Here’s what you need to know for the June 23 primary elections

voting 47th district
Brooklyn voters fill in their ballot.
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Even during the pandemic, democracy goes on! 

On June 23, Brooklynites will head to the polls — or to their mailboxes — and vote in a handful of primary elections for various levels of government.

“So many New Yorkers have been marching for black lives for weeks,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of the good-government group, Common Cause. “We want New Yorkers to know that if they show up in the streets for Black Lives Matter they also have the choice to show up at the polls to support the policies they’re fighting for.”

Absentee Ballots

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order making every New York voter eligible to vote with an absentee ballot in the June 23 elections.

Any voter requesting an absentee ballot because of COVID-19 can check the box marked “Temporary Illness” as the reason for requesting the ballot.

There are multiple ways to request an absentee ballot, including:

Absentee applications must be submitted by June 16, although that deadline is extended to June 22 if the voter plans on applying in-person at a local Board of Elections office. 

Ballots will be mailed out until the day before the election, on June 22.

After filling out the ballot, the voter must fold the ballot and put it in a smaller envelope, sign and date the back of the envelope, seal it, and put it in a larger envelope that is addressed to the Board of Elections. 

The ballot can be mailed or delivered to the voter’s borough Board of Elections office. 

The absentee ballot must be postmarked by June 22, and must be delivered to the Board of Elections no more than seven days after the election in order to be counted. 

If a voter plans to deliver their ballot to a Board of Elections building, they are required to wear a face mask and maintain six feet of social distance while inside the facility.

Early Voting

As well as voting absentee and in-person on election day, voters also have the opportunity to vote early, and the Board of Elections says it will work to sanitize early voting stations regularly while voters file in and out, and it has purchased 10,000 plastic shields to keep information tables clean and protect poll workers.

“Poll workers will be wearing masks, physical distancing guidelines will be in place, voters will be required to wear masks and masks will be available,” said Lerner. 

Early voting will be held at various locations throughout Brooklyn through Sunday June 21. Voters can head to nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search to find their polling location.  

See the times for early voting below. 

  • Monday, June 15, 2020 – 7 am to 3 pm
  • Tuesday, June 16, 2020 – 12 am to 8 pm
  • Wednesday, June 17, 2020 – 12 am to 8 pm
  • Thursday, June 18, 2020 – 10 am to 6 pm
  • Friday, June 19, 2020 – 7 am to 3 pm
  • Saturday, June 20, 2020 – 10 am to 4 pm
  • Sunday, June 21, 2020 – 10 am to 4 pm

Who’s on the ballot?

Voters will make choices on everything from the Democratic presidential primary to hyper-local Democratic district leader positions. Upcoming races include:

State Senate District 25 (Bedford Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Prospect Heights) 

The three-way race to represent District 25 in the State Senate has become a contentious battle between the old-guard and a duo of progressives. Current Bedford-Stuyvesant Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright has won over the endorsement of outgoing Senator Velmanette Montgomery, who has held the post since 1984. Former Montgomery staffer Jason Salmon and Prospect Heights educator Jabari Brisport have duked it out over endorsements from various progressive stalwarts — including Brisport, who is the chosen candidate of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Despite missing out on endorsements from LGBTQ+ political organizations, Brisport, who is gay, leads the pack in fundraising, reporting $128,658 at the most recent filing period, compared to $54,900 for Salmon, and just $15,425 for Wright. 

Assembly District 43 (Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush) 

The race for the Crown Heights assembly seat has escalated into an intraparty mudslinging fest. Former Independent Democratic Caucus member Jesse Hamilton, who was voted out of his central Brooklyn senate seat after caucusing with Republicans, is looking to return to Albany by challenging incumbent Assemblywoman Diana Richardson. 

In a 37 minute Facebook live address to supporters posted June 7, Richardson lashed out at Hamilton, who she dubbed “Shamilton,” as well as the Kings County Democratic Party for their supposed support of the former senator — although the party bosses declined to officially endorse anyone in that election.

Assemblywoman Diana Richardson and Jesse Hamilton.Photos by Ben Verde

NY-9 Congressional District (Central and south Brooklyn)

The race for the congressional seat spanning from Sheepshead Bay to Park Slope, currently held by Rep. Yvette Clarke, has once again turned contentious. 

Clarke, who narrowly won reelection in 2018, faces multiple challenges this year — including Army veteran and community activist Isiah James, conservative Democratic City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, small business owner Lutchi Gayot, and progressive organizer Adem Bunkedekko. 

Deutsch, who has declined to participate in any public debates for the seat, has taken a scorched earth approach to the campaign — with his latest campaign ad featuring footage of recent anti-Semitic attacks in Brooklyn and looting following Black Lives Matter protests in Manhattan. 

Bunkeddeko, who lost a close election to Clarke in 2018, has received a number of important endorsements from local community leaders, as well as the New York Times editorial board, but has received criticsm for accepting money from police union lobbyists and Wall Street firms.  


NY-7 Congressional District (North Brooklyn)

Longtime Brooklyn Rep. Nydia Velazquez faces a challenge from eclectic Buckwick rapper and street performer Paperboy Love Prince, who had their name legally changed to his stage name so that it appears that way on the ballot.

Assembly District 51 (Sunset Park, Red Hook) 

In the race for Sunset Park’s assembly seat 26-year incumbent Felix Ortiz, whose office has been mired in controversy after an embezzlement scandal last year, is facing three challengers. Marcela Mitaynes, Katherine Walsh, and Genesis Aquino have each thrown their hat in the ring to take on the long-time Assemblyman. While Walsh, an urban planner and Community Board 7 member leads the pack in fundraising among the challengers having amassed a war chest of over $100,000 at the last filing period, Mitaynes, a tenant organizer who has made housing the primary focus of her campaign in the gentrifying district, has focused on grassroots credentials, earning her endorsements from the Democratic Socialists of America and the Sunrise Movement.

Assembly District 50 (Greenpoint, Williamsburg)

Community activist Emily Gallagher is taking on 47-year incumbent Joe Lentol for his dynastic assembly seat, which was held by his father Edward Lentol before he took it over in 1972 — years before Gallagher was born.

Assembly District 57 (Fort Greene, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill) 

Incumbent Assemblyman Walter Mosley faces a stiff challenge from upstart candidate Phara Souffrant Forrest, a lifelong Crown Heights resident and union nurse — who, despite being a card carrying member of the New York State Nurses Association, did not receive their endorsement. 

Assemblyman Walter Mosley and Phara Souffrant Forrest.Phara for Assembly/Stefano Giovanni

Council District 37 (Bushwick) 

What was a once a contentious race has turned out to be a cakewalk for party-favorite Darma Diaz, who once faced three challengers in the race to replace Councilman Rafael Espinal before all three other candidates were booted from the ballot, in a decision made final by a recent State Supreme Court Decision. 

NY-10 Congressional District (Red Hook) 

Longtime politico Rep. Jerry Nadler faces a challenge from progressive activist Lindsey Boylan and 25-year-old former Andrew Yang staffer Jonathan Herzog. 

Boylan calls the district “the most unequal district in the nation,” and has made income inequality, housing reform, climate change, and mental health issues the centerpieces of her campaign. 

Herzog is running on a progessive platform of universal basic income, universal healthcare, and publicly funded elections. 

NY-12 Congressional District (Williamsburg) 

Incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney is facing challenges from 36-year-old former Obama campaign staffer Suraj Patel and self-described Democratic Socialist comedian Lauren Ashcraft. 

Patel is mounting his second challenge for the tri-borough district, after falling short in the 2018 primary. 

NY-11 (Bay Ridge, Staten Island) 

For the borough’s only Republican primary, rock-to-ridge Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis will take on prosecutor Joe Caldarera in the race to challenge Rep. Max Rose in the November general election.