Four years ago, New York City held one of its most exciting elections in recent memory. Local democrats were looking to take back the mayor's office for the first time in 20 years. Meanwhile, republicans were gearing up to fill Mayor Michael Bloomberg's enormous shoes. Bill de Blasio ended up emerging from relative obscurity to defeat former New York City comptroller Bill Thompson and disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner in the democratic primary, and went onto handily best MTA chairman Joe Lhota in the general election.
On Tuesday, New Yorkers return to the polls for the municipal primary election—this time with substantially less buzz. Mayor Bill de Blasio has all but secured his re-election. The City Council will see a shake-up, but those races don't garner a great deal of media attention. Heck, we wouldn't blame you if you forgot about the election altogether. But if you did your due diligence and ensured that you are registered to vote, then you're (hopefully) prepared up for Tuesday's primary election.
If you need a quick update, we've got your back. Here's what you need to know:
What is this primary all about?
Tuesday's election decides which candidates will represent their respective parties in the general municipal election on November 7. While the election technically doesn't put a person into office, the primary all but selects City Council members in districts that are overwhelmingly democratic or republican.
Who is on the ballot?
It depends! Democrats across the city will vote for their party's mayoral candidate. Mayor Bill de Blasio is far and away the frontrunner for that nomination. Former City Council member Sal Albanese is the lead challenger to unseat him, but his chances of winning are slim to none. On the republican ticket, state representative Nicole Malliotakis is running uncontested, so no mayoral primary will be held on that end. Aside from the race to head New York City's government, the names on voters' ballots on Tuesday depends entirely on one's party and district. You can find more detailed information on which races will show up on your ballot via the New York City Board of Elections (their tool is pretty damn handy).
Can I still register?
Unfortunately, it is too late to register for the primaries. However, there is still time to sign up for the general election (you have until October 13). If you are registered, the Board of Elections also has a tool that tells you the location of your polling place. Be sure to check this—you won't be able to vote at an alternate site. Polls will be open from 6am to 9pm.
Why should I care?
For most New Yorkers, Tuesday marks the first time that they will head to the polls since last year's national election. In a year that's been filled with political division and rally cries for civic participation, this is one of the best ways to allow your voice to be heard. More pragmatically, 10 incumbent City Council members—including speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito—will not be on the ballot (either due to term limits or declining to run for re-election), and each of those district's primary elections will effectively choose their replacements. While Tuesday's election doesn't come with a lot of hype, it will no doubt be consequential—so don't forget to show up!