New York Primary Election Candidates and How Voting System Works

Voters in New York City go to the polls on Tuesday to pick their preferred candidates for the upcoming mayoral election in the hotly contested primaries.

This year the primaries will use a ranked-choice voting system for the first time. Voters will be able to rank their top five choices on the ballot, meaning that finding a winner could take significantly more time than previous years. Absentee and early voting is already been underway, with more than 220,000 asking to vote absentee.

Eight major Democrats and two Republicans are competing to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio. The race hasn't produced a clear favorite on either side of the aisle ahead of Tuesday's vote.

New York Primary Election Candidates

The leading Democratic candidates are:

  • Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president and a former NYPD office
  • Maya Wiley, former counsel to De Blasio
  • Kathryn Garcia, former commissioner of the city's Department of Sanitation
  • Andrew Yang, a former Democratic presidential candidate

The other Democratic candidates are New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, former social services company CEO Dianne Morales, former U.S. Office of Management and Budget director Shaun Donovan and former Citigroup executive Ray Maguire.

There are also some other candidates who qualified for the Democratic ballot but have not had a major impact on the race.

Yang was initially considered the frontrunner but has slipped in recent polling and looks set for defeat. As he's support fell away, Adams, Wiley and Garcia have emerged as the leading candidates.

Adams is leading the Democratic pack in the most recent polls, but because of ranked choice voting the election could go down to the wire.

The two Republican candidates are:

  • Fernando Mateo, former president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers
  • Curtis Sliwa, the founder of crime prevention group Guardian Angels

How the Voting System Works

The ranked-choice voting system means voters will rank their top five candidates.

Ballots will then be counted in rounds. If no candidate reaches 50 percent of first-choice votes in the first round, the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated and their votes will be redistributed based on their voters' second choices.

This process will be repeated until one candidate reaches the 50 percent threshold.

Recent polls that have simulated the ballot process have predicted Adams winning the Democratic primary in the 11th or 12th round. However, it could take weeks before these results are known. According to NBC New York, the final outcome will likely be announced by the city's Board of Elections during the week of July 12.

Since there are only two Republican candidates, that primary will be decided on the first ballot but it isn't clear whether Mateo or Silwa will win out.

Silwa was six points ahead in an Emerson College poll taken on June 7 and 8 (garnering 33 percent to Mateo's 27 percent), but 40 percent of likely Republican voters were undecided.

Results will not be known on Tuesday night but there will be unofficial numbers for in-person first-choice votes from early voting and primary day. Absentee ballots will not be included in these figures and neither will affidavit votes. These votes occur when a voter cannot confirm their registration at a polling station.

I Voted stickers in New York City
"I Voted" stickers are seen as residents vote during the New York City mayoral primary election at the Brooklyn Museum polling station on June 22, 2021. NYC residents cast ballots in a Democratic primary on Tuesday that will select the candidate almost certain to take over as mayor. ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images