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Early Voting Begins in New York: Here’s What to Know

Election Day is still several days away, but voters in New York can get a head start on Saturday, when early voting begins.

There are some interesting New York City Council races on the ballot. One features two sitting council members who are fighting bitterly over a redrawn district in southern Brooklyn; one of the candidates switched parties and is now running as a Republican. Another face-off pits two newcomers in a nearby district that was recently created to amplify the voices of Asian voters.

But for most New Yorkers, it will be a relatively quiet Election Day, with no presidential, governor or mayoral races on the ballot this year.

What is on the ballot this year?

Your ballot might include races for the City Council, district attorney, judges and two statewide ballot measures.

The City Council is led by Democrats, and they are expected to keep control of the legislative body. But some local races have been contentious, and Republicans have been trying to increase their power in a city that has long favored Democrats.

There are district attorney races in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, but only Melinda Katz, the Queens district attorney, faces a challenger. The two statewide ballot measures involve a debt limit for small city school districts and the construction of sewage facilities.

How do I vote?

Early voting starts on Oct. 28 and ends Nov. 5. You can find your polling location online.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7, and polls are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Absentee ballots are available for people who are out of town, ill or have other reasons they cannot vote in person, though the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot online has passed.

Are there any close races?

One of the most interesting races is the clash in Brooklyn between Justin Brannan, a Democrat and chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, and Ari Kagan, a council member who recently left the Democratic Party for the Republican Party.

Mr. Brannan, a former punk rock guitarist, is running in a swing district against Mr. Kagan, a former radio and TV show host from Belarus. The two have quarreled over the city’s handling of the migrant crisis, abortion and other issues.

Another council member, Inna Vernikov, a Republican, is running for re-election after being charged with openly carrying a gun at a pro-Palestinian rally — an event that she opposed and was observing.

In Queens, Vickie Paladino, a Republican council member, is facing a challenge from Tony Avella, a Democratic former state senator. In the Bronx, Marjorie Velázquez, a Democratic council member, has had strong union support as she runs against a Republican challenger, Kristy Marmorato, an X-ray technician hoping to replicate her party’s showing in 2021, when Curtis Sliwa, a Republican, narrowly won the district in the mayoral race over Eric Adams, a Democrat.

Why is there a new City Council district?

The city’s redistricting commission sought to reflect the growth in the city’s Asian population, and created a City Council district in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, which has a majority of Asian residents. The so-called Asian opportunity district has no incumbent.

The two main candidates are Chinese American. Susan Zhuang, a Democrat and chief of staff to a state assembly member, is running against Ying Tan, a Republican and community activist.

The Republican Party has made inroads with some Asian voters in New York, and Ms. Tan has focused on crime. Her campaign website promises to “bring law and order back!”

A third candidate, Vito LaBella, a former police lieutenant, is running on the Conservative line after losing the Republican primary to Ms. Tan.

What issues are on voters’ minds?

New Yorkers are concerned about many pressing issues: an influx of migrants from the southern border, public safety, the city’s housing and affordability crisis, and the recent attacks in Israel.

Roughly 58 percent of New York State voters agree with Mayor Adams that the migrant issue “will destroy New York City,” according to a recent Siena College poll.

On Israel, about 50 percent of voters believe that a “large-scale Israeli attack in Gaza is too risky,” but that Israel “must try everything” to rescue hostages taken by Hamas, according to the poll. Nearly one-third of voters said that a “large-scale attack” in Gaza was warranted.

Steven Greenberg, a Siena College pollster, also noted that a “Republican came within seven points of being elected governor” last year, when Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, beat Lee Zeldin, then a Republican congressman. With Republicans gaining ground in New York State, Mr. Greenberg said that the poll showed the “worst-ever” approval ratings for President Biden in New York.

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