It’s Friday. We’ll look at the election in New York City, where early voting begins tomorrow, a prelude to Election Day on Nov. 2.
This is a week for election rituals: the candidates for mayor faced off in a debate on Wednesday, and tomorrow, early voting begins in New York City. Here is a guide to navigating the 11 days between now and Election Day on Nov. 2.
Where can I vote early, and when?
You can early vote on any of nine consecutive days starting tomorrow. Your early voting polling place may be different from your Election Day polling place: Only 106 will be open for early voting, not quite 9 percent of the 1,220 that will be open across the city on Nov. 2.
This poll site locator from the Board of Elections will tell you where you can vote early and when, because the hours for early voting begin earlier some days than others.
The locator also tells you where your Election Day polling place will be, along with enough numbers to call a play at the Meadowlands: your assembly district, your City Council district, your election district and your judicial district, among others.
You don’t need to take identification to vote — unless you are a first-time voter and did not register in person.
Will there be long lines, as there were last year?
Maybe, maybe not. “The nature of the election event this year is different from last year,” said Jarret Berg, a voting rights advocate and a co-founder of the group VoteEarlyNY. “In a year after the presidential, we just won’t see the same volume.”
And many races, like the contest for mayor, were largely decided in the June primary, because registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in the city by nearly seven to one. The Democratic nominee for mayor, Eric Adams, is considered the clear front-runner against the Republican nominee, Curtis Sliwa.
There are two other citywide races (for public advocate and comptroller); a borough president’s race in each borough; and City Council races in each district.
There are no national races, as there were last year. Nor are there congressional races.
But there are five ballot proposals this time around. You can give your thumbs-up or thumbs-down to same-day voter registration (which could allow registration less than the current 10 days before Election Day) and to no-excuse absentee voting (which would mean that you could vote by mail without having to say you cannot vote in person because you are out of town, ill or physically disabled).
Will there be ranked-choice voting, as in the June primary?
No, except in two special elections — and it won’t matter in one, because only one candidate is running.
That is in the Bronx, where Yudelka Tapia is running for the remaining year of Assemblyman Victor Pichardo’s term. Pichardo, a Democrat, resigned last month. Tapia lost a bid for the City Council in June.
Will my absentee ballot be counted?
So far, this election does not look like a rerun of last year — when the Board of Election sent out nearly 100,000 ballot packages with the wrong names and addresses — or the June primary, when the board accidentally released incorrect vote totals for the mayoral primary. (It had to retract and recount.)
“Our lovely Board of Elections — let’s hope they get it right this time,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday. He has long complained about the Board of Elections, going back at least to problems with voting machines in the 2010 primary.
John Kaehny, the executive director of the watchdog group Reinvent Albany, said there had been “no early warning signs of hurricane-type election failure.” But he said the board had had trouble recruiting people to work at the polls. Understaffing could cause problems once voting begins, he said.
Is Curtis Sliwa the only member of his household running for office?
No. His wife, Nancy, is the Republican candidate for City Council in a district on the Upper West Side. The Democratic candidate is Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, who could not run for a third term because of term limits.
The district is heavily Democratic, but Nancy Sliwa said during a debate with Brewer that she was not “a traditional Republican” and had once supported Senator Bernie Sanders.
The debate was conducted remotely, and as she spoke two cats leapt onto a ledge behind her in the 320-square-foot apartment where the Sliwas live with more than a dozen cats. In 2018, when she ran for state attorney general, Newsday and The New York Post said that her platform revolved around animal rights.
It’s a mostly sunny fall day, New York — cooler than yesterday, with temps only reaching the 60s. They will drop to the mid-50s on a mostly cloudy evening. Watch out for a chance of showers over the weekend.
In effect until Nov. 1 (All Saints Day).
In the mid-2000s, I worked for a company with offices on Park Avenue. I lived in Denver then and would fly to New York for meetings several times a year, staying at the company’s suites at the Waldorf Towers.
I often had breakfast at the hotel’s Coffee House, at 50th Street on the Lexington Avenue side. My usual order was tea and toast. The tea was served in a small pink teapot with a silver rim, a Waldorf signature.
The little teapots became a comforting morning staple on these trips. I was served by the same waitress over a period of years, and I often mentioned to her how I loved the teapots.
In October 2014, I read that the Waldorf had been sold. Then, while on my next trip to New York, I was notified that my company would be merging my division with one in Fort Worth and that I, along with 300 others, would be laid off. The trip would be my last.
The next morning I had my usual breakfast at the Coffee House. My waitress had also been told that she would soon be laid off. I said I would miss her and, of course, my little pink teapots.
It was my last morning at the hotel and I had already checked out. My travel bag was open on the floor next to the booth where I was sitting. I stepped away for a few minutes, returned, tipped the waitress and left for the last time. It was a sad morning.
When I got home to Denver and unpacked my bag, I found a little pink teapot wrapped in a hotel napkin along with a note. It said all of the old Waldorf china and silver was to be sold and that this was a souvenir from my many breakfasts there, compliments of a longtime friend.
— Mary F. Cook
Glad we could get together here. See you on Monday. — J.B.