An Initial Look at Voter Turnout in the 2021 New York City General Election
*Reposted from Gotham Gazette Ethan Geringer-Sameth*
Voter turnout in the 2021 New York City general election was slightly lower than the already-depressed 2017 and 2013 elections.
Every four years, all of city government is on the ballot, including Mayor, other citywide offices, borough president positions, and the entire 51-seat City Council. This election was the first time since 2013 that most of those positions, including Mayor, were open due to term limits.
This year, just under 20% of the 5.6 million registered New York City voters cast ballots in the mayoral election among Democrat Eric Adams, Republican Curtis Sliwa, and other candidates. In 2013, when Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, faced-off against Republican Joe Lhota and others for the open seat, turnout was roughly 24%. In 2017, when de Blasio defended his mayoralty against Republican Nicole Malliotakis, turnout was about 23%.
Roughly 1.1 million city residents appear to have voted this fall. That includes about 79,000 absentee voters as of Thursday afternoon, with more ballots still coming in and to be counted as long as they were postmarked on or before Election Day. Of the over 1 million in-person voters, about 170,000 people voted during the nine-day in-person early voting period October 23-31.
In raw numbers, about 65,000 fewer voters cast ballots this year than the last mayoral election in 2017. And this year saw about 1,000 fewer voters than in 2013, the last election with no incumbent mayor. But since 2013, about 1 million more voters were added to the city rolls, meaning a far smaller portion of potential voters decided to have their voices heard.
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