NEW YORK CITY — Early voting for New York’s primary will begin Saturday at about 80 locations in New York City, but election officials hope as many people vote by mail as possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Precautions will be taken at all early voting sites, including personal protective equipment, individual styluses and dividers.
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot, which all New Yorkers can do, is Tuesday, a week before Election Day on June 23.
The New York City Board of Elections has been less than transparent about how many absentee ballots have gone out for the primary. It has only said that at the end of May there were about 250,000 requests for ballots, half of which had been filled.
At the Board of Elections’ last meeting, there was only one statement made about the process: “Absentee ballots are still being received, and going out daily. Staff is doing a great job processing.”
New York is a closed primary state, meaning you must be a registered Democrat or Republican to vote.
There are several key races to keep an eye on, even with the race at the top of Democratic ticket a non-factor, former Vice President Joe Biden having clinched his party’s presidential nomination.
This is also the first cycle since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise primary win, which is fueling more bold attempts to unseat incumbents.
Here are some other New York races to watch:
New York Congressional District 15: Democratic primary
This is the race to replace retiring Rep. Jose Serrano in the South Bronx. A recent poll showed this a very tight race between two New York City councilmen.
Ritchie Torres Jr. is the first openly gay lawmaker in the history of the Bronx. Ruben Diaz Sr. has the support of the Police Benevolent Association, but has a history of making controversial comments and was nearly kicked off the City Council last year for making anti-LGBTQ comments.
Other candidates include City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, state Assemb. Michael Blake, and former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
New York Congressional District 16: Democratic primary
This is longtime Rep. Eliot Engel’s district, which includes the North Bronx and lower Westchester County. His main opponent is educator Jamaal Bowman, who has been endorsed by popular progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Engel has looked vulnerable following a recent hot mic moment. He was jostling for more speaking time at an event following looting in the Bronx when he said: “If I didn’t have a primary, I wouldn’t care.”
The two recently participated in a feisty debate where Bowman accused Engel of losing touch with the district. Engel tried to paint Bowman as an outsider.
New York Congressional District 10: Democratic primary
Rep. Jerry Nadler has serious primary challengers for the first time in his 28-year congressional career.
The district includes the west side of Manhattan and a sliver of Brooklyn’s shoreline to remain continuous before grabbing Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Kensington.
His challengers are Lindsey Boylan, a former deputy secretary of economic development under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Jonathan Herzog, a former staffer of Andrew Yang, who ran in the Democratic presidential primary but dropped out.
New York Congressional District 9: Democratic primary
Rep. Yvette Clarke will face a tough challenge in Brooklyn from several candidates, including Adem Bunkeddeko, who she narrowly defeated in 2018, and Isiah James, a decorated Army veteran and housing advocate.
New York Congressional District 11: Republican primary
Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis is running against prosecutor Joseph Caldarera. The winner will be part of the most hotly contested New York City general election contest vs. incumbent Democrat Max Rose.
New York Congressional District 2: Both parties
This is the race to replace longtime Rep. Peter King, who is retiring. It will be one of the most closely contested general elections in the state in November.
Jackie Gordon, U.S. Army veteran and school teacher
Patricia Maher, lawyer and activist
Andrew Garbarino, state assemblyman
Michael LiPetri, state assemblyman