New York’s 2022 election process so far has been, at best, chaotic. District lines have been shifted more than once thanks to multiple snafus with the census-based redistricting process, candidates have hopped in and out of races, and election dates have been changed — all in the last few months.
But there’s still a primary just a few weeks away, on June 28. If you’re confused about where to vote and who you’re voting for, you’re not alone! Use this guide to catch up on what’s happened and what’s going to appear on your ballot this month — and, maybe more importantly, what won’t.
What happened with redistricting?
New York (and the rest of the country) redraws its political districts every ten years, after the results of the most recent census count come in. Each congressional, state Senate, and Assembly district is supposed to contain roughly the same number of people, so lawmakers shift district lines to keep things equal.
Redistricting is also an opportunity for gerrymandering, when a political party draws lines that benefit their own candidates — allowing incumbents to keep their seats or setting new candidates up for success by drawing together populations with similar political interests to vote in one bloc, which can result in some wonky-looking districts.
Last year, the nonpartisan Independent Redistricting Commission was supposed to spearhead drawing New York’s new maps, but couldn’t produce a final product in time, allowing the state’s Democratic-majority state government to take the reins.
Those maps, which would have handily kept Democrats in power, were released to mixed reaction in January — and a state court quickly deemed the congressional and state Senate maps unconstitutional and appointed a “Special Master” to produce replacements.
The court also recommended that the state Senate and congressional primaries be moved to August, to allow time for the Special Master’s maps to be finalized and for candidates to petition and campaign.
But amid all that, the Assembly maps and the date of the Assembly primary was untouched, so New Yorkers will be headed to the polls twice this summer – and the first election is just over two weeks away.
When am I voting?
Polls will be open on Tuesday, June 28, from 6a.m. to 9p.m.
Early voting begins on Saturday, June 18, and runs through Sunday, June 26, with early voting sites open from 9a.m. to 5 p.m on June 18, 19, 20, 25, and 26, 10 a.m to 8 p.m. on June 21 and 22, 10 a.m. to 6p.m. on June 23, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 24.
There are different poll sites for absentee voting and election day, and your poll site may have changed since the last election. Enter your home address on the vote.nyc website to see your polling places and a sample ballot.
Voters can also apply to vote absentee online.
Who is on the ballot?
The state Senate, Assembly, and congressional races have been the hot item this year, but June’s ballot won’t be just one line — the primary also includes candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, judgeships, and positions within local political parties like the county committee and the judicial delegates. Smaller, local elections are very important, especially given the structure of New York City’s parties.
Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor will be the same across the borough (and the state, for that matter,) but Kings County is home to 21 different Assembly districts with different candidates in each one. Use the vote.nyc “Understanding the Ballot” tool to see who’s running in your neighborhood — and keep an eye out for a breakdown of each Assembly candidate in Brooklyn Paper soon!
In some districts, you may not see Assembly candidates listed — that’s usually because there was only one person from each party running, so they’ve won by default. For example, if you’re in AD52, represented by Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, you won’t see her name on the ballot because no Democrat decided to run against her.
And, if you feel like you just voted in an Assembly race, you might have — Monique Chandler-Waterman won a special election to represent AD58 last month, and she’ll hold the seat at least until the end of the year, but she and Hercules Reid, a former staffer of Mayor Eric Adams, will still appear on the primary ballot for the following term, which begins in January 2023.
Was I redistricted?
Probably, at least in some capacity! You might be in three totally new districts, or you may sit firmly within the bounds of the ones you’ve been voting in for years. The City has a handy tool for you to see your old and new district lines for the Assembly, state Senate, and Congress — just type in your address to get a quick answer and see the new maps.
Be sure to check in on which districts you’re in and who’s running ahead of time, in case you find yourself looking at a ballot with some unfamiliar names. You’ll also want to make note of your new (or old) state Senate and congressional districts, since campaigning is in full swing.
What comes next?
Read up on candidates, find out where and when you’re voting, and be sure to cast your vote this month — and remember to do the same come August! The general election for all of these seats is in November.