Turnout has been low during early voting in NYC mayoral primary races

The fiercely competitive primary races for mayor are not galvanizing voters to rush early to the polls, according to the city Board of Elections.

Voters have the option to cast ballots during nine days of early voting offered at more than 100 polling sites ahead of next Tuesday’s primary election.

Through the first four days of early voting, 64,288 voters cast ballots in the first citywide ranked choice primary election.

There are more than 3.6 million active registered Democrats and 500,000 Republicans eligible to vote in the primary races for mayor and other offices — or more than 4.1 million voters combined.

That means less than 2 percent of eligible primary voters have cast ballots thus far.

People fill out ballots during early voting for the New York primary election at the Brooklyn Museum voting station in New York City, U.S.
The low turnout at early voting does not necessarily mean fewer people will head to the polls on primary day.
Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

The breakdown through Tuesday: 20,754 voted in Brooklyn; 20,181 in Manhattan; 12,301 in Queens; 7,591 in The Bronx and 3,460 on Staten Island.

“We were prepared for a larger turnout for early voting. It’s certainly not a high turnout,” said Board of Elections president Fred Umane.

“I don’t know why voters aren’t coming. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing ads about one of the candidates or about how to fill out your ranked choice ballot.”

But the low turnout thus far does not mean that more voters won’t head to the polls on Tuesday, political analysts said.

Overview of early voting site, before arrival of NYC Democratic candidate Andrew Yang for early voting this morning at 160 W 60 st.
So far, less than 2 percent of eligible primary voters have cast a ballot in early voting.
Robert Miller

A recent survey of 950 likely city Democratic voters conducted by lobbying firm Capalino & Company with the Honan Strategy Group found that a majority of voters — 61 percent — said they would vote in person next Tuesday, primary day.

Only 21 percent of respondents said they would cast ballots during the nine days of early voting, while nine percent said they would vote via absentee ballot. Another ten percent said they hadn’t decided.

Election analysts said projecting turnout is even more difficult because of the new ranked-choice voting system.

Table where voters bring ballots that do not scan because they may not be filled out properly.
There are over 100 polling spots where NYC residents can vote.
Robert Miller

Also, primary elections turnout is typically much lower than say last year’s general presidential election. Many polling sites had hours long lines during early voting last November.

But during the last competitive Democratic primary for mayor in 2013, only about 700,000 or 20 percent of registered Democrats cast ballots. Mayor de Blasio won that contest.

The eight candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for mayor include Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, ex-de Blasio legal counsel Maya Wiley, city Comptroller Scott Stringer, former city and federal housing director Shaun Donovan, retired Citigroup executive Ray McGuire and former not-profit-group executive Dianne Morales.

Overview of early voting site, before arrival of NYC Democratic candidate Andrew Yang for early voting this morning at 160 W 60 st.
About 64,000 votes were cast through the first four days of early voting.
Robert Miller

The Republican primary pits Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa against taxi driver-bodega advocate Fernando Mateo.

Metro | New York Post

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