Voting Season in New York is Here: A 2024 Elections Guide

Voting Season in New York is Here: A 2024 Elections Guide
The ballot sorting process in action at the Board of Elections in Queens. Credit: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

By Rachel Holliday Smith

New Yorkers, the 2024 voting season is here and presidential candidates aren’t the only ones on the ballots — with three different election days approaching.

While the race for the Oval Office is grabbing all the attention, don’t sleep on what else will be on your ballot this year. Here’s a quick guide for voters on the year in politics:

The first primary: Presidential

Early voting for our presidential primary starts Saturday, March 23 and runs through March 30 before Primary Day on Tuesday, April 2.

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Here’s where to look up your poll site and see who’s on the ballot. Heads up: For Democrats, there are two other candidates who will appear besides President Joe Biden. Rep. Dean Phillips, a House representative from Minnesota running on a Medicare for All platform, and Marianne Williamson, the spiritual leader and author, will also appear on Democratic ballots.

However, those candidates are running largely symbolically as both Biden and former president Donald Trump have each clinched their parties’ nominations with primary wins earlier this month.

Key dates for the presidential primary:

  • March 23: Voter registration deadline. Also the last day the city Board of Elections will receive applications for an early ballot by mail or an absentee ballot by mail.
  • March 23 to 30: Early voting period.
  • April 1: Last day the city Board of Elections can receive an in-person application for early mail voting or an absentee ballot. To apply in person, find your borough’s BOE office here.
  • April 2: Presidential primary day.

What’s up with blank ballots?

Some progressive Democrats have encouraged those who want to protest the president’s support of Israel to submit blank ballots in the presidential primary. It’s an effort to replicate protest-vote actions taken by pro-Palestinian Democrats in other states, most notably Michigan, to push Biden for a full ceasefire in Gaza. However, it may take a long time to find out how many Democrats here take that symbolic step; the state Board of Elections told City & State it will not release the tally of blank ballots until it certifies the results, which can take weeks.

The second primary: State districts and Congress

Get ready to vote all over again on June 25 when New York has its second primary of 2024. That election will include all state-level seats — for the state Assembly and Senate — as well as Congressional contests.

Who will be on your ballot then? We don’t officially know since the process of getting on the ballot is happening now. (More on that below.)

Wait, am I even in the same district? Didn’t the lines change?

There’s been a lot of back and forth about the shape of political boundaries in New York, and the last chapter came in late February when Albany lawmakers adopted a new Congressional map that slightly altered previous lines, affecting only one House district in New York City — the northwest Bronx represented by Rep. Jamaal Bowman. Below is Bowman’s newly drawn district map:

Petitioning: Why are candidates on the street asking for signatures?

All the candidates who want to run in June’s primary are right now working to ensure their name appears on that ballot. To do that, they need to collect a lot of signatures from members of their party who live in the district where they’re running. That process is called petitioning, and it happens in March and early April. Here’s our guide on the petition process, including advice from experts on whether or not you should sign a petition if asked.

Small dollars, public matching: Changes to campaign finance system

Another factor at play this election season: Donations to state campaigns are now potentially eligible for taxpayer-covered campaign funds to match donations from supporters who live in the district. The system will use public dollars to match donations up to $250.

The new campaign finance scheme is already affecting races for state offices, the Albany Times Union reports. The system is intended to make it easier for non-incumbents to launch races, and for candidates without deep pockets to run.

Are New York voters using ranked choice voting in 2024?

No, there is no ranked choice voting in this year’s primaries because ranked choice applies only to local New York City races, and this year’s primaries are for state and federal offices.

Can non-U.S. citizens vote in New York’s 2024 elections?

No, non-citizens cannot vote in any New York elections. Though city lawmakers passed a local law in 2022 that would have paved the way for some non-citizen residents to vote in city elections, it faced immediate legal challenges and a state appeals court ruled in February that the law was unconstitutional.

What else is on the ballot in 2024?

For the general election, we know for sure one thing will appear: a question for voters on whether to amend the state constitution.

The ballot measure seeks to update the state constitution’s Equal Protection Clause to enshrine equal protection of the law for citizens regardless of their “ethnicity, national origin, age [or] disability,” or their “sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive healthcare and autonomy,” Read more about the proposal here from Ballotpedia, the nonpartisan digital encyclopedia nonprofit.

Proponents of the change include many leading Democrats in the state, including Gov. Kathy Hochul and Sen. Kristin Gillibrand, and Planned Parenthood.

This article was published by THE CITY on March 21, 2024.

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