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About NYC Elections

About NYC Elections

Primary and General Elections

Primary Elections are held so that voters registered with a qualified political party may select their party's nominees to the general election for partisan offices. Because a primary is a party election, only voters registered with one of the parties qualified to conduct a primary in New York City may vote in their party's primary.


General Elections are held to elect candidates to public offices. For partisan offices, nominees from the party primary elections appear on the ballot, along with independent candidates.

Public Offices That Appear on New York City Ballots

Public Partisan Offices


  • President and Vice President of the United States

  • United States Senators

  • Members of the House of Representatives

  • Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New York State

  • State Attorney General

  • State Comptroller

  • State Senators

  • State Assembly

  • Mayor of New York City

  • Public Advocate

  • City Comptroller

  • Borough Presidents

  • City Council Members

  • District Attorneys

  • Surrogate Judges

  • State Supreme Court Judges

  • Civil Court Judges


Non-Partisan Offices


  • Special Elections to fill City Council vacancies


Signing a petition is an important way to participate in the electoral process.


In New York State, most candidates get on the ballot by filing a petition containing a specified number of signatures. The required amount varies, depending on the office sought and whether the candidate is seeking a party nomination or a spot on the ballot as an independent. Some candidates are nominated by political committees and conventions.


Only enrolled party members living within the appropriate district may sign petitions for candidates who seek their party's nomination. However, any registered voter living within the appropriate district may sign a petition for a candidate seeking to run as an independent in the general election as long as s/he has not already signed on behalf of another candidate.

Proposals and Referendum Measures

The State Legislature and/or City Council can place Proposals, Questions, and Referendum measures on the ballot for New York City voters to adopt a change in the State Constitution, change a law or approve the expenditure of funds without legislative actions. In addition, a Measure can be placed on the ballot if it meets certain legal requirements and if proponents show public support by collecting signatures of at least five percent (5%) of the city's registered voters.