WHAT ARE THE TOP RACES?
Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul is running to become the state’s first elected female governor against Republican U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island. North Country voters will cast ballots for the 21st Congressional District seat held by Republican incumbent Rep. Elise Stefanik. Her opponent, Matt Castelli, is a former CIA agent and director for counterterrorism on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council.
Polls close at 9 p.m. in New York.
HOW DO NEW YORKERS VOTE?
As of Feb. 21, 2022, there were 12,982,819 registered voters in New York, including 6.47 million registered Democrats and 2.85 million registered Republicans. 2020 saw a seismic shift towards early voting, with advance ballots making up 4.4 million (50%) of 8.69 million votes cast.
The deadline to request absentee ballots was Oct. 24. Mail ballots must be returned in person by Nov. 8; those being sent by mail must be postmarked by Nov. 8, and received by Nov. 15.
About 552,000 absentee ballots have been sent out with more than 188,000 returned so far, according to the state Board of Elections.
WHAT’S CHANGED SINCE THE PANDEMIC ELECTION OF 2020?
New York expanded absentee voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic to allow voters to choose to vote by mail. A deluge of absentee ballots in 2020 led to some lengthy delays in vote-counting.
A new law passed in 2021 allows the Board of Elections to begin processing mail ballots prior to Election Day, though it cannot begin tabulating results until an hour prior to the poll close on election day. Mail ballots represented 21% of the 2020 vote in New York but will be a much smaller slice this year.
Population losses upstate and gains downstate may impact the balance of power in congressional district and state senate races. Further re-districting of the state assembly has been ordered for 2024.
WHEN WILL WE KNOW THE RESULTS?
The first reports of voting results from New York City are expected to be received as early as 9:05 p.m. Results from the rest of the state may start to trickle in about 20 minutes later. It is likely that these early vote totals will reflect advance and mail ballots. Returns will continue to come in over the next few hours.
WHAT IF THERE ARE RECOUNTS?
New York law provides for mandatory recounts if the margin of victory is 20 votes or less, is less than 0.5% or, in a contest where over 1 million ballots are cast, is less than 5,000 votes. This would occur after the state’s statutory recanvass.
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