The Newsletter That Never Sleeps- Edition #9, 6/17/21
Once more unto the breach? It’s…
THE NEWSLETTER THAT NEVER SLEEPS
- Your weekly five borough briefing -
This is the ninth edition of The Newsletter That Never Sleeps, from June 17, 2021. Any new subscribers can read all previous editions, which include breakdowns of local races, ranked choice voting, public safety and COVID recovery here. Welcome!
It cannot be denied- after a five day sabbatical in sunny Florida, I am, indeed, back in the New York groove. This edition is going to be a little different, as it’s the last time we’ll be meeting before Election Day. Time flies so quickly! I want to present as clear a picture as I can on the state of the major races before polls close on Tuesday, and answer any questions you guys might have about what exactly we’re all voting on.
There was also quite a bit of news this week- the news is always happening, it never stops- so I’ll quickly recap some of the big stories of the last week to loop you all in. Oh, and there were two mayoral debates since the last edition, but there was very little of substance offered across either debate. I won’t bore you with the details, but you can watch them here if you’d like to hear Shaun Donovan talk about working for Obama.
By this time next week, we’ll have… some sort of closure, and we’ll talk about that below. But worry not- this newsletter will be here same time, same day, same channel next week to examine the aftermath.
Without further ado…
WHAT IS ON MY BALLOT?
This may have flown under the radar, but there’s an election next week. In fact, there’s a lot of elections. This is the first year that the New York City municipal elections, which occur the year after the presidential election, will happen in June as opposed to September- and the first time the city is using ranked choice voting in citywide races.
The abridged primary season has allowed for a lot of chaos on the campaign trail, and left a lot of voters in the dark as to what exactly is going on. Voter turnout is already embarrassingly low in NYC primaries- elections that occur the year after the presidential election are always subject to low civil engagement, which is a feature, not a bug, of the primary schedule. Exhausted voters stay at home, and reliable voters with a closer relationship with the local political establishment decide the next batch of local leaders.
Not great for democracy, but what can you do?
So, when you’re filling out your ballot on Tuesday (or beforehand, if you want to vote early or send in an absentee ballot), what will you be voting on? What exactly is on the ballot differs from borough to borough and district to district, but there are three races that will appear on every Democrat and Republican’s ballot, and they’ll all be conducted through ranked choice voting:
The Mayoral Primary- We’re picking a new Mayor! Though there are competitive primaries in both the Democratic and Republican columns, NYC’s heavy blue tint all but assures that the winner of the Democratic primary will win the general election in November.
The Mayor is the city executive, sort of like the President of our little town. They’re responsible for setting forth the legislative agenda, appointing heads of all city agencies and the NYPD commissioner, and drafting the budget. The Mayor, importantly, is also the chief negotiator in Albany to get state and federal funding for the city; the Mayor is not all-powerful, and much of their power is limited by the state legislature and the Governor’s office.
While Andrew Yang kicked off the primary with a commanding lead with more than double the support of his nearest opponent, as voters began to tune into the race and worries over rising violent crime eclipsed concerns over economic recovery, the race became a tight four-way contest between Yang, Borough President Eric Adams, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, and Former de Blasio Counsel Maya Wiley.
The City Comptroller Primary- I used to think “comptroller” was just a really funny, obscure title until I actually learned what the Comptroller does; the Comptroller is essentially the Secretary of the New York Club, managing all of the money, contracts and audits going in and out of the city. In other words, it’s a really important job.
The incoming Comptroller will be taking on the critical responsibility of overseeing the city’s spending of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan, most of which has yet to be earmarked, and, without a thorough spending plan, could easily dry up within the next year.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who was previously running for Mayor, held a very comfortable lead over all of his opponents (mostly due to name ID and the fact that not many people pay attention to the Comptroller race), though a concerted effort by progressives and some Democratic establishment types to prop up left-leaning City Councilman Brad Lander seems to have paid off as polls have tightened between the two over the last few weeks.
The Public Advocate Primary- The Public Advocate (Bill de Blasio’s title before his rise to the mayoralty) is a weird role. The PA is first in line to succeed the Mayor should the sitting Mayor become unable to fulfill their duties, and serves as a non-voting member of the City Council who is supposed to serve a liaison between the city’s public and legislative body.
Other than that, they don’t do much. Most Republican PA candidates have run on the premise of abolishing the office, claiming the position is a waste of public spending. Incumbent PA Jumaane Williams, a rising star in NYC progressive politics, is expected to cruise to reelection.
Additionally, nearly everyone will be voting on their City Council representative- If the Mayor is the President of New York City, the City Council is like a 51 person House of Representatives (and Senate, I suppose). They’re the legislative body of New York City, draft bills at the behest of their community or donors, and send legislation to the Mayor for final approval.
I can’t quite go over every City Council candidates, as there are hundreds, but you can learn about who’s running for City Council in your district here.
Though some of these races may be gimmes, we won’t have official winners of these races until mid-July, at the earliest, as the software used to run ranked choice voting simulations won’t start counting until the week of July 12.
Then there’s the local races- specific to each borough, some races more important than others, and, importantly, not conducted through ranked choice voting. Since there won’t be any need to sort through ranked choice ballots to determine a winner, we’ll probably know the winners of these races on Election Night, or in the following week if absentee ballots could tip the balance in a close race:
The Borough President- If the Mayor is the President, the City Council is Congress, then the Borough Presidents are… Governors? Sort of? They don’t have much power other than appointing members to local boards, making some executive decisions on spending and getting access to the Mayor’s ear to advocate for borough funding.
There are pretty competitive races for BP in Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Queens BP Donovan Richards is expected to recapture his party’s nomination.
The District Attorney- There are only two DA races in 2021, and Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez is expected to keep his seat. All eyes are on the Manhattan DA race, as longtime District Attorney Cy Vance is stepping aside, and there’s no clear frontrunner.
The next Manhattan DA will not only be taking on one of the largest prosecutorial offices in the country as national anxiety about violent crime and police violence grows to a fever pitch, but will likely oversee the ongoing criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump.
Prosecutor Tali Farhadian-Weinstein, who has very close ties to venture capital and Wall Street, has spent millions of her own dollars to prop up a campaign in a very crowded race. There’s been little coverage of the race, so Farhadian’s self-funded campaign to win the most important DA’s office in the country has flown largely under the radar- but it’s worried plenty of progressives, who see the opening in the Manhattan DA’s office as once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a sea change in how NYC balances crime, safety and power.
There are also some judicial races, which vary from county to county. Most of the judicial elections will fill vacancies in the Civil Court, which mostly handles small claims court. You can find out who’s running for judgeships in your area here.
And that’s your ballot! In citywide races and City Council races, you can rank up to five candidates on the ballot- though just one is also acceptable. For elections specific to your county, you can only choose one candidate- so choose carefully!
QUICK NEWS BITES: IS THERE POWER IN A UNION?/WHERE IN THE WORLD IS ERIC ADAMS?
In his attacks on Andrew Yang, Eric Adams boasts that, unlike Yang, he never left New York City during the worst of the pandemic.
Why, then, does it seem like he secretly lives in New Jersey?
News broke on June 8th that journalists and some opposition campaign staffers witnessed Eric Adams entering Brooklyn Borough Hall after midnight several nights in a row, not to emerge until around 5 in the morning for a full day on the campaign trail.
Adams had previously stated that, during the pandemic, he had been effectively living in Borough Hall in order to offer his service as Borough President 24 hours a day. After some digging from POLITICO, it’s unclear that he ever left.
POLITICO also brought up discrepancies between the addresses Adams claimed as his permanent residence on his tax returns, campaign mailers and political contributions. Then, when investigating Zoom recordings of calls Adams had made to the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, POLITICO found that Adams was participating in several conferences completely outside of New York City- the background was clearly from the co-op he owns with his partner in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
So where, exactly, does Eric Adams live? If you ask Adams, he’ll say he lives in Bed-Stuy, where he invited reporters into a unit he owns and claims to share with his son. Indeed, his son’s personal belongings were there, but there wasn’t much in the apartment that seemed to belong to Adams. There was only one bed, and the refrigerator was stocked with meat and dairy products. Adams is a vegan.
Adams’ voter registration has him living in Bed Stuy, although when reporters visited the apartment on Lafayette St., the current tenant claimed that he was completely unaware that Adams had residency in the apartment.
The confusion over where exactly Eric Adams lives, be it in his office in Borough Hall, or with his partner in New Jersey, sparked a wave of backlash from Adams’ opponents, who claimed the confusion over Adams’ residence is part of a larger track record of Adams’ lack of transparency in his professional and personal life.
At the end of the day, it’s sort of a nothing burger of a story. Maybe Adams stays with his partner on some nights and sleeps in his office on others. After releasing his EZPass receipts, which showed Adams taking only seven round trips to New Jersey in a campaign vehicle, the media circus around the story sort of died down.
The candidates spent about 10 minutes attacking Adams over his hypocrisy at last week’s debate, but all concluded that the voters of NYC were more concerned about how the candidates would tackle the issues facing the city. Short-lived as it was, it was a very, very funny story.
At the end of May, Dianne Morales, who was accumulating a decent number of young progressive voters to put together a somewhat formidable campaign, saw her electoral prospects collapse around her as a series of missteps and poor management decisions saw her campaign staffers unionize against her and eventually order a work stoppage. Her campaign manager and a senior adviser left the campaign shortly beforehand.
As progressives have coalesced around Maya Wiley, Morales has taken a nosedive in the polls, with recent surveys putting Morales within the margin of error of zero. Morales has largely stepped off the campaign trail to attempt to put out the fire within her own office.
That doesn’t seem to be going super well- after the Mayorales union rejected an independent mediator between management and the union, Morales rejected the union contract, and, days thereafter, terminated half of her campaign staff.
This is bad for Morales. We all get that. The focus of some of the discourse that I’m interested in, though, is the demands of the union that led Morales to shut down discussions altogether and drew the ire and mockery of former campaign staffers online. The Morales campaign is largely staffed by young, progressive first time employees who, in the eyes of veteran staffers, have unrealistic expectations of what you get out of a campaign.
The Morales union made some hefty demands, though not all of the details have been made public: in addition to healthcare coverage for a campaign intended to end in July, staffers demanded two weeks’ unconditional severance pay, even if staffers left the campaign voluntarily. A letter from the union outlined demands for a base pay of $25 an hour, and a minimum $4,000 a month salary for full time employees.
Campaign staffers rarely get that kind of treatment. Even the staffers of congressional leaders sometimes have to scrape by on low wages, and AOC made headlines in 2018 when she announced her staffers would receive a base pay of $15 an hour. Working on a campaign means very long, repetitive and uncomfortable hours, often getting paid late, and butting a lot of heads- but you do it all, ostensibly, for the love of the candidate and their message.
That’s just how it is. But is that how it has to be? Are the Mayorales staffers bright-eyed, naive Gen-Zers who don’t know how the world works, or have campaign staffers normalized and valorized unhealthy working environments to justify the mistreatment endemic to campaign work?
Maybe asking for unconditional severance pay is a little much, but the strongest unions were not built in one campaign (unionizing political campaigns is also fairly new), and if progressive staffers are working towards a new, progressive vision, shouldn’t that start in the workplace? Lord knows that unions, as they are today, don’t benefit the workers they represent in the way they used to.
Should we be laughing at these 20-year-old staffers, raised online and protected from the horrors of campaign reality, or are we so jaded by generations of worker mistreatment that we shun radical suggestions of a fairer working environment?
I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have any of the answers. I don’t even know my own name. But the evolution of political campaign unions, as well as what happens as younger staffers join the K Street veterans as they enter the workforce, is something I’m interested in keeping up with.
Senator Bernie Sanders announced a slate of endorsements for City Council, as well as a nod for Tahanie Aboushi for Manhattan District Attorney, Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate and Antonio Reynoso for Brooklyn Borough President.
The Senator has a close working relationship with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who released her lengthy list of City Council endorsements last week. Bernie’s endorsements in the city largely line up with those of the NYC Democratic Socialists of America, though Sanders also endorsed Moumita Ahmed in District 24. Ahmed is challenging James Gennaro, who previously represented the Queens district and is widely expected to win the primary.
Transportation-centric StreetsPAC and labor news outlet The Chief Leader endorsed Kathryn Garcia for Mayor. In a sign that the Democratic establishment isn’t putting all their eggs in one Eric Adams-shaped basket, a number of influential media outlets and PACs have come around to Garcia, who’s become very popular with transit activists, in the last few weeks. It’s notable that though Chief Leader is a popular labor magazine, Garcia has no consolidated labor support.
The New York Post endorsed Tali Farhadian-Weinstein for Manhattan District Attorney and Zach Iscol for Comptroller. The Post, which normally endorses Republicans, have cast their lot in the Democratic field this year, as no one expects any Republican candidates to run a competitive citywide campaign.
They endorsed Eric Adams earlier this year for his moderate positions on policing, and have brought out endorsements for Iscol (who is polling at 1%) and Farhadian-Weinstein for similar reasons. The Post put forth that Iscol and Farhadian-Weinstein would effectively lead their respective offices without giving too much lip service to the Left.
The New York Times endorsed Brad Lander for City Comptroller. In a pretty big move for the Times, the Ed Board endorsed the most left-leaning candidate in the Comptroller race over Corey Johnson, a softer progressive who hasn’t scared off large donors.
The Times argued that Lander has been one of the most effective members of the City Council (which is true, he is a prolific bill writer and does not let his colleagues off easily without a hearing) and is more dedicated to running the Comptroller’s office rather than using the office as a platform upon which to build a Mayoral campaign, as many suspect is Johnson’s plan.
The Reverend Al Sharpton endorsed… no one for Mayor. The Reverend’s endorsements held a lot of power back in the days when he used to give them out. Sharpton didn’t endorse in 2013, which was a slight against Bill Thompson, and has decided to sit out 2021, despite heavy lobbying from de Blasio to get Sharpton to endorse Adams.
Understandably, Sharpton wanted nothing to do with a former NYPD captain, even if he’s best positioned to become the second ever Black Mayor of NYC. It also couldn’t have been a great feeling for Maya Wiley to learn that the Reverend was not going to back her campaign, as the two share a lot of the same sentiments on policing and public safety.
The Captains Endowment Association, which represents NYPD Captain, endorsed Andrew Yang for Mayor. This opened up a whole can of worms as to why the CEA, which represents current and former NYPD captains, endorsed Andrew Yang over Eric Adams… who is a former NYPD captain.
Eric Adams’ relationship with the NYPD is a really complicated one. Though he is, and always has been, a tough-on-crime politician, he originally joined the NYPD to confront the systemic racism of the police from the inside- according to his account of the story.
Ask anyone in the NYPD what they think of Adams and you’ll probably get the same answer: Adams was very annoying while serving in the NYPD. Despite getting an early promotion to Captain, he never moved past the rank. Captain is the highest rank in the NYPD to which you can advance through merit and an exam; any higher rank must be bestowed to a captain by HQ. Adams was never promoted by the higher ups.
Long story short, HQ, and the CEA at large, did not like that Adams was a consistent critic of the NYPD’s excessive stop-and-frisk measures while serving as an officer under the Giuliani administration. Adams claims he did not want the CEA’s endorsement, as he has a personal dislike of several of the higher ranking officers in the union, though Yang’s team claimed that he had called the CEA’s office several times to schedule an interview.
There were a lot of polls released this week, which is like Christmas for data nerds but it’s easy to get lost staring at numbers from different sources with different reasons for sharing those numbers.
There were seven polls released to the public this week (five if you don’t count an internal poll from Adams and Yang), but for the purposes of brevity I’m going to hone in on the new Marist poll, as Marist is a nationally regarded pollster and presents a picture that’s pretty in line with most other surveys. It might be a bit outdated, but we’ll talk about all that below.
Before ranked choice allocation:
Eric Adams: 24%
Kathryn Garcia: 17%
Maya Wiley: 15%
Andrew Yang: 13%
Scott Stringer: 7%
Ray McGuire: 3%
Dianne Morales: 3%
Shaun Donovan: 3%
Paperboy Love Prince: 1%
Art Chang: 1%
Jocelyn Taylor: <1%
Isaac Wright, Jr.: <1%
Aaron Foldenaur: <1%
This is the picture most polls on the field in early-mid June have captured: Eric Adams has a decent lead over Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley, while Andrew Yang has fallen to 4th place. No other candidate breaks 10%, as more liberal voters have flocked from Stringer’s campaign to support Wiley.
Adam’s base looks remarkably similar to the base that President Joe Biden pulled together to win the Democratic primary last year; Adams has a commanding lead with Black voters (43%, according to this poll), leads among Democrats who identify as moderate or conservative as well as voters over 45 and those making under $50,000 a year.
But will that same coalition hold for Adams to win the mayoralty? This poll, which did not conduct a RCV simulation, seems to suggest that it likely will, as he’s 7 points ahead of his nearest competitor. Kathryn Garcia, who polls second here, leads among White voters (something that most polling finds) and voters who identify as liberal Democrats, as well as Jewish voters. She splits the college educated vote with Maya Wiley, who leads with voters who identify as very liberal, as well as voters under 45.
It’s worth noting that this poll was on the ground both before and after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Wiley, and that polling conducted fully after the AOC endorsement show Wiley with stronger numbers- between 16% and as high as 20%,
The bad news for Yang in this poll, and most other recent polling, is that he and Adams are largely running in the same demographic lanes, and those voters much prefer Adams over Yang. Yang performs best with moderate voters, Latino voters and those without a college degree- but Adams leads those demographics by double digits.
But Adams isn’t locked in as the winner just yet. The two most recent polls of the race, from the Manhattan Institute and Change Research, both show Adams leading first choice rankings but losing in the final round to *drum roll* Kathryn Garcia, who, as recently as May, was polling in last place. Goes to show the power of a New York Times endorsement!
Of course, no one poll is “correct”, as the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day, and that different pollsters show different results and placement is healthy- it means that pollsters aren’t intentionally manipulating their numbers so that they won’t stick out as outliers.
But we can get a good picture of where this very dynamic and complicated race, which wasn’t even considered to be competitive until last month, currently stands here is the median share of first choice votes from every poll released this month:
So while Adams goes into Election Day as a favorite, he’s not guaranteed a win, even if he’s leading on the night of June 22nd, when unofficial results will be posted.
This isn’t a groundbreaking statement, but turnout will ultimately decide the winner of this election; specifically, higher White turnout in Manhattan will tip the race in favor of Garcia and Wiley, and higher Black turnout citywide and more voters from the outerboroughs will be a boon for Adams.
We can be pretty certain that Adams will make it to the final round of counting. It ‘s who he’s facing that makes the difference. Garcia has shown the most strength in polling against Adams in the final round, as Adams performs very badly with White voters, and RCV simulations have shown that Garcia can consolidate the White vote across the ideological spectrum to best Adams in the final round.
There hasn’t been as much evidence to show that Wiley and Yang can beat Adams in the final round- it’s possible, but would require something a bit more shocking to take place once all the ballots are counted.
The Yang campaign is counting on new and low propensity voters that the polls haven’t captured to thrust Yang to victory, but the NYC primaries don’t usually bring out a ton of new voters. Wiley’s campaign is hoping to make inroads with Black voters and moderate women to put together a winning coalition.
The polls all tell slightly different stories, but here are the TL;DR takeaways from our last look at mayoral polling before Election Day:
- This is very bad news for Andrew Yang, who’s underperforming in every demographic that had previously propped up his campaign. His strongest demographics are also Adams’, and those voters prefer Adams by a wide margin. Yang had better hope that polls are not taking into account new and low-propensity voters, who may rank Yang based on name recognition or softer allegiance to the New York City Democratic Party. Given that turnout in early voting is pretty low, this scenario doesn’t seem super likely.
- Kathryn Garcia could, very realistically, win this thing. The two most recent polls show Garcia winning in the final round of RCV allocation, and cross tabs show that Garcia is the candidate that New Yorkers across the board find most palatable- the exact kind of candidate meant to benefit from ranked choice voting.
- Eric Adams’ support is stable, and he remains the undisputed frontrunner- but not comfortably. Some polls, mostly polls that show higher White turnout, suggest that Adams could lose the race to Garcia, or even Wiley, in the final round of counting. However, his strong coalition of working class, older, moderate voters, as well as a commanding lead with Black voters continues to put him over the top in most surveys.
- The last-minute push by progressives to coalesce around Maya Wiley has paid off in droves, but may not be enough to get her elected. Though Wiley’s numbers have more than doubled since AOC’s endorsement, her appeal is still very limited, compared to other the frontrunners, to younger White, liberal and affluent voters.
- The next Mayor of New York City may not win the most first choice votes. In the two most recent polls that show Adams losing to Garcia, Adams leads among first choice votes, only to lose in the final round of counting as White voters’ ballots put Garcia over the top. The leader of the unofficial results posted on Election Night will be the favorite to win the nomination, but there’s a good chance that they won’t.
Finally in the poll corner, let’s take a look at the only poll of the Comptroller’s race that we got a hold of this month, from Data for Progress, a liberal polling firm:
Initial first choice:
Corey Johnson: 23%
Brad Lander: 23%
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: 10%
Brian Benjamin: 4%
David Weprin: 4%
Kevin Parker: 3%
Reshma Patel: 2%
Zach Iscol: 1%
Terri Liftin: 0%
No One: 29%
Though Data for Progress has done work for candidates in New York City, and have a clear liberal bent to their questions (their whole reason for existence is to produce good polling numbers for the Democratic agenda), there’s no real reason to believe that DfP has any reason to prefer Johnson or Lander, or Lander over Johnson, as both are pretty liberal.
That makes it all the more surprising that Lander, who was previously languishing in the single digits, seems to have tied the race up with Johnson, who’s unambiguously led every poll up until this point.
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former news anchor who registered as a Democrat to run an unsuccessful primary campaign against AOC and has written a book that includes chapters on abolishing social security and medicare, seems to be stuck in a distant third despite several million dollars of TV spending. She’s still the most formidable moderate in the race, though this poll doesn’t show that she’s in a very competitive position.
Though Johnson and Lander are tied in this poll, and the survey itself doesn’t include an RCV simulation, it looks like Johnson would win in this particular scenario, as he outperforms Lander as a second and third choice by a decent margin.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any other independent pollsters against which we can compare these numbers. Perhaps Caruso-Cabrera is in a stronger position than this poll shows, and maybe Lander isn’t actually tied with Johnson. It’s safe to say that Johnson is a favorite over the field, but don’t be surprised if Lander pulls a come-from-behind victory.
Big Choice in the Big Apple, by Yochonon Donn
A wonderful look at the mayoral race from the perspective of the Orthodox community, who’ve put a huge emphasis during the primary season on yeshivas- the private institutions where young Orthodox men receive a K-12 education.
The Orthodox community is one of the few left in the city who can really mobilize voters for a preferred candidate, though it’s unclear how many registered Democrats there are left in the very conservative Orthodox community.
No Prosecutorial Experience? These D.A. Candidates Say That’s an Asset, by Johan E. Bromwich
A look into the Left’s broader perspective on how to run campaigns as “progressive prosecutors” in the mold of Philly D.A. Larry Krasner.
Is Bill de Blasio Secretly Backing Eric Adams for Mayor?, by Emma G. Fitzsimmons and Jeffrey C. Mays
Yes, and it seems to be working. It speaks to de Blasio’s stellar progressive credentials that he’s working behind the scenes on behalf of Adams, who promises to undo whatever work de Blasio’s done over the last eight years with the NYPD and public education.
Bronx Woman Mourns Son Who Died at Rikers as Cellmate Says Help was Slow to Come, by Eileen Grench and Rueven Blau
Rikers Island, which may or may not be closing for good depending on who becomes the next Mayor and Comptroller, has been a hotbed of inmate deaths resulting from rampant illness (including COVID-19), violence from COs and conflict between inmates.
Newly Reported Cases (6/3–6/17): 234 avg. daily cases (-30%)
Newly Reported Hospitalizations: 611 avg. hospitalized patients (-27%)
On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo announced, to a full-capacity room in the State Capitol, that the state had hit Cuomo’s self-imposed goal to get at least one vaccine into the arms of 70% of adult New Yorkers before July 4th. Cuomo had previously announced that once the adult vaccination rate hit 70%, he would end the remaining restrictions on businesses to mandate social distancing and mask guidelines.
Around the same time, news broke that the COVID-19 death toll in the United States had officially hit 600,000 people.
The mix of sobering and jubilant news that hit New York airwaves on Tuesday painted a picture of a country with one foot fully in recovery and one still mired in the pandemic. While infection rates have plummeted across the state, vaccination rates have also stalled, particularly in impoverished and majority-minority neighborhoods.
Though the new Delta variant of the virus, which has shown to be more resistant to non-American vaccines, is unlikely to hit NYC just yet, it’s clear that though we’ve come a long way since the first local COVID infection last March, we have a very, very long way to go.
Brooklyn: 41% fully vaccinated (+2), 52% adults vaccinated (+2)
The Bronx: 39% fully vaccinated (+2), 50% adults vaccinated (+2)
Manhattan: 59% fully vaccinated (+2), 67% adults vaccinated (+2)
Staten Island: 45% fully vaccinated (+2), 56% adults vaccinated (+2)
Queens: 52% fully vaccinated (+2), 64% adults vaccinated (+3)
The Governor’s last minute push to vaccinate 70% of adult New Yorkers seems not to have upped the rate of vaccination too much in the city, which currently stands at 47% fully vaccinated- below the statewide level at 51%.
Apologies about the gloom and doom this week over COVID- I’ll state again that we’re, very obviously, in a much better place than we were last year- even last month! But as the restrictions come down and New York seems to be moving past the pandemic, it becomes all the clearer the people who are getting left behind- both in the present and potentially in the future.
As of June 16th, 2021, courtesy of the New York Times
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER ELECTION DAY?
At 9 PM on June 22nd, the polls will close for the last time of the primary season, and shortly thereafter, unofficial results will be posted by the Board of Elections. These results will include the total of the votes cast on Election Day, as well as those cast during the days of early, in person voting. The BOE will continue to accept absentee ballots until late June, and will count them thereafter. Then, in the week of July 12th, the RCV process will begin.
It’ll be a while before we get “official” results and a certified winner in many races, particularly if those races are close on election night. Though many City Council races may have a clear winner on the night of the 22nd, unless one candidate has 50% of the vote, it’s improper form to declare victory until the Board of Elections has certified a winner through the RCV process.
It’s likely that the Comptroller and Mayor races will be too close to call; though Adams will likely lead the official results on the 22nd, unless he has a truly commanding lead, we likely won’t know who won the primary until sometime in July. Ditto for the Comptroller race, though it is possible that Corey Johnson will have a runaway victory and end the race early.
The Public Advocate race, though it’s conducted through ranked choice voting, will probably be over on the 22nd. Jumaane Williams is not facing any serious opposition from the Democratic column.
The local races, though, those not conducted through RCV, will probably get called- for the most part- on the 22nd. That means the unofficial results of the Borough President races, local judicial races and the Manhattan DA race will probably show a clear winner after the polls close, though, if the races are close, we may have to wait until all the absentee ballots are counted.
Absentee ballots shifted the race a lot in 2020, but we technically aren’t in a pandemic anymore, voter enthusiasm is lower and there haven’t been that many people who’ve requested an absentee ballot. They may affect a close race, but they’re unlikely to radically change the unofficial results of an election.
In next week’s edition, we’ll examine the aftermath of the unofficial results, see who’s still viable and who isn’t, cover any upsets, talk about the future of the new City Council, and talk about all the news in between.
It took nearly eight weeks for the BOE to finish counting the ballots in last year’s primaries, so if you hate finality, you’re about to have a great summer.
Happy voting, happy summer solstice to all Celtic druids who celebrate, and see you next week!
Thanks for reading this edition of The Newsletter That Never Sleeps. If you have any feedback, leads, stories, or just want to reach out, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @kieranian_ on Twitter.