Think global, vote local: Everything you need to know about NYC’s local elections in 2017

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Borough President Eric Adams, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Public Advocate Letitia James are all up for reelection in November. Via websites.

While the happy liberal bubble that is NYC probably won’t vote anyone drastic into office this year (although Mayor Pizza Rat would be an interesting social experiment) brace for a good deal of local government turnover in 2017: 59 city offices are up for vote in November. The mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough presidents and all 51 City Council seats will be on the ballot this fall for New Yorkers to reelect, dethrone or, as most of the country did in November’s Presidential election, do nothing and leave it to the rest of the city to decide.

The races are all still young, and with most of the city still reeling from Trump’s unpresidented (get it?) seizing of the highest office in the free world, it’s easy to forget how important 2017 is for NYC politics. While you may be convinced humanity has doomed itself and democracy to an orange-colored destruction, it’s important to take whatever time we have remaining and channel your frustrations with the incoming federal administration into local politics. Indeed, local politics are sometimes, both in the long and short term, more consequential than national politics (and more fun too, in my humble opinion).

Don’t be just a once-every-four-years-voter, pay attention to what’s happening in your community and you’ll not only be more informed but can also hold it over the heads of those who aren’t paying attention.

Registering to vote and voting dates in 2k17

The 2017 general election will be on Nov. 7. Primaries for all parties, which usually determine the mayoral election, will be on September 12.

Voters must be registered to vote 25 days before the election (by Oct. 13), and registered for their party 25 days before the primaries (by Aug. 18). New York primaries are closed primaries, so if you’re registered to vote but haven’t registered with a party by deadline, you’ll only be able to vote in the general election. If you can’t remember your registration status, check online now.

Mayor: Who will try to chop down Mayor Tall? 

While de Blasio is currently waging war with The Post, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Republican party and plenty of anti-development activists, he’s still a surprisingly strong mayoral candidate, and may very well earn himself a second term if no better competitor comes forward.

In large part, de Blasio’s bounce-back from bleak approval ratings is due to his positioning of himself as the IDNYC data deleting, sanctuary city upholding, anti-Trump mayor.

Currently, the New York City Campaign Finance Board lists 11 mayoral contenders, including Harlem minister and former New York Jet Michel J. Faulkner, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and The Rent Is Too Damn High Movement founder Jimmy McMillan.

Not on the list is Hillary Clinton. According to the New York Times, however, there is bipartisan internet speculation that she’s maybe considering running and hasn’t even confirmed that she’s not. The internet has never been wrong before, so probably it’ll happen.

Borough President: One Tough Cop, One Unopposed Candidate

While Marty Markowitz left some big shoes to fill (he put a Fuhgeddaboudit sign at the foot of the Verrazano for chrissake) longtime NYPD officer and former state Sen. Eric Adams has managed to have a similarly ubiquitous, peppy presence over his past three years as Borough Pres.

So far, none but the current Borough Presidents have filed as candidates for the gig. But the race is young. (Note: Only borough residents vote for their borough’s president.)

Public Advocate, a mayor-making position?

Public Advocate is New York City’s second highest ranking elected official and is something like a functional, personable 311 that actually gets things done. De Blasio served in the role before he ran for mayor. Currently, we’re being represented by Letitia James, producer of the simultaneously hated and beloved annual Worst Landlords List.

James has long considered a mayoral run, but is currently only contending for reelection as Public Advocate, according to the Campaign Finance Board.

Comptroller, aka a good kind of troll

The Comptroller’s job is to keep his/her eye on fellow politicians, making sure all city agencies are using taxpayers’ money efficiently. Like, inside-job cop/treasurer.

Right now, we’ve got Scott Stringer on the job in what is his second term. A Comptroller can be a Comptroller for up to two consecutive terms before a Comptroller can’t Comptroll anymore.

City Council: Like Congress but it actually gets stuff done in a reasonable amount of time 

Voted on every four years, the City Council is composed of 51 members, one from each council district. The City Council deals with the city budget and keeps the community boards in line and the mayor’s power in check. While they may seem like the behind the scenes tech crew who just makes sure their designated district doesn’t burn down and de Blasio doesn’t go power crazy, the Council actually has a massive say in where your tax dollars go and they have a huge impact on the quality of community awareness for programs like Participatory Budgeting.

You’ll only be voting on the council member representing your district. If you don’t know what district you’re in, figure it out with this nifty district-finder.

This year, some key issues City Council is facing include voting on a number of super impactful rezoning motions in Midtown and Gowanus (among other neighborhood), decreasing construction site fatalities through safety regulations, and creating a task force to resist Trump and his cronies, as well as a host of other important issues that may very well impact your daily life.

New York State, the jamboree in Albany

2017 is an odd year, meaning state elections in all but four states (one of which is New Jersey) are virtually on hold. Albany won’t be shakin’ thangs up till 2018.

Happy politics-ing!

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1 COMMENT

  1. One important piece of statewide business — as per the NYS Constitution, there is a decennial (i.e. every ten years) ballot referendum on whether to hold a constitutional convention. There are plenty of reasons to be for or against it (I tend to fall into the latter camp), with more info here: http://www.newyorkconcon.info/?page_id=202

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