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Are You Prepared for the NYC Primary on June 22? Here are Some Last-Minute Tips

Democratic primary voters cast ballots in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, June 23, 2020.
Democratic primary voters cast ballots in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, June 23, 2020.
Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

This article is adapted from our weekly Civic Newsroom newsletter, which is sent out every Tuesday. You can sign up here to get it or fill out the form at the bottom of this post.


One more week and the voting for the primary election will be done — whether you vote in person June 22,during early voting or sent in an absentee ballot. And while we may not know who won every race until the week of July 12, we’re in the home stretch.

Since we’re getting close to the end of the election, we thought we’d give you a bit of a refresher on some key points.

Early voting!

Early voting kicked off for the primaries on Saturday, June 12, and runs through Sunday, June 20. That means New Yorkers now can go in person to cast a ballot for this major primary, which will help reshape our city’s government. You can also wait until the big day on June 22.

Remember: You have to vote at your assigned site, and your early voting site may be different from your election day polling place. Make sure to check where you can vote early here, and double check when the early voting sites are open here (times vary).

Still have questions or are your friends asking you for help? We can’t all spread the word about the election on subway cars. But we’ve made it even easier with our new voter guide page containing everything you need to know to make an informed decision, all in one place. Share it with a friend!

Lines were short during the first weekend of early voting. On Saturday and Sunday, 32,032 voters cast a ballotcompared to 193,915 votes on the first weekend of early voting in October for the presidential election, according to the city Board of Elections.

The Board of Elections made a tool so you can see how long lines are at early voting sites. Check it out here.

Here are some other things to remember when heading out to vote early:

  • As long as you are in line at your voting site before it closes, you can vote.
  • You don’t need to have an ID with you to vote. You do need to already be a registered voter with a major party affiliation, though. You can’t register or switch parties at the polling place.
  • You can ask a poll worker for help if you have any questions about the voting process, and you have a right to an interpreter if you or someone you know needs language assistance.
  • If you have any issues at your voting site or believe your rights are being violated, you can call the city’s election protection hotline at 866-687-8683.

Today is also the last day to request an absentee ballot!

You can still request an absentee ballot to vote by mail, but you have to do it today (June 15). All voters have the option of requesting an absentee ballot this year by claiming “temporary illness” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can request an absentee ballot online here or by calling 1-866-VOTE-NYC.

You can also download and fill out the request form here and email it to apply4absentee@boe.nyc or print and mail it or drop it off at your borough’s Board of Elections office.

You have to mail in your absentee ballot with a postmark by June 21, or you can drop off your absentee ballot at any city Board of Elections office, any early voting poll site or any election day poll site up until when the polls close on June 22.

Here’s where you’ll find the Board of Election offices:


Readers have been asking more questions about absentee voting:

Can I drop off a stack of absentee ballots for my neighbors?

The answer: Yes! As long as the ballots are properly signed and sealed, you can drop off absentee ballots for other people.

Can you vote in person if you have already mailed in an absentee ballot? (i.e., if you changed your mind and want to vote differently, can you vote in person and will it cancel out your absentee ballot?)

The answer: Yes! Even if you have already requested or sent in your absentee ballot, you can still choose to vote in-person early or on June 22. If you do this, your in-person vote overrides your absentee vote, which will be voided, according to city Campaign Finance Board officials. (This process of voiding ballots is part of the vote-counting process we talked about here.)

Do I need postage on my absentee ballots envelope?

The answer: Yes! Campaign Finance Board officials recommend using three stamps just to be extra safe.

How do I know if my absentee ballot got to the Board of Elections?

The answer: You can track your ballot here.

Election Day voting!

Pretty simple: On June 22, polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Find your polling location and check out what’s on your ballot here.

Ranked choice voting reminders!

A lot of readers have asked questions about the best strategy for ranked choice voting, the new system that allows you to choose up to five candidates in the order you like them best.

To help more New Yorkers understand the process, Mayor Bill de Blasio is holding a practice ranked choice election with pizza toppings. You can weigh in on sausage versus pineapple and pick your top five here.

Here are our top three tips for ranked choice voting after talking to a bunch of experts:

  • Vote for your genuine favorites, in order of preference. Don’t try to game the system and guess who has the best chance. There’s no risk of losing your vote, because if your favorite is knocked out, your vote will go to your second favorite, and so on.
  • Don’t rank someone you don’t want. The last spots on your ballot should be for candidates that you are OK with or could live with. If there are candidates you disagree with or really do not want to win, do not put them on your ballot.
  • You don’t have to fill all five slots, if there are fewer candidates that you like. You can just select the ones you want.

Remember, ranked choice voting is just for municipal elections, so district attorneys and judges will be selected the old way, by just picking one candidate.

If you are helping someone understand ranked choice voting who speaks another language, you can find helpful resources here and an FAQ in several languages here.

Endorsements buzz!

In the wake of high-profile political figures like Queens and Bronx Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont announcing their picks for a slate of New York City offices, readers have been asking us how to find out more about endorsements. We wrote about that, but here are the main points:

  • City and State is tracking endorsements for the mayoral candidates here and two local politically engaged college students have been monitoring endorsements via this spreadsheet.
  • More often than not, candidates want you to know who’s endorsing them, so reading through their campaign websites and checking out their social media is a good way to find out. Similarly, groups backing candidates want you to know who they’re supporting, so looking on an organization’s site, social media or mailing material is a good place to start for finding endorsements that you care about. If you are interested in endorsements for a super local race like City Council, email or call an organization you trust to see if they’re backing any candidates and why.
  • A slew of second-place endorsements are rolling in from New York’s Congressional representatives. On Friday, Rep. Ritchie Torres, who endorsed Andrew Yang, announced Eric Adams as his second choice. The same day, Rep. Nydia Velasquez said she’s putting Kathryn Garcia in the number-two spot, after her top choice Maya Wiley. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries also picked Wiley first, and endorsed Adams as his second choice.

THE CITY’s Voting Guide!

Are you the friend everyone texts for voting information? We put this page together to help you out. Now you can just send out this link to our voter guide, with information on each of the mayoral candidates, our Meet Your Mayor quiz, our City Council map, key dates, explanatory stories and just about everything else needed to hit the polls more confidently.

Or, you can check out our PDF voter guide in English and Spanish to download and share.

Join us for Voterfest!

The next round of Civic Newsroom — where we meet with readers and neighbors to better understand what voters need and want to know — will be outside.

We hosted our second event this past weekend in Brownsville, and have one more event in Flushing, Queens.

We had lots of fun at the Brownsville Library with our friends from Brooklyn Public Library, Rank the Vote, Elite Learners and the Brownsville Minute sharing information with voters and enjoying drumming in front of the library from Ryan Greenidge and poetry from Gezziel Nash and food from Collective Fare.

At the next event, there will be more music, art, locally catered food — and information and activities to help you learn more about the primary. Join us!

A few other primary-related events

What else we’re reading

What are your election questions?

If you have any questions about the election process, the candidates or any other information when it comes to voting in New York, let us know by replying to this email or sending a note to civicnewsroom@thecity.nyc.

You can sign up to get these updates to your email inbox or as a text message every Tuesday here.

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