition and some with none at all. In this heavily Democratic city, the Democratic Party primary is often the main event in terms of who wins an election.</p> <p>As of April 1, the city was home to just under 5 million registered voters: 3.43 million Democrats; 880,660 unaffiliated with a party; 522,629 Republicans; and a few hundred thousand with other smaller parties.</p> <p>There are about 20 races of particular interest on primary day, including the Democratic mayoral primary, if for nothing else to see what margin de Blasio can post; a very competitive Brooklyn District Attorney primary; the 10 “open” City Council seats; and another eight to ten Council races where the incumbent is facing a tough primary challenge.</p> <p>As we look ahead to the outcomes, a look back at 2013 can be helpful.</p> <p>In the end, elections are all about votes, and which candidates turn out their supporters or win the votes of those turning out because they always vote or they are motivated by another race on the ballot.</p> <p>Turnout numbers and some of the primary election outcomes in specific races from 2013 can help us have a better sense of what is at play on primary day this year.</p> <p>Of those 691,000 Democrats who voted in the 2013 primary for mayor, 282,344 voted for de Blasio, giving him just above the 40% he needed to avoid a runoff. It was a very crowded field, so de Blasio could easily surpass that vote total this year, but that will in part depend on overall turnout, which is expected to be lower than four years ago. Turnout and margin will both factor into how New York’s media and political classes interpret the results, including around a potential “mandate,” or lack thereof, for de Blasio. If he’s victorious on primary day, de Blasio will still have to defeat several general election opponents, including Republican Nicole Malliotakis, independent Bo Dietl, and, likely, Albanese, who has been backed by the Reform Party, among other candidates.</p> <p>In the Brooklyn DA race, the late Ken Thompson won the 2013 primary, unseating long-time District Attorney Charles Hynes. After Thompson’s death due to cancer, Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is seeking election to keep the position. He’s facing five qualified opponents in the primary. Brooklyn Democrats are eligible to vote in this election.</p> <p>In 2013, Thompson won 100,678 votes to Hynes’ 81,173. In a crowded field with potentially lower turnout, the number to win the primary is surely lower than 100,000.</p> <p>As for key City Council races, several interesting 2013 numbers are at play.</p> <p>In City Council District 1, Council Member Margaret Chin is again running for reelection and facing a fight. In 2013, Chin won 8,846 votes to Jenifer Rajkumar’s 6,171. This year she faces several challengers, led by Christopher Marte.</p> <p>In Council District 2, term-limited Council Member Rosie Mendez won reelection in 2013 with 12,507 votes. Her nearest competitor earned 2,809 votes. For this “open” seat, Mendez has endorsed frontrunner Carlina Rivera in a crowded primary with two other strong contenders, Mary Silver and Ronnie Cho.</p> <p>In Council District 4, there was no primary in 2013 as term-limited Council Member Dan Garodnick cruised to reelection. There is a very large Democratic field this year, with Keith Powers and Marti Speranza seen as the frontrunners. Powers earned Garodnick’s endorsement this weekend. In this crowded race, the winner could get under 30% of the vote.</p> <p>In Council District 6 we see one of three interesting rematches happening this year. This Upper West Side district is also almost always the highest turnout area of the city. Council Member Helen Rosenthal is being opposed by Mel Wymore, who came in second to Rosenthal in a crowded 2013 primary when it was an “open” seat. In 2013, there were 28,749 votes cast in the Democratic City Council primary. Rosenthal earned 7,716 for the win. Wymore earned 6,440. The two combined for about half the votes cast in the race. Rosenthal now has the power of incumbency and many more endorsements than in 2013. Wymore may also be hurt by the presence of a third candidate, Cary Goodman, who may siphon some anti-Rosenthal votes.</p> <p>In Council District 8, Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, now term-limited, won reelection in 2013 through a Democratic primary that saw 10,567 votes (a little more than a third of the votes cast in District 6), with 3,768 for the incumbent, who had several challengers. Mark-Viverito is now working hard to see her preferred successor, Diana Ayala, elected this year. She is facing a tough competition with Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez.</p> <p>There were just 8,832 votes cast in the Council District 18 primary election in 2013, when Annabel Palma, now term-limited, won with 6,244 votes. Her challenger, William Moore, received 2,588 votes. Moore is running again this year, in a race that features a wider Democratic primary field headlined by State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. The winner this year is likely to be elected with just a few thousand votes.</p> <p>In one of the most-watched races of this cycle, Democratic voters in Queens’ 21st City Council District will choose between Assemblymember Francisco Moya and former Council Member and former State Senator Hiram Monserrate, who has convictions to his name for assaulting his then girlfriend and for misusing public money. Despite Monserrate’s criminal record, he retains a base of support. In 2013, outgoing City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland won the primary unopposed. She has endorsed Moya for the seat.</p> <p>The Council District 28 seat is already vacant given former Council Member Ruben Wills’ recent corruption conviction. In 2013, Wills won the Democratic primary with 5,095 of the 10,420 votes cast. In second place was Hettie Powell, who received 3,435 votes. Powell is now running again, and is facing Adrienne Adams and Richard David. Adams has a lot of institutional support from the types of elected officials and unions that help get out the vote.</p> <p>One of the most-watched races on primary day where an incumbent is being threatened by a tough challenger is in Council District 35, where Laurie Cumbo is again facing Ede Fox. When the seat was “open” in 2013, Cumbo won a crowded primary with 7,561 of the 20,895 votes cast among Democrats. Fox finished third with 5,340. This year, it’s just Cumbo and Fox head to head in the primary, though Cumbo now has key advantages (and some negatives) that come with incumbency.</p> <p>In Council District 38, Carlos Menchaca is trying to hold onto his seat. He is facing several primary challengers, most notably Sara Gonzalez, whom Menchaca unseated in a rare feat in 2013, and Assemblymember Felix Ortiz. It is especially rare that an elected official would challenge a member of his or her own party in a primary, but Ortiz is doing it this year. In 2013, Menchaca received 4,306 votes to Gonzalez’s 3,017. District 38 was one of the lowest turnout districts in 2013.</p> <p>Mathieu Eugene is trying to keep his Council seat in Brooklyn’s 40th District, where he faces two formidable challengers, Pia Raymond and Brian Cunningham. Raymond and Cunningham may split the anti-Eugene vote and send the incumbent back to the Council. In 2013, Eugene received 6,210 votes, whereas his top challenger, Saundra Thomas, received 4,862 votes. There were 12,974 votes cast in the District 40 primary overall, with Eugene receiving fewer than half.</p> <p>Another lowest of the low turnout districts is Brooklyn’s 41st. Term-limited Council Member Darlene Mealy will be replaced this year, with a crowded Democratic field vying for the seat. Mealy received 7,607 of the 11,469 votes cast in the 2013 primary.</p> <p>[See <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/html/results/2013.shtml" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the full list of 2013 results</a> from the Board of Elections]</p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
8%! New Report Shows Shockingly Low Voter Turnout in NYC 2017-06-27T04:00:09+00:00 2017-06-27T04:00:09+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7036-8-new-report-shows-shockingly-low-voter-turnout-in-nyc Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/30833378216_dde865964a_z.jpg" alt="30833378216 dde865964a z" width="640" height="426" /></p> <p>(photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>A <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/documents/boe/AnnualReports/BOEAnnualReport16.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recent report</a> by New York City’s Board of Elections details shockingly low voter turnout in the 2016 congressional and state primary elections. The new numbers come amid increased attention to New York’s suppressive voting laws but little action from state lawmakers who could implement reforms like early voting, same-day registration, automatic voter registration, or even consolidation of primaries.</p> <p>Because it was a presidential year, New Yorkers voted in three primaries -- presidential (April), congressional (June) and state (September) -- and the November general election.</p> <p>The BOE report shows middling turnout for the presidential primaries, despite -- or because of -- New York’s strict party registration rules, and somewhat strong turnout for the November general election. The two other primaries show abysmal numbers, however.</p> <p>The November 8 general election, wherein Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump topped the ballot, there was a 62% turnout rate among active eligible voters. Active voters are a smaller pool than eligible voters, which includes unregistered voters, and slightly smaller than if inactive registered voters would be included. The city turnout was slighter higher than the national turnout of 59.7%.</p> <p>Primary elections were a different story entirely: for the presidential primary in April 2016, the city saw a 35% turnout; for the June federal primary, 8%; and for the September state and local primary, 10% turnout.</p> <p>The report, simply titled “Annual Report 2016,” was released on the BOE’s website, although it does not indicate a date of publish and multiple representatives at the BOE could not provide a specific date of its publication. Along with information about the board’s president, Maria Guastella, and its borough commissioners, the report also includes data beyond just 2016 voter turnout.</p> <p>The city Board of Elections has been the focus of criticism for many years, especially of late, for mismanagement or even malice; after a mistaken voter roll purge led to thousands of active voters being removed from the rolls, many votes in the presidential primary were declared invalid, in a situation Attorney General Eric Schneiderman referred to in harsh terms. “Democracy itself is under attack,” he <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/purge-outdated-voter-rolls-nyc-tried-bad-results/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">said</a> upon joining a lawsuit over the purge.</p> <p>The BOE report on 2016 details actions undertaken by the board to increase turnout and streamline the election process, such as a public education campaign on city elections conducted in five different languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Bengali are listed), along with voter registration drives at community events and pre-registration information sessions with high school students. There were 4,477,091 active registered voters in the city as of November 1, 2016, with Democrats (3,343,041) outnumbering Republicans (501,976) by almost seven to one.</p> <p>There were also 909,611 registered voters unaffiliated with any party; 123,677 voters registered with the Independence Party; 20,956 with the Conservative Party; and 16,651 with the Working Families Party; along with several thousand more registered with smaller parties.</p> <p>In each election held in 2016, turnout was higher in Manhattan than in the other boroughs. In the June federal primary, Manhattan saw 14% turnout; Brooklyn and the Bronx each saw 5% turnout and Queens saw 4%. Staten Island didn’t have a federal primary in 2016, owing to the fact that neither incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan nor his Democratic challenger faced a primary challenge. Manhattan’s higher turnout for the congressional primary is at least somewhat due to the fact that there was an open seat race: Charles Rangel, the longtime Harlem congressional representative, retired, leading to a crowded, open race for the seat. Over half of primary votes in Manhattan in 2016 were cast in Rangel’s 13th district, now represented by fellow Democrat Adriano Espaillat.</p> <p>However, Manhattan’s turnout was still higher than the other boroughs in the other elections. Manhattan’s turnout in state and local primaries was three points higher than the citywide average, nine points higher in the presidential primaries, and six points higher in the general election.</p> <p>Low voter turnout is nothing new for New York City, or New York State, of course. New York’s legislative districts are severely gerrymandered to the point that most legislative races in the state are noncompetitive. A <a href="https://www.prisonersofthecensus.org/nygerrymander.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">report</a> from the Prison Gerrymandering Project shows that in the Republican-controlled New York State Senate, districts in the city, which are mostly represented by Democrats, are overpopulated and therefore dilute the city’s voice in the Senate, whereas upstate districts more likely to be represented by Republicans are underpopulated and thus have an amplified voice relative to population size. The same is true of the Assembly, except in favor of city Democrats rather than upstate Republicans.</p> <p>Beyond gerrymandering, New York has regressive voting laws. The state does not allow no-excuse early voting, an electoral feature in 38 states, including many with notorious voting laws such as Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. It also doesn’t allow no-excuse absentee voting.</p> <p>The Assembly, in this past legislative session, passed a voting reform package including early voting, automatic voter registration, and electronic poll books, which was endorsed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who held two telephone town halls on electoral reform, but the package stalled in the Senate, with no action being taken in the body before the legislative session ended last week. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who outlined an electoral reform package in January, did nothing publicly to push the cause thereafter.</p> <p>Although voter apathy, or simply a lack of awareness, could’ve contributed to the extremely low turnout, the city’s primary elections have been criticized as suppressive as well. The state had three separate primary elections in 2016 rather than consolidate the federal and state primaries favored by voting rights advocates. State legislators have debated this issue, with the Assembly voting to consolidate primaries in June while the Senate has pushed an August date.</p> <p>New York also has a long six-month window between the required date to register with a party and the party’s actual primary, though this is only the case for those already registered who seek to enroll in a party or change party identification (newly enrolled voters can register within a few weeks of voting). In the presidential primary, wherein two unconventional outsider candidates, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, drove large numbers of people to the polls who hadn’t voted before, some of whom were registered by not with a major political party, many hopeful voters learned that they couldn’t actually vote because they didn’t declare a party affiliation six months in advance. So-called independents, or “unaffiliated” registered voters, are blocked from voting in party primaries.</p> <p>Francis Barry, the Director of Public Affairs and a former speechwriter for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-18/voter-suppression-in-deep-blue-new-york" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote in Bloomberg</a> that New York “is the worst state for independents, bar none.”</p> <p>Voting rights and government reform advocates and many legislators have called for an overhaul of the state’s election law. Most agree that the state should institute early voting, same-day registration, consolidated primaries, automatic registration, and other reforms. Some argue for open primaries where any registered voter could vote in a primary election of their choosing.</p> <p>

***
by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/30833378216_dde865964a_z.jpg" alt="30833378216 dde865964a z" width="640" height="426" /></p> <p>(photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>A <a href="http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/documents/boe/AnnualReports/BOEAnnualReport16.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recent report</a> by New York City’s Board of Elections details shockingly low voter turnout in the 2016 congressional and state primary elections. The new numbers come amid increased attention to New York’s suppressive voting laws but little action from state lawmakers who could implement reforms like early voting, same-day registration, automatic voter registration, or even consolidation of primaries.</p> <p>Because it was a presidential year, New Yorkers voted in three primaries -- presidential (April), congressional (June) and state (September) -- and the November general election.</p> <p>The BOE report shows middling turnout for the presidential primaries, despite -- or because of -- New York’s strict party registration rules, and somewhat strong turnout for the November general election. The two other primaries show abysmal numbers, however.</p> <p>The November 8 general election, wherein Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump topped the ballot, there was a 62% turnout rate among active eligible voters. Active voters are a smaller pool than eligible voters, which includes unregistered voters, and slightly smaller than if inactive registered voters would be included. The city turnout was slighter higher than the national turnout of 59.7%.</p> <p>Primary elections were a different story entirely: for the presidential primary in April 2016, the city saw a 35% turnout; for the June federal primary, 8%; and for the September state and local primary, 10% turnout.</p> <p>The report, simply titled “Annual Report 2016,” was released on the BOE’s website, although it does not indicate a date of publish and multiple representatives at the BOE could not provide a specific date of its publication. Along with information about the board’s president, Maria Guastella, and its borough commissioners, the report also includes data beyond just 2016 voter turnout.</p> <p>The city Board of Elections has been the focus of criticism for many years, especially of late, for mismanagement or even malice; after a mistaken voter roll purge led to thousands of active voters being removed from the rolls, many votes in the presidential primary were declared invalid, in a situation Attorney General Eric Schneiderman referred to in harsh terms. “Democracy itself is under attack,” he <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/purge-outdated-voter-rolls-nyc-tried-bad-results/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">said</a> upon joining a lawsuit over the purge.</p> <p>The BOE report on 2016 details actions undertaken by the board to increase turnout and streamline the election process, such as a public education campaign on city elections conducted in five different languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Bengali are listed), along with voter registration drives at community events and pre-registration information sessions with high school students. There were 4,477,091 active registered voters in the city as of November 1, 2016, with Democrats (3,343,041) outnumbering Republicans (501,976) by almost seven to one.</p> <p>There were also 909,611 registered voters unaffiliated with any party; 123,677 voters registered with the Independence Party; 20,956 with the Conservative Party; and 16,651 with the Working Families Party; along with several thousand more registered with smaller parties.</p> <p>In each election held in 2016, turnout was higher in Manhattan than in the other boroughs. In the June federal primary, Manhattan saw 14% turnout; Brooklyn and the Bronx each saw 5% turnout and Queens saw 4%. Staten Island didn’t have a federal primary in 2016, owing to the fact that neither incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan nor his Democratic challenger faced a primary challenge. Manhattan’s higher turnout for the congressional primary is at least somewhat due to the fact that there was an open seat race: Charles Rangel, the longtime Harlem congressional representative, retired, leading to a crowded, open race for the seat. Over half of primary votes in Manhattan in 2016 were cast in Rangel’s 13th district, now represented by fellow Democrat Adriano Espaillat.</p> <p>However, Manhattan’s turnout was still higher than the other boroughs in the other elections. Manhattan’s turnout in state and local primaries was three points higher than the citywide average, nine points higher in the presidential primaries, and six points higher in the general election.</p> <p>Low voter turnout is nothing new for New York City, or New York State, of course. New York’s legislative districts are severely gerrymandered to the point that most legislative races in the state are noncompetitive. A <a href="https://www.prisonersofthecensus.org/nygerrymander.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">report</a> from the Prison Gerrymandering Project shows that in the Republican-controlled New York State Senate, districts in the city, which are mostly represented by Democrats, are overpopulated and therefore dilute the city’s voice in the Senate, whereas upstate districts more likely to be represented by Republicans are underpopulated and thus have an amplified voice relative to population size. The same is true of the Assembly, except in favor of city Democrats rather than upstate Republicans.</p> <p>Beyond gerrymandering, New York has regressive voting laws. The state does not allow no-excuse early voting, an electoral feature in 38 states, including many with notorious voting laws such as Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. It also doesn’t allow no-excuse absentee voting.</p> <p>The Assembly, in this past legislative session, passed a voting reform package including early voting, automatic voter registration, and electronic poll books, which was endorsed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who held two telephone town halls on electoral reform, but the package stalled in the Senate, with no action being taken in the body before the legislative session ended last week. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who outlined an electoral reform package in January, did nothing publicly to push the cause thereafter.</p> <p>Although voter apathy, or simply a lack of awareness, could’ve contributed to the extremely low turnout, the city’s primary elections have been criticized as suppressive as well. The state had three separate primary elections in 2016 rather than consolidate the federal and state primaries favored by voting rights advocates. State legislators have debated this issue, with the Assembly voting to consolidate primaries in June while the Senate has pushed an August date.</p> <p>New York also has a long six-month window between the required date to register with a party and the party’s actual primary, though this is only the case for those already registered who seek to enroll in a party or change party identification (newly enrolled voters can register within a few weeks of voting). In the presidential primary, wherein two unconventional outsider candidates, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, drove large numbers of people to the polls who hadn’t voted before, some of whom were registered by not with a major political party, many hopeful voters learned that they couldn’t actually vote because they didn’t declare a party affiliation six months in advance. So-called independents, or “unaffiliated” registered voters, are blocked from voting in party primaries.</p> <p>Francis Barry, the Director of Public Affairs and a former speechwriter for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-18/voter-suppression-in-deep-blue-new-york" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote in Bloomberg</a> that New York “is the worst state for independents, bar none.”</p> <p>Voting rights and government reform advocates and many legislators have called for an overhaul of the state’s election law. Most agree that the state should institute early voting, same-day registration, consolidated primaries, automatic registration, and other reforms. Some argue for open primaries where any registered voter could vote in a primary election of their choosing.</p> <p>

***
by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

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</p>
Attorney General Unveils Sweeping Voting Reform Package 2017-02-09T04:28:38+00:00 2017-02-09T04:28:38+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/6752-attorney-general-unveils-sweeping-voting-reforms-package Samar Khurshid <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/schneiderman.jpg" alt="Schneiderman releases voting reform legislation" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Attorney General Schneiderman with voting reform advocates outside Federal Hall (photo: @AGSchneiderman)</p> <hr /> <p>New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman unveiled an extensive voting reform package Wednesday that aims to streamline New York’s voter registration system, boost voter participation and increase voter turnout.</p> <p>Standing with elected officials, good government groups, union members, and voting reform advocates outside Federal Hall in Manhattan, Schneiderman released the legislation, called the <a href="http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&amp;enid=ZWFzPTEmbXNpZD0mYXVpZD0mbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTcwMjA4LjY5NzI2MzQxJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD1NREItUFJELUJVTC0yMDE3MDIwOC42OTcyNjM0MSZkYXRhYmFzZWlkPTEwMDEmc2VyaWFsPTE2OTAxMzU2JmVtYWlsaWQ9cnNpbGJlcnN0ZWluQGdvdGhhbWdhemV0dGUuY29tJnVzZXJpZD1yc2lsYmVyc3RlaW5AZ290aGFtZ2F6ZXR0ZS5jb20mdGFyZ2V0aWQ9JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&amp;&amp;&amp;101&amp;&amp;&amp;http://nyassembly.gov/leg/?default_fld=&amp;leg_video=&amp;bn=A05312&amp;term=2017&amp;Summary=Y&amp;Actions=Y&amp;Memo=Y&amp;Text=Y" target="_blank">New York Votes Act</a>. The bill contains provisions to update the state’s voting systems by adding early voting, automatic and same-day voter registration, consolidated primaries, shortened party registration deadlines, increased language access at the polls, online absentee ballots, and more. “Any law that makes it easier to vote is a good law; any law that makes it harder to vote is a bad law,” said Schneiderman, in a statement Wednesday. “New York has long been a bastion of democracy, but our state’s current system of registration and voting is an affront to that legacy.”</p> <p>New York State has seen abysmal voter turnout for years. In 2014, the state <a href="http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-local/article/New-York-s-2014-voter-turnout-49th-best-in-the-US-6146753.php" target="_blank">ranked 49th</a> of 50 in the country, with just 29 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots in the general election. While <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/state/6295-there-is-a-long-list-of-voting-reforms-new-york-can-pass" target="_blank">other states have tweaked their voting laws</a> to encourage participation, voter turnout in New York has only grown worse, with just 19.7 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots in the 2016 presidential primaries.</p> <p>Many of Schneiderman’s proposals grew out of the findings and recommendations from a <a href="http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&amp;enid=ZWFzPTEmbXNpZD0mYXVpZD0mbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTcwMjA4LjY5NzI2MzQxJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD1NREItUFJELUJVTC0yMDE3MDIwOC42OTcyNjM0MSZkYXRhYmFzZWlkPTEwMDEmc2VyaWFsPTE2OTAxMzU2JmVtYWlsaWQ9cnNpbGJlcnN0ZWluQGdvdGhhbWdhemV0dGUuY29tJnVzZXJpZD1yc2lsYmVyc3RlaW5AZ290aGFtZ2F6ZXR0ZS5jb20mdGFyZ2V0aWQ9JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&amp;&amp;&amp;100&amp;&amp;&amp;https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2016_statewide_elections_report.pdf" target="_blank">December 2016 report</a> produced by his office on the problems that voters faced during the presidential elections. The attorney general’s office was flooded with thousands of complaints of problems at the polls during April’s primary as well as hundreds during the November general election. These barriers, and the subsequent victory of Donald Trump, a historically unpopular president, have spurred renewed interest from New York’s top elected officials in modernizing the state’s electoral system.</p> <p>New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6629-taking-up-voting-reform-de-blasio-cites-sanders-campaign-as-motivation" target="_blank">announced</a> a fresh push for reform in the weeks leading up to election day. On Wednesday, the mayor praised Schneiderman’s proposal, in a statement saying it would “help bring New York up to speed and ensure New Yorkers statewide aren't turned away from casting their ballots as a result of senseless roadblocks.” Governor Andrew Cuomo has also pushed strongly for voting reform, <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/6724-cuomo-embraces-voting-reform-agenda-but-implementation-poses-challenges" target="_blank">making it a key platform</a> in his State of the State agenda this year.</p> <p>Schneiderman’s bill, which encompasses both Cuomo’s and de Blasio’s voting reform proposals, will be sponsored in the state Assembly by Assemblymember Michael Cusick, a Staten Island Democrat who chairs the body’s election law committee. “This legislation, aimed to simplify the voting process and improve voter accessibility, will give citizens a better opportunity to participate in the democratic process by increasing voter participation across New York State,” said Cusick, in a statement.</p> <p>In previous years, similar voting reforms were passed by the Assembly and backed by Senate Democrats, but were ultimately blocked by the GOP Senate Majority. Schneiderman’s sweeping legislation, however, appears to have gained an added push from the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) -- an eight-member body that has formed a ruling coalition with Senate Republicans. The legislation will be sponsored by IDC member Senator David Carlucci, and the body’s seven other members will co-sponsor the bill, IDC member Senator Diane Savino told the <a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/02/cusick_schneiderman_author_swe.html" target="_blank">Staten Island Advance</a>.</p> <p>IDC Leader Jeff Klein commended the attorney general’s legislation in a statement, saying, “The Independent Democratic Conference has long been an advocate for making our election process simpler and more accessible for all New Yorkers."</p> <p>Good government groups, many of which were represented at Wednesday’s news conference, applauded Schneiderman’s proposal to modernize the state electoral system. “New York ranks consistently as one of the nation's worst in terms of voter participation, driven by state laws that create obstacles to voting,” said Megan Ahearn, program director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, “Much of the rest of the nation has developed practices that improve voter turnout. The Attorney General's package relies on those best practices.”</p> <p>Barbara Bartoletti, Legislative Director for the League of Women Voters of New York State urged the Governor and the Legislature to act on the reform as soon as possible to ensure that voters do not face barriers in future elections. “Laws that would allow for automatic voter registration, early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and consolidation of primary elections will empower voters and give greater access to the ballot,” she said.</p> <p>

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by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/schneiderman.jpg" alt="Schneiderman releases voting reform legislation" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Attorney General Schneiderman with voting reform advocates outside Federal Hall (photo: @AGSchneiderman)</p> <hr /> <p>New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman unveiled an extensive voting reform package Wednesday that aims to streamline New York’s voter registration system, boost voter participation and increase voter turnout.</p> <p>Standing with elected officials, good government groups, union members, and voting reform advocates outside Federal Hall in Manhattan, Schneiderman released the legislation, called the <a href="http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&amp;enid=ZWFzPTEmbXNpZD0mYXVpZD0mbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTcwMjA4LjY5NzI2MzQxJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD1NREItUFJELUJVTC0yMDE3MDIwOC42OTcyNjM0MSZkYXRhYmFzZWlkPTEwMDEmc2VyaWFsPTE2OTAxMzU2JmVtYWlsaWQ9cnNpbGJlcnN0ZWluQGdvdGhhbWdhemV0dGUuY29tJnVzZXJpZD1yc2lsYmVyc3RlaW5AZ290aGFtZ2F6ZXR0ZS5jb20mdGFyZ2V0aWQ9JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&amp;&amp;&amp;101&amp;&amp;&amp;http://nyassembly.gov/leg/?default_fld=&amp;leg_video=&amp;bn=A05312&amp;term=2017&amp;Summary=Y&amp;Actions=Y&amp;Memo=Y&amp;Text=Y" target="_blank">New York Votes Act</a>. The bill contains provisions to update the state’s voting systems by adding early voting, automatic and same-day voter registration, consolidated primaries, shortened party registration deadlines, increased language access at the polls, online absentee ballots, and more. “Any law that makes it easier to vote is a good law; any law that makes it harder to vote is a bad law,” said Schneiderman, in a statement Wednesday. “New York has long been a bastion of democracy, but our state’s current system of registration and voting is an affront to that legacy.”</p> <p>New York State has seen abysmal voter turnout for years. In 2014, the state <a href="http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-local/article/New-York-s-2014-voter-turnout-49th-best-in-the-US-6146753.php" target="_blank">ranked 49th</a> of 50 in the country, with just 29 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots in the general election. While <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/state/6295-there-is-a-long-list-of-voting-reforms-new-york-can-pass" target="_blank">other states have tweaked their voting laws</a> to encourage participation, voter turnout in New York has only grown worse, with just 19.7 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots in the 2016 presidential primaries.</p> <p>Many of Schneiderman’s proposals grew out of the findings and recommendations from a <a href="http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&amp;enid=ZWFzPTEmbXNpZD0mYXVpZD0mbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTcwMjA4LjY5NzI2MzQxJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD1NREItUFJELUJVTC0yMDE3MDIwOC42OTcyNjM0MSZkYXRhYmFzZWlkPTEwMDEmc2VyaWFsPTE2OTAxMzU2JmVtYWlsaWQ9cnNpbGJlcnN0ZWluQGdvdGhhbWdhemV0dGUuY29tJnVzZXJpZD1yc2lsYmVyc3RlaW5AZ290aGFtZ2F6ZXR0ZS5jb20mdGFyZ2V0aWQ9JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&amp;&amp;&amp;100&amp;&amp;&amp;https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2016_statewide_elections_report.pdf" target="_blank">December 2016 report</a> produced by his office on the problems that voters faced during the presidential elections. The attorney general’s office was flooded with thousands of complaints of problems at the polls during April’s primary as well as hundreds during the November general election. These barriers, and the subsequent victory of Donald Trump, a historically unpopular president, have spurred renewed interest from New York’s top elected officials in modernizing the state’s electoral system.</p> <p>New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6629-taking-up-voting-reform-de-blasio-cites-sanders-campaign-as-motivation" target="_blank">announced</a> a fresh push for reform in the weeks leading up to election day. On Wednesday, the mayor praised Schneiderman’s proposal, in a statement saying it would “help bring New York up to speed and ensure New Yorkers statewide aren't turned away from casting their ballots as a result of senseless roadblocks.” Governor Andrew Cuomo has also pushed strongly for voting reform, <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/6724-cuomo-embraces-voting-reform-agenda-but-implementation-poses-challenges" target="_blank">making it a key platform</a> in his State of the State agenda this year.</p> <p>Schneiderman’s bill, which encompasses both Cuomo’s and de Blasio’s voting reform proposals, will be sponsored in the state Assembly by Assemblymember Michael Cusick, a Staten Island Democrat who chairs the body’s election law committee. “This legislation, aimed to simplify the voting process and improve voter accessibility, will give citizens a better opportunity to participate in the democratic process by increasing voter participation across New York State,” said Cusick, in a statement.</p> <p>In previous years, similar voting reforms were passed by the Assembly and backed by Senate Democrats, but were ultimately blocked by the GOP Senate Majority. Schneiderman’s sweeping legislation, however, appears to have gained an added push from the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) -- an eight-member body that has formed a ruling coalition with Senate Republicans. The legislation will be sponsored by IDC member Senator David Carlucci, and the body’s seven other members will co-sponsor the bill, IDC member Senator Diane Savino told the <a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/02/cusick_schneiderman_author_swe.html" target="_blank">Staten Island Advance</a>.</p> <p>IDC Leader Jeff Klein commended the attorney general’s legislation in a statement, saying, “The Independent Democratic Conference has long been an advocate for making our election process simpler and more accessible for all New Yorkers."</p> <p>Good government groups, many of which were represented at Wednesday’s news conference, applauded Schneiderman’s proposal to modernize the state electoral system. “New York ranks consistently as one of the nation's worst in terms of voter participation, driven by state laws that create obstacles to voting,” said Megan Ahearn, program director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, “Much of the rest of the nation has developed practices that improve voter turnout. The Attorney General's package relies on those best practices.”</p> <p>Barbara Bartoletti, Legislative Director for the League of Women Voters of New York State urged the Governor and the Legislature to act on the reform as soon as possible to ensure that voters do not face barriers in future elections. “Laws that would allow for automatic voter registration, early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and consolidation of primary elections will empower voters and give greater access to the ballot,” she said.</p> <p>

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by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
How New York Voted: 10 Key Takeaways 2016-11-15T05:00:00+00:00 2016-11-15T05:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/6627-how-new-york-voted-10-key-takeaways Ben Max <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/30833380106_3027b80b4d_z.jpg" width="600" height="399" alt="voting nyc" /></p> <p>Voting (photo:&nbsp;Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>A week after Election Day the votes are still being counted, but we know a lot about what happened nationally and here in New York. While the Empire State went decidedly for Hillary Clinton for President, the margin was mostly due to New York City’s overwhelming support for the Democratic nominee over now President-elect Donald Trump. And as we dissect the numbers and watch as Trump’s transition operation unfolds, New Yorkers are watching Long Island, where two state Senate races have yet to be called and could determine party control of the chamber -- which is Republicans’ last statewide stronghold.</p> <p>There’s much we do know about how New York voted in 2016, and a few things we don’t. An initial look inside the numbers, based on 99% of the vote <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/new-york" target="_blank">being tallied</a> in New York as of Tuesday, November 15 (the city Board of Elections is due to certify results Nov. 29):</p> <p>1. About 7 million people across New York State cast ballots in the presidential race:</p> <ul> <li>Democrat Hillary Clinton won about 58.8% of the vote, with 4.1 million votes.</li> <li>Republican Donald Trump 37.5%, with 2.6 million votes</li> <li>Libertarian Gary Johnson 2.3%, with about 162,000 votes</li> <li>Green Party’s Jill Stein 1.4%, with about 100,000 votes</li> </ul> <p>2. Turnout in New York State was about 56.4% of registered voters, of which there are about 12.5 million.</p> <p>3. Turnout in New York City was about 51% of registered voters, of which there are about 4.9 million.</p> <p>4. In New York City, Clinton won four of the five New York City boroughs, losing only Staten Island to Trump.</p> <ul> <li>In Brooklyn, Clinton won 595,000 votes to Trump’s 134,000.</li> <li>In the Bronx, Clinton won 318,000 votes to Trump’s 34,000.</li> <li>In Manhattan, Clinton won 516,000 votes to Trump’s 59,000.</li> <li>In Queens, Clinton won 473,000 votes to Trump’s 139,000.</li> <li>On Staten Island, Trump won 96,000 votes to Clinton’s 68,000.</li> </ul> <p>That’s a total New York City tally of about 1.97 million votes for Clinton and 462,000 votes for Trump.</p> <p>5. Across the state, there are 62 counties: Trump won 46, including Staten Island (Richmond County); Clinton won 16, including four in New York City.</p> <p>Clinton’s other wins included counties of major population centers: Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and suburbs bordering the city: Westchester, Nassau, and Rockland. She also appears to have won Clinton County, along the state’s northern border, though the margin stands at under 300 votes. Trump won dozens of more rural counties and some more suburban, like Suffolk, Orange, and Putnam.</p> <p>6. According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/new-york/2016/11/11/nys-election-map-becomes-familiar/93664010/" target="_blank">a Press &amp; Sun Bulletin analysis</a>, outside of New York City, the margin between Clinton and Trump was virtually nonexistent, with Clinton leading by about 760 votes in initial tallies.</p> <p>7. The balance of power in the New York State Senate is still unclear, in part because there are two races still too close to call, both on Long Island where incumbent Republicans are attempting to hold onto their seats.</p> <ul> <li>Senate District 5: Incumbent Republican Sen. Carl Marcellino leads Democrat James Gaughran by 2,425 votes as of 5 p.m. on November 14. Marcellino has 50.9% while Gaughran has 49.1%.</li> <li>Senate District 8: Democrat John Brooks leads incumbent Republican Sen. Michael Venditto by 33 votes as of 5 p.m. on November 14. Both candidates have 50% of the vote.</li> </ul> <p>Republicans have held a slight edge in the 63-seat chamber in part because Brooklyn Senator Simcha Felder, elected as a Democrat, caucuses with the GOP. The margin is razor thin, and the mainline party with the most members when the two Long Island seats are determined will be in better position to negotiate a power-sharing deal with the seven-member Independent Democratic Conference. Stay tuned!</p> <p>8. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer won re-election with 70% of the vote across the state, defeating Republican challenger Wendy Long. Schumer will be minority leader in the Senate.</p> <p>9. The 27-member U.S. House delegation from New York will consist of 18 Democrats and 9 Republicans.</p> <p>10. The State Assembly continues to be heavily Democratic. While there are still a few seats where the vote is too close to call, the Democrats will hold about 107 of the 150 seats.</p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/30833380106_3027b80b4d_z.jpg" width="600" height="399" alt="voting nyc" /></p> <p>Voting (photo:&nbsp;Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>A week after Election Day the votes are still being counted, but we know a lot about what happened nationally and here in New York. While the Empire State went decidedly for Hillary Clinton for President, the margin was mostly due to New York City’s overwhelming support for the Democratic nominee over now President-elect Donald Trump. And as we dissect the numbers and watch as Trump’s transition operation unfolds, New Yorkers are watching Long Island, where two state Senate races have yet to be called and could determine party control of the chamber -- which is Republicans’ last statewide stronghold.</p> <p>There’s much we do know about how New York voted in 2016, and a few things we don’t. An initial look inside the numbers, based on 99% of the vote <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/new-york" target="_blank">being tallied</a> in New York as of Tuesday, November 15 (the city Board of Elections is due to certify results Nov. 29):</p> <p>1. About 7 million people across New York State cast ballots in the presidential race:</p> <ul> <li>Democrat Hillary Clinton won about 58.8% of the vote, with 4.1 million votes.</li> <li>Republican Donald Trump 37.5%, with 2.6 million votes</li> <li>Libertarian Gary Johnson 2.3%, with about 162,000 votes</li> <li>Green Party’s Jill Stein 1.4%, with about 100,000 votes</li> </ul> <p>2. Turnout in New York State was about 56.4% of registered voters, of which there are about 12.5 million.</p> <p>3. Turnout in New York City was about 51% of registered voters, of which there are about 4.9 million.</p> <p>4. In New York City, Clinton won four of the five New York City boroughs, losing only Staten Island to Trump.</p> <ul> <li>In Brooklyn, Clinton won 595,000 votes to Trump’s 134,000.</li> <li>In the Bronx, Clinton won 318,000 votes to Trump’s 34,000.</li> <li>In Manhattan, Clinton won 516,000 votes to Trump’s 59,000.</li> <li>In Queens, Clinton won 473,000 votes to Trump’s 139,000.</li> <li>On Staten Island, Trump won 96,000 votes to Clinton’s 68,000.</li> </ul> <p>That’s a total New York City tally of about 1.97 million votes for Clinton and 462,000 votes for Trump.</p> <p>5. Across the state, there are 62 counties: Trump won 46, including Staten Island (Richmond County); Clinton won 16, including four in New York City.</p> <p>Clinton’s other wins included counties of major population centers: Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and suburbs bordering the city: Westchester, Nassau, and Rockland. She also appears to have won Clinton County, along the state’s northern border, though the margin stands at under 300 votes. Trump won dozens of more rural counties and some more suburban, like Suffolk, Orange, and Putnam.</p> <p>6. According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/new-york/2016/11/11/nys-election-map-becomes-familiar/93664010/" target="_blank">a Press &amp; Sun Bulletin analysis</a>, outside of New York City, the margin between Clinton and Trump was virtually nonexistent, with Clinton leading by about 760 votes in initial tallies.</p> <p>7. The balance of power in the New York State Senate is still unclear, in part because there are two races still too close to call, both on Long Island where incumbent Republicans are attempting to hold onto their seats.</p> <ul> <li>Senate District 5: Incumbent Republican Sen. Carl Marcellino leads Democrat James Gaughran by 2,425 votes as of 5 p.m. on November 14. Marcellino has 50.9% while Gaughran has 49.1%.</li> <li>Senate District 8: Democrat John Brooks leads incumbent Republican Sen. Michael Venditto by 33 votes as of 5 p.m. on November 14. Both candidates have 50% of the vote.</li> </ul> <p>Republicans have held a slight edge in the 63-seat chamber in part because Brooklyn Senator Simcha Felder, elected as a Democrat, caucuses with the GOP. The margin is razor thin, and the mainline party with the most members when the two Long Island seats are determined will be in better position to negotiate a power-sharing deal with the seven-member Independent Democratic Conference. Stay tuned!</p> <p>8. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer won re-election with 70% of the vote across the state, defeating Republican challenger Wendy Long. Schumer will be minority leader in the Senate.</p> <p>9. The 27-member U.S. House delegation from New York will consist of 18 Democrats and 9 Republicans.</p> <p>10. The State Assembly continues to be heavily Democratic. While there are still a few seats where the vote is too close to call, the Democrats will hold about 107 of the 150 seats.</p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>