The upcoming August 23rd primary is officially inching closer with early voting underway. New York City, because of a redrawing of voting lines, is slated to elect or reelect U.S. House of Representatives and state senators next week. 

Early voting began this Saturday with worries of a low turnout compared to the June primary this year. As of Monday, Aug. 15, there’s a total of 24,291 unofficial early voters, tweeted the Board of Elections (BOE). For the June primary this year, there were 86,890 unofficial early voters added in to make a total of 369,138 votes by Election Day on June 28, said BOE. That’s a significant drop from the ​​1,014,609 total votes in 2021’s June primary.

Most officials view the low turnout as a symptom of the city and state holding two primaries in addition to a general election this year, which is unusual. Every 10 years the voting district maps across a state are redrawn based on census data in a process called redistricting. After months of partisan and public fighting over the maps, the city is using congressional and state senate maps designated in the courts by an outside special master this August. 

The more closely watched races feature U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler,  U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and Suraj Patel in congressional District 12, and Councilmember Carlina Rivera, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, and lawyer Daniel Goldman in the newly formed congressional District 10.

There are many more state senate races across the boroughs, such as Gustavo Rivera in District 33 in the Bronx, Andrew Gounardes in District 26 in Brooklyn, Cordell Cleare in District 30 in Harlem, Elizabeth Crowley in District 59 in Queens, and Jessica Scarcella-Spanton in District 23        in Staten Island.

“It’s been busy,” said Cleare about campaigning this season for reelection, “a lot of organizing, making sure you have everything in place and that people know that there’s even an election happening. I think I’ve worked pretty hard to get the vote out and I hope that it happens. No one can predict these things.”

As early voting winds down, it’s important to note that the deadline to return absentee ballots is Aug. 23 on Election Day. Due to a recent change in the law, New York State voters can’t cast a ballot on a voting machine if they have already requested an absentee ballot, said the BOE. If a voter still shows up in person to vote they will have to use an affidavit. If the voter’s absentee ballot isn’t received, the affidavit ballot will be counted.

Early Voting ends Sunday, Aug. 21. Election Day is Tuesday, Aug. 23. Check registration, get info about candidates, or find your polling site at: www.nycvotes.org/

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w

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