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What to Know About New York’s 2nd Round of Primary Elections

For the second time in two months, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to head to the polls and vote in a critical primary election. Earlier …

What to Know About New York’s 2nd Round of Primary Elections
13.08.2022 15:56
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For the second time in two months, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to head to the polls and vote in a critical primary election.

Earlier this year, the state’s highest courts ruled that district maps created by Democrats were unconstitutional and ordered them to be redrawn. That necessitated the primaries for Congress and State Senate to be pushed back two months to August from June.

There are several competitive congressional primaries and special elections to watch, but with New York’s already low voter participation rates, there’s concern that a rare August primary, when many New Yorkers are distracted or away, will drive those rates even lower.

Early voting starts on Saturday

The early voting period begins on Saturday, Aug. 13, and continues through Sunday, Aug. 21.

You can also vote on Election Day — Tuesday, Aug. 23 — when polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Finding out where to vote

If voters have requested an absentee ballot for the primary, they will not be allowed to cast a regular ballot this year.Credit…Andrew Seng for The New York Times

Most early voting locations will not be the same as the polling place you would go to on Election Day.

You can find both your early voting and Election Day polling place by entering your address at this state Board of Elections website.

Voters who are experiencing difficulty can call the state’s election protection hotline at 866-390-2992.

Here are some of the key primary races to watch

The marquee contest is in the 12th Congressional District in Manhattan, where Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat who represents the Upper West Side, is facing off against Representative Carolyn Maloney, who represents the Upper East Side.

Their districts were redrawn and partially combined, but discussions failed to push one of the two influential committee leaders to run for a different seat. So Mr. Nadler chose to not seek re-election in his 10th District, and entered the primary for Ms. Maloney’s seat.

New York’s 2022 Elections

As prominent Democratic officials seek to defend their records, Republicans see opportunities to make inroads in general election races.

  • N.Y. Governor’s Race: This year, for the first time in over 75 years, the state ballot appears destined to offer only two choices: Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, and Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican. Here is why.
  • 10th Congressional District: Representative Mondaire Jones, a first-term Democratic congressman who faces a competitive race in the redrawn district, has won the endorsement of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But two women with local bona fides have surged to the front of the pack.
  • 12th Congressional District: As Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, two titans of New York politics, battle it out, Suraj Patel is trying to eke out his own path to victory. His aggressive style was on display during a three-way Democratic debate.
  • State Senate: New district maps are causing some incumbents to run in neighboring districts, forcing them to campaign in unfamiliar territory and contemplate new living arrangements.

A third candidate in the race, Suraj Patel, has painted himself as the face of a much needed generational shift. At 38, Mr. Patel, a lawyer who helped run his family’s successful motel business, is half the age of his two more established opponents.

Mr. Patel has challenged Ms. Maloney twice before, coming closest to victory in 2020 when he lost by four percentage points. But drawing distinct ideological differences between himself and both Ms. Maloney and Mr. Nadler has been difficult. The pair has countered that their seniority will matter whether Democrats remain in power or not.

The remapping and Mr. Nadler’s and Ms. Maloney’s decision to run in the same district created a rare open seat in the 10th District.

The opportunity has drawn a range of entrants, including Representative Mondaire Jones, who currently represents a district in Rockland County and parts of Westchester; and Elizabeth Holtzman, once the youngest woman elected to the House of Representatives who, at the age of 81, is now vying to become the oldest nonincumbent elected to Congress.

Daniel Goldman, an impeachment investigator in the trial of former president Donald J. Trump, has never held elective office, but has vast personal wealth to draw from and recently gave his campaign $1 million.

But it is two local women of color, Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, who have recently surged in the race. Both already represent parts of the district in their current elected positions.

Ms. Rivera has shifted more to the center, gaining support from the real estate industry, unions and left-leaning members of Brooklyn’s Democratic Party. She has called herself a pragmatic progressive. Ms. Niou has taken the left lane with the support of the Working Families Party.

Voter turnout will be a big factor in both races, said Christina Greer, a political scientist at Fordham University.

“When you think about a district like the 10th or the 12th, those are the two districts in New York where I would argue a disproportionate number of people are not in New York City right now,” Professor Greer said.

The most interesting Republican primary of note is in the 23rd Congressional District in western New York, where Carl Paladino, a Buffalo-area developer and former candidate for governor who has made headlines for racist, sexist and homophobic remarks, is facing off against his onetime ally, Nick Langworthy, the state Republican Party chairman.

Both men are strong conservatives and supporters of Mr. Trump, but Mr. Langworthy has characterized Mr. Paladino as a liability to Lee Zeldin, the Republican nominee for governor, because of his derogatory statements.

In spite of past comments praising Adolf Hitler as “the kind of leader we need today” and comparing Michelle Obama to a gorilla, Mr. Paladino has a financial advantage and has drawn the support of Representative Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives.

“That’s about what the district wants. Both candidates are M.A.G.A.,” said Bruce Gyory, a Democratic strategist. “Are they going to get the button-down political operative version in Langworthy or are they going to get the pure, unadulterated floor show with Paladino?”

In the newly shaped 17th Congressional District, Sean Patrick Maloney, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is fielding a challenge from the left flank by Alessandra Biaggi, a state senator, in a proxy fight between the party’s moderate and left wings.

Mr. Maloney drew heavy criticism after the districts were redrawn and he chose to run in a potentially safer district that was held by Mr. Jones, who in 2020 became one of the first Black, openly gay men elected to Congress.

Mr. Maloney’s decision drew a rebuke that he was putting his own re-election interests before that of the party’s by choosing the moderately safer seat. Mr. Jones then moved 20 miles away to the new 10th Congressional District in Manhattan, rather than challenge Representative Jamaal Bowman, another Black Democrat in a neighboring district.

Ms. Biaggi was endorsed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Mr. Maloney was recently endorsed by former president Bill Clinton.

Can I switch parties on Primary Day?

No.

A loophole caused by the decision to split the primaries would have allowed voters to change their party registration up until and even on Primary Day.

The New York State Board of Elections requested that the loophole be closed, and a state Supreme Court judge complied. Voters had until Aug. 11 to change parties.

Two special elections are also on the ballot

A special election for the 19th Congressional District, one of the few true swing districts in the country, could help determine who controls the House in upcoming midterm elections.

The seat was vacated when Gov. Kathy Hochul chose former Representative Antonio Delgado as her lieutenant governor, following the resignation of the former lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, after he was indicted on fraud and bribery charges.

The Dutchess County executive, Marc Molinaro, a Republican, is running against the Ulster County executive, Pat Ryan, a Democrat, to fill the remainder of Mr. Delgado’s term. Because the lines of the district were redrawn, another election is simultaneously being held this year for the newly drawn 19th District.

Mr. Molinaro is running in the new 19th district for a full term in November, while Mr. Ryan — even if he defeats Mr. Molinaro on Aug. 23 — will run in the 18th Congressional District.

The winner of the race will nonetheless enter their new contest with the advantage of incumbency. If Mr. Ryan can hold onto the seat for his party, it will give Democrats a boost going into the midterm elections.

“Short term, the Democrats will be able to brag that everything’s turning around,” Mr. Gyory said.

Another special election is being held in the old contours of the 23rd District, to fill out the remainder of the term vacated by Representative Tom Reed, a Republican who left the House in May.

Joe Sempolinski, a local Republican leader and former congressional aide, is expected to keep the district under Republican control. He is not running for a full term in November’s midterm election; that seat is most likely destined for the winner of the Republican primary between Mr. Paladino and Mr. Langworthy.

Can I vote by absentee ballot?

The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot online has passed, but voters can still get one at their local county board of elections until Monday, Aug. 22.

The absentee ballot must be returned by mail, with a postmark no later than Aug. 23, or in person at a polling site by 9 p.m. that day.

A change in state law means that New York State voters cannot cast a ballot on a voting machine if they have already requested to vote by absentee ballot. Voters who have requested an absentee ballot may still vote in person during the early voting period or on Election Day by using an affidavit ballot.

Once the election is completed, election officials will determine if the absentee ballot has been received. The affidavit ballot will be counted if the absentee ballot has not been received. If the absentee ballot has been received, the affidavit ballot will not be counted.

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