As the day of the primary elections, June 22 marked a key day in 2021 for New York State. In primary elections, members of each party indicate who their preferred candidate is leading up to local or general elections. A candidate from each party is chosen to compete against the current position-holder (if they are seeking re-election) for the general elections. Primaries can be open or closed. Open primaries are open to the general public to vote, including to choose their preferred candidate from the other party, while closed primaries are restricted to members of each party. Most states now have open primaries, but New York remains one of the few with closed primaries. On June 22, primaries were held across the state in many local elections.
But there’s a problem. The results are not yet known, and they might not be known for a while. Although the main elections were on June 22, the city’s new ranked-choice voting system and absentee ballots means it could be several weeks before winners are determined. In the ranked-choice system, if one candidate does not get the majority of their party’s votes, the person in last place is eliminated over and over until a candidate wins a majority, hence the potential slowdowns. The first round of ranked-choice results will be announced on June 29.
The main story of New York’s 2021 primaries has been the mayoral race in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has been in office since 2014, and he has been quite controversial. Among these controversies were de Blasio’s arrest for protesting the closing of a hospital, his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, alleged scapegoating of the Jewish community, and his response to controversial matters regarding policing. Mayor de Blasio will not be able to run later this year due to his term limit. Following the main election on June 22, Democrat Eric Adams is ahead with 31.7 percent of the vote for Democrats, meaning the ranked-choice system will have to commence since Adams does not have a majority. Republican Curtis Sliwa had a large majority of the Republican votes at 71.9 percent, although he got much less votes than the leading Democrats. Sliwa will be running in the general elections in November, and Adams will likely join him once the ranked-choice system has completed.
In Onondaga County, contested governmental seats include Syracuse mayor, county legislative seats, town highway superintendents, and town board members. Mayor Ben Walsh (independent) has been in office since 2018, and he is seeking re-election later this year. Ahead in the polls for mayor following the main day primaries was Democrat Khalid Bey and Republican Janet Burman, with Bey leading Burman by about two thousand votes. Absentee ballots have not yet finished being counted. It is expected that Bey may win the election since current mayor Ben Walsh’s party may not even make it on the ballot, in which case he would have to do a write-in campaign.